What’s On in Docs: February 2017

February marks the beginning of LGBT+ History Month, with the documentary community remaining at the forefront of representing and exploring the queer experience. To celebrate, we’ve included a number of LGBT+ events, as well as doc events on a diversity topics from the environment to marrying the Eiffel Tower… Enjoy!

Friday 3rd

Lord David Puttnam Lecture – Fact, Fiction & Fake News, Sunderland

Having started his career back in the 1960s, it’s safe to say that BAFTA award-winning producer Lord Puttnam knows a thing or two about film. This free lecture at the University of Sunderland will explore aspects of today’s ‘post-truth’ culture; the fake news and careless social media reportage that can make it difficult to decipher reality. The interactive session will use the footage of a number of influential documentary filmmakers to explore the line between fact and fiction. Controversial and highly topical, this hour of insight is an unmissable event for truth-seeking documentarians taking place in the aptly-named David Puttnam Media Centre in Sunderland this February.

Ticket Price: Free, but register in advance here on Eventbrite

Lord David Puttnam – Fact, Fiction and Fake News, 11am-1pm on Friday 3rd January, The David Puttnam Media Centre Cinema, St Peter’s Way, Sunderland, SR6 0DD

Friday 3rd-Saturday 4th

Psychoanalysing Documentary Film, Irish Annual Psychoanalytic Film Festival, Dublin

Audiences interested in the complex workings of the human mind will revel in the 8th Irish Annual Psychoanalytic Film Festival, taking place over one weekend in Dublin. Examining the relationship between psychoanalytic theory and filmmaking, there are a number of documentary events on the programme to inspire and intrigue. On Saturday 4th February, guests can enjoy a  screening of award-winning filmmaker Agnieszka Piotrowska’s Married to the Eiffel Tower, followed by a discussion with the director herself on subjective truth and documentary film. The film follows the story of three women who describe themselves as ‘objectum sexuals’, having fallen in love with iconic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Eiffel Tower. Click here for a full run down of festival events.

Ticket Price: €20 single day attendance/ €35 general admission (full festival), book here

Psychoanalysing Documentary Film, 8th Annual Irish Psychoanalytic Film Festival, From 5pm on Friday 3rd February-6pm on Friday 4th February,  Irish Museum of Modern Art and Carmelite Centre, Military Road,Dublin, Ireland 

Saturday 4th 

The time is now? Documentary Series Screening 1, Nottingham 

This month Nottingham Contemporary launch a brand new series of screenings of Black and Asian films, expertly curated by June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive. The first event is a double screening of documentaries: The Hard Stop (2015) dir. George Amponsah and The People’s Account (1986) dir. Milton Bryan/Ceddo taking place on Saturday 4th February. We’ve been championing The Hard Stop ever since its release, a subversive and exposing film that contextualises the police shooting of London born Mark Duggan. The People’s Account is an earlier documentary set in a similar context: a film told by the people of Broadwater Farm Estate following the death of Cythia Jarrett during a police search and the riot that took place as a result.

Ticket Price: Free, pre-register here

The time is now? Screening 1, 2pm-5pm on Saturday 4th February, Nottingham Contemporary, Weekday Cross, NG1 2GH, Nottingham, United Kingdom 

Image Courtesy of The Hard Stop Documentary (2015)

Sunday 7th

LGBT+ History Month Screening: Bayou-Maharajah, London

February marks LGBT+ History month, and to mark the occasion UCL‘s LGBTQ and Americas Research Networks have collaborated to host a free documentary screening. Bayou-Maharajah is the story of piano legend James Booker, described by Dr Jon as “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.” Journeying from child prodigy to international rockstar, touring the world as a sideman and finally breaking through with his own solo career, Booker’s life was action-packed and rambunctious. The film gives a first-person insight in to his work and personality, painting in to the larger context of the rise of rhythm and blues during the 70s.

