What’s On in Docs? The Best Documentary Events to Attend This December

T’is the season to be jolly, and it’s not just mince pies & family feasts keeping us smiling. Aside from filling stockings, there’s loads to do in the documentary world in December. Bail on the Christmas party and relax at one of these dynamic documentary events…

Thursday 1st December

Screening: Underkastelsen/Submission, Edinburgh

Since the 1940s, the amount of artificial chemicals produced by humans has risen from 1 million to 500 million tonnes a year. The chemicals manufactured to increase crop yields, clean homes and wash clothes have now infiltrated our air, water, soil- even our blood. This disquieting film by Swedish documentary maker Stefan Jarl aims to expose the “ticking time bomb” of the manufactured chemical industry, interviewing experts and exposing the truth behind increased cancer rates and accelerated levels of climate change. This free screening in Edinburgh will take place on December 1st: an unmissable event to educate and inform the public on the repercussions of the growing chemical industry. 

Ticket price: Free, register here on Eventbrite

Underkastelsen/Submission Screening, 6-8.30pm on Thursday 1st December, Room G.04, 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh, EH8 9JU

Image Courtesy of Underkastelsen/Submission Film
Image Courtesy of Underkastelsen/Submission Film

Friday 2nd December

Vivid Video Making with Mobile Devices, Dublin

In our last Cost of Docs Survey, we found that 8% of documentary makers surveyed had shot footage on a smart phone. With filmmaking technology changing rapidly and high-quality footage becoming increasingly accessible, this video making masterclass in Dublin is on the cutting edge of changes in the documentary world. The second half of a two part workshop, it doesn’t matter if you missed the first half as guests will be taking part in a variety of interactive activities with no prior knowledge necessary. From making the most of your phone’s software to creating excellent outdoor footage and conducting interviews, this workshop aims to help attendees make insightful programmes using only the minimum equipment possible.

Ticket Price: Free, register here

Vivid Video Making with Mobile Devices, 10am-12.30pm on Friday 2nd December, Block B, 3rd Floor Motor Tax Office, Blackhall Walk, Queen Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7, D07ENC4 

Friday 2nd December

An Evening with Mark Beaumont, Liverpool

Record-breaking cyclist and broadcaster Mark Beaumont broke his first Guinness World Record for round the world cycling in 2008 by riding 18,000 miles through 20 countries. A BBC documentary on his travels The Man who Cycled the World used Beaumont’s own video diaries to tell the story of his incredible feat, ; both the highs and the lows. Since then his documentaries have taken him around the world and he has become an ambassador for young athletes and students at the University of Dundee. This month Beaumont arrives in Liverpool to unveil the secrets of his epic travels- from cycling 66 pounds of camera equipment around the world to capsizing in the Atlantic and being robbed in Louisiana. 

Ticket Price: £5 (CTC member)/ £10 (non-member), purchase here

An Evening with Mark Beaumont, 7pm-10pm on Friday 2nd December, The Quaker Meeting House, 22 School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BT

Image © Flickr/geezaweezer
Image © Flickr/geezaweezer

Saturday 3rd December

London Lift Off Film Festival

Started in 2011, London Lift Off Film Festival is held by one of the city’s most influential film studios: Pinewood Studios. The festival aims to showcase some of the world’s best independent and international cinema and is focused on championing emerging talent and giving new voices their time in the limelight. The first of two events in London took place at the end of November, but film fans can still catch the second event at the Charlotte Street Hotel in Soho on December 3rd. The event will showcase 13 short films from up and coming directors, including short documentary London Locks (dir. Aaron Christian) on London’s racial tensions and the conceptions of dreadlocks and natural hair today. Click here for the full programme for the evening. 

Ticket Price: £15, purchase here

London Lift Off Film Festival, 6.30-11.30pm on Saturday 3rd December, Charlotte Street Hotel, 15-17 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1RJ

Tuesday 6th December

Talk: The Girl from Aleppo: Responding to Syria’s Humanitarian Crisis, London

This month British journalist and author Christina Lamb will bring her 25 years of experience in foreign correspondence to the Frontline Club for a timely talk on the Syrian crisis and one of its unique victims. Drawing on her experience of reporting on Syria, Lamb will bring her audience the brave story of sixteen year-old Nujeen Mustafa, a cerebral palsy sufferer whose escape from Aleppo to Germany was made all the more difficult by her wheelchair. Using Nujeen’s story to jumpstart conversation on the ongoing conflict, the talk will be chaired by Azadeh Moaveni, former Middle East correspondent for TIME Magazine, and will include Iraqi British journalist Mina Al-Oraibi as well as Secretary of State for International Development Rt Hon. Andrew Mitchell. 

Ticket Price: £12.50/£10 (concession), purchase here

The Girl from Aleppo: Responding to Syria’s Humanitarian Crisis, 7.15pm on Tuesday 6th December, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Pl, London W2 1QJ 

Tuesday 6th December

Nottingham Red Project: Screening of Normal, Nottingham

This December, Nottingham Contemporary will host film festival Nottingham Red Project: Who do you think we are?  The event aims to raise awareness of the stigmatisation of sex workers and inspire conversation around the issue. As part of the festival, on December 6th there will be a screening of documentary Normal, directed by Professor Nick Mai of Kingston University. This 48 minute film aims to translate the real story of migrant sex workers living in Albania, Italy and the UK. Documenting the lives of male, female and transgender workers alike, some of who’m have been victims of trafficking, the film is a touching human portrayal of an often hushed-up and criticised industry,

Ticket Price: Free, register here

Nottingham Red Project: Screening of Normal, 6.30-9pm on Tuesday 6th December, Nottingham Contemporary, Weekday Cross, Nottingham, NG1 2GB 

Tuesday 6th December

Screening: Life, Animated, London

Groundbreaking animated documentary Life, Animated shot to fame this year when it won the Sundance Directing Award for U.S Documentary as well as the Audience Award at San Francisco International Film Festival. Officially selected for Tribeca, the film tells the story of Owen Suskind, a young man who as a child was completely unable to speak. Desperate to help their son communicate, Owen’s parents developed a way to engage him using classic animated films like Aladdin and the Little Mermaid to help him learn about identity and interpret his own reality. From Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams, the film is screening for free at UCL Institute of Education in London on December 6th.

