The Billion Pound Base – Dismantling Camp Bastion

November 28, 2014 | Frontline Bloggers

By Agnes Chambre

A preview screening of The Billion Pound Base – Dismantling Camp Bastion, followed by a Q&A session with director Richard Parry, producer Leslie Knott and executive producer Mike Lerner, was held at the Frontline Club on Thursday 27 November.

The film about Camp Bastian in Afghanistan is reportedly the first of its kind. Although a large number of films have been made about the country, including many made by the three people that were in discussion last night, this film was about the infrastructure of the camp. Learner described it as “Catch-22 meets The Office”.

“Whatever they do, you’re going to have to talk to them”

November 26, 2014 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Georgia Luscombe

On Tuesday 25 November, the Frontline Club hosted Jonathan Powell to discuss the topic of his new book, Talking to Terrorists. Powell was Downing Street chief of staff, during the entire tenure of Tony Blair as Prime Minister and a chief negotiator with Sinn Fein before the Good Friday Agreement. He was interviewed by The Times’ roving correspondent, Anthony Loyd.

Hunting for Osama bin Laden

November 26, 2014 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Robert Van Egghen

“How can you have a war on terror when terror is a tactic?” asks one of the American counter-terrorism analysts interviewed in Greg Barker‘s new film, Manhunt, about the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden, which was screened at the Frontline Club on Monday 24 November. Director Greg Barker joined the packed-out audience afterwards for a Q&A via Skype.


Greg Barker joins the Frontline Club audience for a Q&A via Skype from LA after the screening.

Violence and the traditions of colonialism

November 25, 2014 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Will Worley

A preview screening of Concerning Violence, followed by a discussion with Swedish director Göran Hugo Olsson, was held at the Frontline Club on Friday 21 November.

The film is based upon the seminal anti-colonialism book, The Wretched of the Earth, by Frantz Fanon, a Martinique born psychiatrist who became involved with armed anti-colonial struggles, significantly in Algeria.

The production follows segments of archive footage, some extremely graphic, linked throughout by excerpts from the book, read by singer Lauryn Hill. Clips used were from African countries affected by the violence of colonisation in the late 20th century, such as Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and Burkina Faso.

Olsson started the discussion by saying: “The film for me was just about the text. For me it’s just like a commercial for Fanon’s thinking.” He felt that the book “hadn’t had its proper place in society” and wanted to use it to illustrate problems of the modern day.


Göran Hugo Olsson in conversation at the Frontline Club

Exploring the world between science and journalism

November 21, 2014 merryn.johnson Comment

By Will Worley

Science and journalism came together on the evening of Thursday 20 November as the Frontline Club launched a new collaboration with the Scientific Exploration Society. Chaired by Vaughan Smith, explorers and journalists discussed their work and the stories they are trying to tell.

From left: Vaughan Smith, Andrew Mitchell, Pen Hadow, Ryan Burke and Oliver Steeds in conversation at the Frontline Club.

How to Freelance Safely – Part Two

November 19, 2014 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Graham Lanktree 

Frontline Club founder Vaughan Smith chats with Ben De Pear of Channel, 4, Marcus Mabry of The New York Times, freelancer Emma Beals, and AFP’s David Williams.

As many major news organisations close foreign bureaus, freelancers are called on more and more to cover global conflicts. They face risks often without the structure, training and resources that come with having a large media outlet behind you.

Continuing a conversation that began at the end of October in New York at the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC), Vaughan Smith, founder of the Frontline Club, spoke with leading editors at the club in London on Tuesday 18 November. They discussed the importance of pay to reflect risk, training, and new ways of determining how much responsibility for freelancers news outlets should take on.

When a lie masquerades as the truth – questions of documentary filmmaking

November 18, 2014 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Elliott Goat

“Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.”

Janet Malcom, The Journalist and the Murderer

Hosting a debate on the role of fiction/nonfiction in documentary storytelling, David Wilson, founder of True/False film festival, chaired a panel of past True/False filmmakers Kevin Macdonald, Sarah Gavron and Beadie Finzi. He began by asking them all what it was that guided their decision making process that ultimately skirted the line between fictional representation and factual accuracy.

“When you find yourself in a position where you are investigating how to shape a story, how to shape a narrative, how do you determine whether you are going too far or you have not gone far enough . . . that this is right and this is wrong?”

True False

Photo by Dogwoof

Talking about Thailand

November 13, 2014 merryn.johnson Comment

By Mackenzie Weinger

If the event on Wednesday 12 November had taken place in Thailand instead of at the Frontline Club in London, members of the Thailand: A Kingdom in Crisis panel could have been jailed.

That’s because panellists broke the Thai lèse majesté law — the crime of violating majesty — by discussing the country’s monarchy and talking frankly about the issues surrounding the royal succession. Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej is 86 and ailing, after all, and in May of this year the military staged its 12th successful coup since the country became a constitutional monarchy in 1932.