Ticket Price; Free, pre-register here

Screening: Bayou-Maharajah, 6pm-8.30pm on Sunday 7th February, UCL Institute of the Americas, 51 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PN 

Trailer: Bayou-Maharajah

Wednesday 8th

Screening: The Queen of Ireland, Manchester

When Rory O’Neill was born in to a conservative family in the sleepy town Ballinrobe, Co Mayo, his community would never have guessed that he would grow up to be one of the country’s most successful drag queens and gay rights campaigners. The Queen of Ireland is an observational doc on O’Neill’s life, from coming out as gay to creating his hilarious drag alter ego Panti Bliss. The filmmakers followed the so-called Queen of Ireland for five years to create this documentary, following O’Neill’s tours and extensive campaigning on LGBT+ issues. The screening will take place at the Irish World Heritage Centre in Manchester and is completely free to attend.

Ticket price: Free, pre-register here

Screening: The Queen of Ireland, 7.15pm-9.30pm on Wednesday 8th February,  Irish World Heritage Centre, 1 Irish Town Way, Manchester, M8 0AE 

Panti Bliss | WikiMedia Commons

Monday 13th

Screening: The New Black, Hatfield

Another event coinciding with LGBT+ History Month, The New Black will be screening at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield. A film by Yoruba Lechin, this documentary deals with how the African-American community in the United States is adapting to pro-gay legislation and the Supreme Court legalisation of gay marriage. The film follows several characters from reverends and pastors to prominent civil rights leaders and LGBT activists, documenting the void between the LGBT+ community and their allies and anti-gay groups in the US. The screening is free and will be followed by a discussion led by Julia Warrener, an Academic Lead for Social Work at the University of Hertfordshire.

Ticket Price: Free, pre-register here 

Screening: The New Black, 4pm-6.30pm on Monday 13th February, Room A161 Lindop Building, College Lane Campus, the University of Hertfordshire 

Monday 13th

Screening: A Plastic Ocean, London

Described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the most important films of our time.” Plastic Ocean is an unmissable feature documentary on the increasing amount of pollution in world oceans. Filmed in 20 locations around the world, the film follows various researchers and Ocean ambassadors as they uncover what truly lies beneath the surface of our oceans. With over 8 million tonnes of plastic dumped there every year, the truth is both astounding and deeply terrifying. The screening will take place at Whirled Cinema in Brixton, with all proceeds from the event going towards the environmental work of Marine Conservation Society UK. Be sure to book soon as the event promises to be a sell out.

Ticket price: £10, book here

Screening: A Plastic Ocean, 7pm-9.30pm on Monday 13th February, Whirled Cinema, 259-260 Hardess Street, Loughborough Junction, SE24 0HN 

Trailer: A Plastic Ocean

Wednesday 15th

How to develop your idea for a documentary – with the Guardian’s Charlie Phillips, London

If you’re looking for help developing, pitching and distributing your documentary, this masterclass might be just what you need. The Guardian’s Head of Documentaries Charlie Phillips will be leading the class, discussing how to grow your documentary, pitch your idea to commissioning editors and gain funding for it. The class will also give useful advice on marketing, distribution and networking, as well as exploring the future of documentary film and how to use emerging technologies in your work.  Charlie will also discuss what the Guardian is currently doing with documentaries, how you can get involved, and end the session with a Q&A. Book your tickets soon and bring along any documentary ideas you may have.

Tickets price: £49, book in advance here.

How to develop your idea for a documentary, 6:30pm to 9:30pm on Wednesday, 15th February at The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU

Image © Flickr/ MagicMazdik

Thursday 16th

Screening: Born This Way, Oxford

To celebrate LGBT+ History Month, Oxford Brookes University Documentary Club will be screening Born This Way, a film which paints a portrait of the underground gay and lesbian community in Cameroon. With it’s lyrical imagery, the documentary examines the day-to-day lives of the community’s members, including their influences in western culture and the struggle against extreme homophobia in a country where there are more arrests for homosexuality than any other nation. It also follows a hidden camera courtroom drama, as it develops into a story much bigger than those of the four main subjects.

Ticket price: Free, but register in advance here.