Ticket Price: Free, register here

Screening: Life, Animated, 6-8.30pm on Tuesday 6th December, UCL Institute of Education, University College London, Logan Hall (Level 1), 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL 

Wednesday 7th December

Workshop: Feature Documentaries, From Concept to Screen, London

A one stop shop for documentary makers, this London workshop from the TV Collective will school directors and producers on all they need to know before embarking on a feature project. From developing your idea to marketing a film and finding funding, London Live Commissioner and Creative Director at Woodcut Media Derren Lawford will be guiding guests through from start to finish, tapping in to the valuable knowledge of filmmakers Usayd Younis and Cassie Quarless (prod. Generation Revolution). If you have a great idea and want to know how to turn it in to a concrete strategy, this workshop is the place to be in London on December 7th. 

Ticket Price: £5 (TV Collective members)/ £15 (non-members), purchase here

Feature Documentaries, From Concept to Screen, 7-9pm on Wednesday 7th December, MeWe360, 4 Golden Square, London, W1F 9HT

Image © Flickr/Ifpi
Image © Flickr/Ifpi

Thursday 8th December

Screening: A World Not Ours

London’s Middle East Society and the newly established Centre for Islamic and West Asian Studies have joined forces to host a free screening of A World Not Ours in commemoration of Palestine’s First Intifada. This award-winning Palestinian documentary tells the story of some of the residents of the Ain El-Helweh (or ‘Sweet Spring’) refugee camp in Lebanon. The largest refugee camp in the country, Ain El-Helweh is home to over 70,000 Palestinian diaspora. Well-balanced and undeniably good-humoured, the film unravels the different generational mindsets of the Palestinian families that inhabit the camp, exposing the problems that face different age groups. Whilst the older residents are lost in nostalgia and memories of a dreamlike ‘homeland’, the younger generation are caught between a lack of prospects in their current environment and the enticing promise of jihad, critical of the Palestinian government yet powerless to incite change. 

Ticket Price: Free, register here

Screening: A World Not Ours, 6-8pm on Thursday 8th December, Founders Main Lecture Theatre, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham Hill, TW20 0EX

Saturday 10th December

Doc in a Day: Doc of the Year, London

We’ve featured the Doc in a Day competitions in our previous articles, encouraging emerging filmmakers to participate in London Documentary Network‘s 48 hour documentary competition. The short films that have emerged from this time-squeezed challenge have been incredibly well-made, convincing us that you don’t need high-end equipment and bucket loads of time to create compelling factual television. In order to celebrate the successes of its six previous competitions, London Documentary Network are screening some of the best submissions so far at Roxy Bar and Screen on 10th of December. The winning films will all be fighting for the top spot, and guests can enjoy free cake, popcorn and Christmas hits before voting for their favourite. From voguing to free-running, this doc night will open up new worlds and showcase some of London’s freshest documentary talent.

Ticket Price: £5.10/ £3.22 (student), purchase here

Doc in a Day: Doc of the Year, 7pm-12am on Saturday 10th December, Roxy Bar and Screen, 128-132 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1LB

Image Courtesy of Doc in a Day
Image Courtesy of Doc in a Day

Sunday 11th December

OTOXO Productions Presents: An Afternoon of Short Documentary, London

OTOXO Productions is an award-winning documentary production company specialising in social issue factual films. Based in Barcelona, OTOXO run an industry training programme that supports emerging filmmakers in creating compelling documentaries without the crippling film school fees. This month they pair up with St Margaret’s House in East London to screen a vibrant programme of some of their most accomplished short documentaries. From Al Mismo Tempo, on a unique orchestra that transcends socio-economic limitations to bring talented children together with music, to El Peso de la Manta on the city’s hidden immigrant street sellers, the programme promises to be a diverse and enlightening afternoon of documentary.

Ticket Price: Free, reserve here

OTOXO Productions Presents: An Afternoon of Short Documentary, 1pm-4pm on Sunday 11th December, St Margarets House, 21 Old Ford Road, London, E2 9PL

Thursday 15th December 15th

Refugee Film Club presents – Exodus: Our Journey to Europe, Bristol

Putting the camera firmly in the hands of the refugees famously described once as ‘swarms’ by former Prime Minister David Cameron, Exodus: Our Journey to Europe is a personal and empathetic insight in to the lives of those we see so frequently on the news. From making the treacherous crossing from Turkey to Germany in an overcrowded dingy, to negotiating with smugglers and trying to a avoid suffocating in water containers, the documentary is filmed on hidden cameras by those escaping their often war-torn homelands. The film screening will be followed by a number of short presentations from key advocates for refugee rights, and all profits will go to Help Refugees, a charity providing aid for those most vulnerable in the refugee crisis. 

Ticket Price: £5/£3 (concession), purchase here

Refugee Film Club presents – Exodus: Our Journey to Europe, 7-9.30pm on Thursday 15th December, Cafe Kino, 108 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3RU