Thailand talk

From left: Simon Baptist, Andrew MacGregor Marshall, Eugénie Mérieau, Claudio Sopranzetti and Junya ‘Lek’ Yimprasert (via Skype) in conversation at the Frontline Club.

Quelque part en France: Introducing John G Morris the photographer

November 12, 2014 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Isabel Gonzalez-Prendergast

On Tuesday 11 November, John G Morris, former picture editor for Life magazine, joined guests at the Frontline Club to share his photographs and experiences in Normandy towards the end World War II. Robert Pledge, co-founder of Contact Press Images and editor of Morris‘s book Quelque Part En France, joined his good friend to give insight into the process of collecting the photographs from 1944 and creating the book, which will hopefully be published in English soon.

Pledge introduced “John Morris, not the picture editor, not the historian . . . but John Morris the photographer”.


John G Morris (left) and Robert Pledge (right) discuss Morris’s experiences and photography in Normandy.

Ebola – “The solution is how countries are living with it”

November 11, 2014 merryn.johnson Comment

By Francis Churchill

On Monday 10 November, the Frontline Club hosted a preview screening of Liberia – Living With Ebola, the first episode in Al Jazeera’s latest series of Africa Investigates. The film documented the impact of Ebola on those at the front line of the disease in Liberia, focusing on the communities worst hit and the healthcare workers who run the Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) and take away the highly infectious bodies of the dead.

Clive Patterson and Sorious Samura

Attacking the Devil: Illustrating the best of investigative journalism

November 10, 2014 merryn.johnson Comment

By Georgia Luscombe

On Friday 7 November, the Frontline Club played host to award-winning journalist Marjorie Wallace and director Jacqui Morris (McCullin, 2012) for a preview screening of Attacking the Devil: Harold Evans and the Last Nazi War Crime, followed by a Q&A.

Attacking the Devil

As audience members stirred with sympathy for the victims of the thalidomide scandal, portrayed with honesty and dignity as they spoke directly to the camera, Wallace and Morris described their own determination to bring one of the greatest horrors of the post-war era to popular attention.

“You liberated them,” Morris said, “they thought that they were out there on their own.”

In Memory of Rosalina Cardoso Cova (Ruzy)

November 10, 2014 vaughan 7 Comments

Rusy behind the bar at the Frontline ClubWe received the devastating news last night that Rosalina Cardoso Cova (Ruzy), the Frontline Club’s longest serving member of staff, suddenly passed away aged 39 years.

Ruzy got up on Sunday morning and began to feel unwell and was rushed to Woods Cross hospital. We understand that by lunchtime she was gone and we don’t yet know what caused it.

Ruzy has worked at Frontline for nearly a decade, for most of that time she ran the day shift in the clubroom and never failed to welcome us all with a smile. We will miss her terribly.

She leaves behind Nelson, her partner of 25 years and their 18 year old son Fabio. Our deeply heartfelt condolences go out to them both.


The End of the Wall: 25 Years After the Fall

November 6, 2014 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Graham Lanktree

Former Hungarian Prime Minister Miklós Németh speaks to the 2014 Copenhagen International Documentary Festival about his pivotal role in the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The young Harvard-educated economist Miklós Németh didn’t dream he would play a decisive role in the fall of the Berlin Wall when he was appointed Prime Minister by Hungary’s Communist Party to fix the nation’s finances in late 1988. Only a year later he was at the centre of it all.

On Wednesday 5 November, the Frontline Club tuned in to the world premier of 1989, a new documentary by Anders Østergaard detailing the months and days of Németh’s tense political manoeuvring that precipitated demolition of the wall, as it was shown in 57 cities across Europe during the 2014 Copenhagen International Documentary Festival (CPH:DOX).

Michael Žantovský on Havel: Dissident, Playwright and Philosopher

November 4, 2014 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Tom Adams

Michael Žantovský

On 3 November the Frontline Club hosted an event organised by the Czech Centre London, the insight with Michael Žantovský was part of the ‘Made in Prague’ festival season. Michael Žantovský, who is the current Czech Ambassador to the Court of St James, was discussing his new book called Havel: A Life. 

Václav Havel was elected as President of Czechoslovakia in December of 1989 after 41 years of communist rule. His political activities during the communist regime brought him under the surveillance of the secret police and led to multiple prison stints, including a four-year incarceration between 1979 and 1983. His Civic Forum Party played a major role in the Velvet Revolution, and Havel himself was instrumental in dismantling the Warsaw Pact and expanding NATO eastwards.

Gabriella Coleman and the Many Faces of Anonymous

November 3, 2014 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Tom Adams 

Gabriella Coleman

On Thursday 30 October, an excited crowd packed the Frontline Club for an insight with Gabriella Coleman, currently the Wolfe Chair in scientific and technological literacy at McGill University, where she researches, writes about and teaches on computer hackers and digital activism.

In her latest publication, Coleman provides a unique insight into the mysterious group Anonymous. Ben Hammersley, presenter of the new BBC World News series ‘Cybercrime with Ben Hammersley’, which begins on Saturday 1 November, had the enviable task of discussing Coleman‘s new book, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous.