What’s On in Docs: The Best Up and Coming Documentary Events March 2016

Wondering what’s going on in the world of documentary in your area this month? Our What’s On in Docs: series is the new one stop shop for all things documentary film.

With films such as Amy and The Look of Silence causing a well deserved stir in the film world and bringing great documentary to the big screen, there is arguably no better time to get involved in the documentary community. Thankfully, there are a plethora of diverse and interesting events on the horizon all over the UK and Ireland, where doc enthusiasts like us can brush up on their knowledge and, most importantly, see some fantastic films. From March 2016 we’ll be posting a monthly blog on the best up-and-coming film and documentary events in your area. Here’s a few to mark in the diary this month…

Image Courtesy of Bertha DocHouse
The Pearl Button | Image Courtesy of Bertha DocHouse

February 29th-March 12th

Screening: Angela Spielsinger Power in Our Hands,  Mac Birmingham

Angela Spielsinger’s eye opening film attempts to go where no other has gone before and tell the hidden narrative of the UK’s deaf community on screen. Presenting newly digitised archive footage to the public for the first time, the film combines present day interviews with historic archive footage dating back as early as the 1930s, telling the story of a highly energetic yet often misjudged group of people. Arguing that deafness is not in fact a disability, but rather a powerful social movement with its own rich culture, language and diversity, Power in Our Hands is a powerful civil rights story with a twist. The film will be playing on the 29th of February and the 12th of March at Mac Birmingham.

Power in Our Hands Screening Mon 29 Feb 7:00 PM and Sat 12 Mar 5:30 PM, Mac Cinema, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH +441214463232

Ticket Price: £7.50 (£5.50 concession)

1st March 

Screening Groundswell: A Grassroots Journey, The Britons Protection, Manchester

An official world premiere, Keep Our NHS Public Greater Manchester has teamed up with the Manchester Film Co-op to create Groundswell, a film on the ‘999 Call For The NHS’ campaign of May 2015. The documentary follows the story of Joanna Adams, an ordinary working mother whose campaign against the privatisation of the NHS spurred thousands to protest in Trafalgar Square and inspired the #Darlomums trend. Featuring Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, Green MP Caroline Lucas and former Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham, the film is a complex political exploration challenging today’s media culture alongside some of the fundamental principles of British democracy.

Groundswell: A Grassroots Journey Screening Tues 1 March 7.00 PM, The Britons Protection, 50 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester, M1 5LE

Ticket Price: £5

Image © Flickr/TheWeeklyBull
Image © Flickr/TheWeeklyBull

5th March

Screening: Gil Scott-Heron In Black Wax, Beanbag Cinema, Belfast

Blues fans will love this screening of director Robert Mugge’s 1982 documentary about charismatic singer Gil Scott-Heron, who was one of the most influential spoken word performers of the 70s and 80s. A part of the Brilliant Corners Jazz Music Festival taking place over the 5th-12th of March, the film focuses on Scott-Heron’s musical genius against a backdrop of his powerful political campaigning. Lively, dynamic and musically brilliant, the film creates an unforgettable marriage between jazz and film, even featuring a live performance with Heron’s midnight band at the Wax Museum Nightclub in Washington DC.

Gil Scott-Heron In Black Wax,  Saturday 5th March 6.45pm, Beanbag Cinema, 23 Donegall Street, Belfast, BT1 2FF +4428 90325913

Ticket Price: £5

Image © Flickr/LouisePhotography
Image © Flickr/LouisePhotography

March 7th

New Scottish Documentary Season, Frontline Club,  London

The collaborative brain child of the Scottish Documentary Institute and the Frontline Club, the New Scottish Documentary Season is a bridging of North and South that will showcase some of Scotland’s best film talent. Spanning from the 7th to 21st of March, guests can enjoy screenings from both established and up-and-coming filmmakers such as Lou McLoughlan, Jane McAllister and Duncan Cowles. The event kicks off with a screening of Pablo’s Winter by Chico Pereira, winner of the 2012 IDFA Best Student Documentary Award, followed by a Skype Q&A with the director.  The Scotland on Screen showcasing on the 21st of March promises to be an intriguing event, boasting seven short docs and a range of characters from those registrars working in the country’s busiest registry office to those living in its remote island communities.

New Scottish Documentary Season Series, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Pl, London, W2 1QJ , +4420 7479 8950

Ticket Price: £10 per event

The Frontline Club London © Flickr/MohamedN
The Frontline Club London © Flickr/MohamedN

March 8th

International Women’s Day – A Celebration of Global Voices, The Tabernacle, London

In celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day, the Tabernacle is hosting the London debut of Scattered Windows Connected Doors, directed by Roohi Dixit and Ziba Bhagwagar. Following the lives of eight very different woman living in urban India, this inspiring documentary casts a light on what drives each woman. One of the film’s most commanding elements is the similarities that it draws between such seemingly divergent characters, from Sufi singer to Shabnam LGBT rights activist Vidya. A celebration of women and India’s pioneering feminist movement, the screening is the perfect way to mark this special occasion. Hugh Lewis, founder of Global People Project, will also be participating in a Q&A as part of the event.

International Women’s Day – A Celebration of Global Voices, Tuesday March 8th 6.00PM, Main Auditorium, The Tabernacle, 34-35 Powis Square, London, W11 2AY, +4420 7221 9700

Ticket Price: Free

March 10th

DocHouse Thursdays : The Pearl Button + Director Q&A, Bertha Dochouse, London

The cult tradition of DocHouse Thursdays continues this month with a screening of director Patricio Guzmán’s The Pearl Button followed by a Q&A session with the man himself. Ethereal and visually stunning, the film tells the story of the Kaweskar indigenous community of Patagonia, for whom genocide and climate change has brought an almost total wipeout of their population. A subversive and challenging film screened in one of London’s landmarks for documentary film, this event is not to be missed.

