With festival season in full swing there are plenty of documentary events – screenings, talks, and even some virtual reality exhibitions – going on in June. We’ll be heading to Sheffield later this month for the first ever Whicker’s World Foundation Awards ceremony at one of the year’s most highly anticipated documentary festivals: Sheffield Doc/Fest, whilst London-based documentary fans can make the most of another fantastic festival: Open City Documentary Festival. We’ve compiled a list of events that documentary fans can enjoy for a tenner or under this month, including those taking place at at Doc/Fest, Open City, The Frontline Club and Bertha DocHouse.
Thursday 2nd June
REALITY CHECK – A Selection of Short Documentaries, London
This month Shorts On Tap will be showcasing a selection of short documentaries as part of their weekly screening events. The Whicker’s World Foundation was in attendance at the last edition of “REALITY CHECK” and had the pleasure of watching some incredible short documentaries, both genuinely funny and touching in equal measure. Reality Check will be screening Vanya Sacha’s Walthamstow: An Urban Renaissance, a film about the impact artists are having on Walthamstow and how they are contributing to revitalising the community, and Ratna Chakraborty’s Her Darkroom, which focuses on a young photographer using forgotten techniques in her art, in addition to other short docs. Entry is £3, but bring some extra for the bar! Tickets can be reserved here.
REALITY CHECK – A Selection of Short Documentaries by Shorts On Tap, 7pm Thursday June 2nd, at 1001 Cafe, Shoreditch, 91 Brick Ln, London E1 6QL.
Price: £3 pre-booked tickets
Monday 6 June
Shorts at The Frontline Club, London
Kicking off a month of exciting events at the Frontline Club is an evening of short documentaries from all corners of the globe. From Hardik Mehta’s Famous in Ahmedabad; a story about an 11-year-old boy’s journey to become a kite-runner, to a 7 minute film about a Cuban skateboarder’s illegal tattoo shop titled The New Che of Havana, and Gemma Atkinson’s Shooting the Tribe, the evening promises a myriad of fascinating stories. There will also be a post-screening Q&A with Simon Hipkins, the director of one of the shorts; In the Valley of Guns and Roses, which follows a single mother Irina as she works in a Bulgarian weapons factory to support her young daughter.
Shorts at the Frontline Club, 7pm-8:30pm Monday June 6th, The Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London W2 1QJ, +44 (0)20 7479 8940.
Price: £10 standard, £8 concession, online here.
Tuesday 7 June
Premiere of Solar Nation, London
With fossil fuel consumption becoming an increasingly important global issue, Solar Nation explores how one country is looking elsewhere for answers. As one of the largest growing solar markets in the world, Bangladesh is in the midst of a “solar revolution”. This documentary brings together voices of women who have installed solar panels as well as those promoting the use of solar energy throughout Bangladesh, and asks what we can learn from them. The screening will be followed by a Q&A, wine reception and refreshments. Tickets are free but advanced registration on Eventbrite is required. The event is hosted by Energy Futures Lab at Imperial College London’s South Kensington Campus. Imperial’s own Dr Helena Wright filmed the documentary in 2015 with the help of Energy Futures Lab.
Premiere of Solar Nation, 6:20pm-9pm Tuesday June 7th, Lecture Theatre 1 – ACEX Building, Dept of Chemical Engineering Imperial College London, South Kensington, SW7 2BX
Price: Free here, but registration on Eventbrite required
Wednesday 8 June
Double Bill: Mom from Jambi + A Question for Dad screenings, London
As part of Bertha Dochouse’s Gender Agenda strand, the cinema will be screening two Indonesian documentaries co-hosted by SOAS’s Queer Asia Conference. The first film Emak dari Jambi (Mom from Jambi) follows a mother’s journey as she travels to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta to meet her son Anggun for the first time in many years. The second, Pertanyaan untuk Bapak (A Question for Dad), focuses on a frayed relationship between a father and daughter (Yatna), following Yatna as she returns home for the first time in 20 years to ask her father an important question. Tickets can be booked on Bertha Dochouse’s website here.
Double Bill: Mom from Jambi + A Question for Dad, 4pm Wednesday June 8th, Bertha Dochouse, Curzon Bloomsbury, The Brunswick, London WC1N 1AW, +44 (0)330 500 1331
Thursday 9 June
Warriors + Panel Discussion, London
Barney Douglas’s Warriors follows a group of young Maasai in Kenya who have formed a cricket team and are aiming to play in the amateur Last Man Stands World Championship in England. The team improvise hunting techniques to learn how to play and compete in traditional flowing red robes. They use their unity on the field to inspire young members of the Maasai – women especially – by bringing them a sense of belonging, support and hope. The screening is followed by a panel discussion with Producer Michael Elson, Director of Equality Now (Europe), Jacqui Hunt and Lucy Mills, Grassroots Soccer Development Manager (Europe). Online tickets can be bought here.