Screening: Born This Way, 7pm on Thursday 16th February at Oxford Brookes University, John Henry Brookes Lecture Theatre, Headington Road, Oxford OX3 0BP

Trailer: Born This Way

Saturday 18th

Screening: The Man Who Saw Too Much, London

Enrique Metinides spent over 30 years taking photos in and around Mexico City. The subject of his photographs? Tragic accidents. From car wrecks, train derailments and accidental explosions to earthquakes, suicides and murders, Metinides discovered that documenting death and fate was his own way of connecting to life. His fascination with photographing accidents began at the age of 10 after receiving a box camera from his father, with Metinides having his first photo of a dead body published at just age 12. His obsession continued long after his forced retirement in 1979 – Metinides’s home contains an entire room devoted to his collection of hundreds of model ambulances, fire trucks and paramedic figures. The Man Who Saw Too Much aims to understand his (and our own) compelling fascination with accidents.

Ticket price: £6, tickets are limited so book in advance here.

Screening: The Man Who Saw Too Much, 4pm on Saturday, 18th February at Michael Hoppen Gallery, 3 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TD

The Man Who Saw Too Much: trailer from 212BERLIN FILMS on Vimeo.

Friday 24th

Pop Up Docs presents: Oscar nominated shorts, Bath

With awards season coming up, Pop Up Docs will be screening ten films shortlisted in the Oscars best short documentary category. Among the films on the list is the critically acclaimed The White Helmets, which follows a heroic group of volunteer rescue workers in Syria as they pull fellow citizens from bomb wreckages on a daily basis. Another is Extremis, a devastating short film shot entirely in a California Intensive Care Unit, which examines the difficulties that arise when end-of-life patients and their families have different priorities to the doctors who are treating them. The other nominated films being screened are Watani: My Homeland, 4.1 Miles and Joe’s Violin, while others that made the 10-film shortlist include The Mute’s House, The Other Side of Home, Brillo Box (3c off), Close Ties and Frame 394.

Ticket price: £10 (£8 for students), book here.

Pop Up Docs presents: Oscar nominated shorts, 7:00pm on Friday 24th February at St John’s Hospital Chapel, 4-5 Chapel Court, Bath BA1 1SQ

Trailer: The White Helmets

Friday 24th

Revolutions: Short Documentaries at LSE, London

The Frontline Club is partnering with the London School of Economics this month to host an evening of short films as part of the 2017 Literary Festival. The five documentaries being screened will all relate to the theme of revolution. Among them is La Laguna, which follows a Mayan boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence within the rainforests of southern Mexico, Epicly Palestine’d, about a group of Palestinian teenagers creating a skateboarding scene under military occupation in the West Bank, and Poshida: Hidden LGBT Pakistan, which follows the struggles of queer communities in Pakistan. Other films being screened are Miss Me: The Artful Vandal, about a renowned underground street artist Miss Me fighting against the objectification of women in mainstream advertising, and We All We Got which documents how gun violence shapes the lives of young people growing up in Chicago and Philadelphia.

Ticket price: Free, but book online to reserve a spot. Details here.

Revolutions: Short Documentaries at LSE, 7pm on Friday 24th February at Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, 54 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LJ

Image: La Laguna, courtesy of Hecho A Mano Films

Saturday 25th

Screening: Life, Animated, London

One day before the 89th Academy Awards takes place in Hollywood, you can catch one of the Oscar nominated films in the feature documentary category right here in London. Life, Animated tells the unique story of Owen Suskind, who unable to speak as a child, found a way of communicating with his parents through animated Disney films. Both tender and inspiring, the film follows Owen as he takes his first steps into adulthood and towards independence. Life, Animated has gained plenty of praise on the festival circuit over the last year and is a definite contender for this year’s coveted Documentary Feature award.

Ticket price: £7.88, book in advance here.

Screening: Life, Animated, 7:30pm on Saturday 25th February at Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Town Hall Approach Road, Tottenham Green, London N15 4RX

Trailer: Life, Animated

Words by Megan O’Hara and Robbie Pyburn