The Pearl Button Screening + Director Q&A, Thursday 10th March 7.30 PM,  Bertha DocHouse, Curzon Bloomsbury, The Brunswick Centre, London WC1N 1AW,  +442076129351

Ticket Price: £12.50 (£10 Concession)

Image Courtesy of Bertha DocHouse
The Pearl Button | Image Courtesy of Bertha DocHouse

March 11th-13th

Bristol Film Festival, Bristol

The inaugural year of the Bristol Film Festival kicks off with an exciting array of activities for documentary fans ranging from debut screenings to workshops on budget moviemaking. The first evening of the festival begins with Bristol’s History of Flight on Film, a unique insight in to Bristol’s aviation history followed by a Q&A with executive Director Lloyd Burnell and BAC Trust member Patrick Hassell. Prospective film students can also enjoy talks from the professors at both the University of the West of England and Bristol University. Both schools will be present to provide course overviews and examples of previous students’ work, including the Made in Bristol series which will showcase the fillmmaking talents of their students in a variety of filmmaking genres both fictional and factual.

Various Venues and ticket prices, see website for Details

Bristol’s History of Flight on Film Screening Friday 11th March 6.30PM, Auditorium, Alnorfini, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA, +44 1179 466 833

Ticket Price: £5

Image Courtesy of Bristol Film Festival © Bristol Aero Collection Trust
Image Courtesy of Bristol Film Festival © Bristol Aero Collection Trust

March 16th-27th 

BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival, British Film Institute, London

The British Film Institute’s Flare Festival celebrates its 30th birthday this month and to celebrate is hosting a compelling variety of film events over 5 days from the 16th of March. The festival will display film in a range of genres each fitting into three intriguing thematic categories, Hearts (love, romance and friendship) Bodies (sex, identity and transformation) and Minds (art, politics and community). Documentary highlights include a screening of Rebel Dykes (Friday 18th March) a film exploring 1980’s lesbian culture in London and the women who helped shape today’s LGBT scene, as well as screenings of  Sophia Luvara’s BIFA winning film Inside the Chinese Closet (Friday 18th March) and Barbara Hammer’s Welcome to this House, on the life and loves of American poet Elizabeth Bishop. As well as screenings, the festival will host a series of panels and workshops exploring prominent LGBTQ issues and their application in the film industry.

Various venues, see website for full programme and details, +4420 7928 3232

Ticket Price: Varied

BFI Flare © Flickr/BlahFlowers
BFI Flare © Flickr/BlahFlowers

March 17th-20th March

Dingle International Film Festival, County Kerry, Ireland

This month the lively Dingle International Film Festival celebrates its 16th birthday in style by offering a wide selection of both fictional, experimental and documentary film events. The documentary shorts programme on the 17th  of March will screen four films of up to half an hour each, examining a different community from families in post-conflict Gaza (Destination Gaza, directed by Garry McGovern) to Ireland’s rambunctious pub go-ers (A Proper Pint, directed by Keven Siegert). Another event to highlight is a screening of Talking to my Father on the 17th of March, a documentary directed by Sé Merry Doyle and written by Simon Walker as he looks back on his relationship with his celebrated architect father Robin Walker. Aside from screenings, the festival will also offer a series of workshops including an informatory masterclass with Academy Award Winning Director and Animator Patrick Osborne on Saturday the 19th of March.

Various venues, see website for full programme and details. Dingle International Film Festival C/o John Benny Moriartys Pub,, Strand Street, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland+353 87 913 9962

Ticket Price: From €10 per event, Full Festival Pass €135

21st March

Arts Council Documentary Essays: Judith Williamson and Ken McMullen, Birkbeck Cinema, London

Hosted at the Gordon Square Cinema at Birkbeck, University of London with its RIBA award winning architecture, this back to back screening of two gripping 1980’s documentaries. Both funded by the Arts Council of Great Britain, the first film A Sign is a Fine Investment follows the history of advertising in the UK from 1897 to 1963. With excellent use of archival footage, the film highlights the gradual metamorphosis of advertising from fly on the wall footage of factory production to idealised images of the product, feeding an increasingly consumerist culture. The second film Being and Doing by Ken McMullen and Stuart Brisley, explores the act of performance art, examining its progression from cultural folklore and play acting to an art form recognised in itself.

Arts Council Documentary Essays: Judith Williamson and Ken McMullen, Monday 21st March 2.00PM-5.00PM, Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD, +4420 7631 6000

Ticket Price: Free

29th March 

First Act Film Festival, Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow

Signalling the opening of the 2016 Glasgow Youth Arts Festival, First Act Film Festival is an event made for young filmmakers, by young filmmakers. A ceremony of short film, submissions are all taken from filmmakers under 25 years old and are no longer than 15 minutes long, covering a colourful myriad of subjects that exemplify the diversity of Scotland’s young people. The films will then be judged and three participants will go away with the coveted prizes of Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Editing. A mini Oscars celebrating the country’s energetic new talent, First Act promises to be an inspiring day out for film lovers young and old. The gala event is free but ticketed, tickets can be bought on the CCA website.

First Act Film Festival, Centre for Contemporary Arts, 450 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, F2 3JD, +44776-178-6208

Ticket Price: Free

CCA Glasgow © Flickr/Woolamaloo_Gazette
CCA Glasgow © Flickr/Woolamaloo_Gazette

By Megan O’Hara