Warriors + Panel Discussion, 6:30pm Thursday June 9th, Bertha Dochouse, Curzon Bloomsbury, The Brunswick, London WC1N 1AW, +44 (0)330 500 1331
Price: £9 standard, £7 concessions
Friday 10 June – Wednesday 15 June
Doc/Fest: Alternate Realities
Alternate Realities is another free event taking place at Sheffield Doc/Fest this year, allowing participants to explore new worlds by taking a spacewalk on the International Space Station, experiencing what it might be like aboard a migrants’ boat, or witnessing the 1916 Easter Rising from Dublin’s General Post Office. Using the latest augmented and virtual reality technology, the public will be able to attend 14 interactive media experiences at the Millennium Gallery, and 12 Virtual Reality documentaries at the Site Gallery and The Space.
Doc/Fest: Alternate Realities, all-day events from Friday June 10th – Wednesday June 15th, at the Millennium Gallery, Arundel Gate, Sheffield S1 2PP and The Site Gallery, 1 Brown St, Sheffield S1 2BS.
Friday 10 June – Wednesday 15 June
Doc/Fest Exchange, Sheffield
One of the most highly anticipated documentary events of the year; Sheffield Doc Fest takes place in this month. In addition to ticketed events, there will also be free events taking place around Sheffield city centre. One of these is the Doc/Fest Exchange, featuring free public presentations and discussions by directors, producers and special guests. Some of the highlights include a conversation with Mike Brett, producer of groundbreaking documentary Notes on Blindness, discussions with directors Jon Betz and Taggard Siegel of SEED: The Untold Story, and a presentation by Charlie Phillips, head of documentary at The Guardian, about the future of documentary film.
Doc/Fest Exchange, all-day events from Friday June 10th – Wednesday June 15th on Tudor Square, Sheffield S1 2LA
Tuesday 14 June
Screening of City 40 + Q&A, London
This stunning feature length documentary exposes the lives of the thousands of men, women and children living in “City 40”, one of Russia’s secret closed cities. In a town home to Russia’s largest stockpile of nuclear materials, residents are watched over by armed guards, told they are the nuclear shield and saviours of the world, and warned that everyone on the outside is the enemy. When a film crew are smuggled inside this throwback to the Soviet Union, they encounter residents who bravely warn them of the human and environmental catastrophe that threatens the region. Following the screening there will be a Q&A with City 40’s director Samira Goetschel.
City 40 screening + Q&A, 7pm Tuesday June 14th, The Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London W2 1QJ, +44 (0)20 7479 8940.
Price: £10 standard, £8 concessions, online here.
Thursday 16 June
Screening of The Pearl of Africa + Q&A, London
Continuing the Frontline Club’s selection of documentary screenings this month is a film by Jonny von Wallström; The Pearl of Africa. Cleopatra Kambugu is a 28 year old transgender woman living in Uganda, one of the most transphobic places in the world with some of the harshest anti-LGBT laws. After she is outed on the front page of Kampala’s biggest tabloid, Cleo is forced to leave her boyfriend and flee to Kenya to escape reprisals. This documentary explores concepts of gender and identity, as well as revealing the extreme consequences of Uganda’s anti-LGBT laws. The film’s director Jonny von Wallström will be answering questions following the screening.
The Pearl of Africa screening + Q&A, 7pm Thursday June 16th, The Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London W2 1QJ, +44 (0)20 7479 8940.
Price: £10 standard, £8 concessions, online here.
Thursday 16 June
Bikes vs Cars documentary screening, London
In mid-June Bikeminded will be hosting a free screening of Fredrik Gertten’s 2015 documentary Bikes vs Cars. The film examines how bikes could be a solution to pressing global issues such as human-induced climate change and shrinking resources, by talking with activists and thinkers who are striving for better, more eco-friendly cities. This documentary also explains how, while the bike is a great tool for change, there are those with financial interests in the motor industry who spend billions each year on lobbying and advertising in order to protect their businesses. Tickets are free but advanced registration on Eventbrite is required.
Bikes vs Cars screening, 7:30pm-9pm Thursday June 16th, Kensington Central Library (Lecture Theatre) – Phillimore Walk, London W8 7RX.
Price: Free here, but registration on Eventbrite required.
Wednesday 22 June
In the Dark presents The Dark Room, London
As part of this month’s Open City Documentary Festival in London, In the Dark radio will be hosting a creative gathering called The Dark Room. This free event will allow you to get constructive criticism from a panel of experienced radio producers on your own audio documentary projects (8 minutes of work in progress max). Meet likeminded radio producers and enthusiasts to share ideas and give feedback on independent projects at any stage of development. This is a free event but attendees should reserve a place here.
In the Dark presents The Dark Room, 12pm-1:30pm Wednesday June 22nd, Studio 2, Roberts Building, Torrington Place, London WC1H 0AH
Price: Free, but pre-registration required
Thursday 23 June, 2pm
Animated Documentary talk, London
This talk hosted by Open City Documentary Festival focuses on a fast-growing genre of documentary that utilises animation in part of or all of a film. The style can be employed in documentary film when pictures are not always available, and can bring the audience on an emotional journey. A panel of filmmakers including director of Factual Animation Film Fuss Daniel Murtha, filmmaker Ellie Land and executive producer of Mosaic Films Andy Glynne, will discuss the evolution of the genre and the expanded notion of what is real. The event is free for industry and student delegates, but public tickets can be booked online here for £5.
Animated Documentary talk, 2pm-3:30pm Thursday June 23rd, Studio 2, Roberts Building, Torrington Place, London WC1H 0AH
Article by Robbie Pyburn