Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning

July 21, 2015 | Frontline Bloggers

By Helena Kardova

Dyanna Taylor responding to questions on Skype.

Dorothea Lange introduced a tenderness to documentary photography, which has since elevated her images to an iconic status and pushed US citizens to come to terms with darker aspects of their collective history.

On Monday 20 July 2015, the Frontline Club hosted a preview screening of the PBS documentary Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning. The film looks back at the photographer’s life through the spectrum of preparations for an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1966 – the first retrospective that the museum had dedicated to a woman photographer. Dyanna Taylor, director and Dorothea Lange’s granddaughter, joined the Frontline Club audience for a discussion via Skype following the screening.

Exploitation and Liberation: Chloe Ruthven’s Jungle Sisters

July 21, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Francis Churchill

The garment manufacturing industry has garnered a reputation for being an exploitative industry. Nonetheless, the Indian government is planning to train 500 million of the country’s rural poor to fill factory jobs in the country’s ever increasing manufacturing sector. Most of this work has been contracted out to private companies who profit from training factory staff.

Filmmaker Chloe Ruthven’s latest film, Jungle Sisters, follows her own sister, Orlanda, as she attempts to improve the working conditions of young rural factory-workers from within the system. The documentary was screened at the Frontline Club on Friday 17 July 2015, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.


Chloe Ruthven

Marikana: Politics, Power and Platinum

July 17, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Amy McConaghy

On 16 August 2012, South African police shot and killed 34 striking miners from the Marikana platinum mine owned by Lonmin. They were on strike for a living wage, trapped in a life of desperate poverty.

With the Marikana Commission having recently released their report into what happened, the Frontline Club hosted a two-part event on 17 July, exploring the dynamics of politics, power and platinum in South Africa.

south af

L-r: Jason Larkin, Richard Dowden and Jack Shenker (Photo credit: Caroline Chauvet)

Shades of True: Female Perpetrators of the Rwandan Genocide

July 9, 2015 Phoebe Hall Comment

By Mica Kelmachter

On Friday 3 July 2015, the Frontline Club hosted a screening of documentary Shades of True, followed by a discussion with director Alexandre Westphal via Skype. Westphal’s documentary looks at the aftermath of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, when a million people were murdered over a period of three months.

Under Surveillance: Protecting Journalistic Sources

July 8, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Francis Churchill

On Tuesday 7 July 2015, the Frontline Club hosted a discussion on the problem of protecting journalistic sources in the age of digital surveillance.

Hosting the panel of experts was journalist and president of the Foreign Press Association Paola Totaro. The discussion touched upon issues of the law, journalist’s ethics, state transgression and best practices in protecting your sources.

The panel included journalists Julie Posetti, Jonathan Calvert and Paul Myers, as well as Gavin Millar QC, a specialist in media law.


Left to right: Gavin Millar QC, Jonathan Calvert, Paola Totaro, Paul Myers and Julie Posetti

Insight with Samar Yazbek: Return to Syria

July 2, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Amy McConaghy

In the summer of 2012, writer and journalist Samar Yazbek squeezed through a gap in the fence of the Turkish border and made her way back into the Syrian homeland from which she had been exiled the previous year.

On Wednesday 1 July, she joined an audience at the Frontline Club to discuss her new book, The Crossing: My Journey into the Shattered Heart of Syria, which documents this journey back to Syria as she bears witness to the devastating effects of war on the everyday lives of her fellow Syrians. Yazbek was joined in conversation by Syrian writer and broadcaster, Rana Kabbani. 


L-r: Rana Kabbani, Samar Yazbek and interpreter Ghias Aljundi

Mariusz Szczygiel on Gottland and Czech Identity

June 30, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Helena Kardova


On Monday 29 June 2015, acclaimed Polish writer Mariusz Szczygiel joined an audience at the Frontline Club to introduce the film Gottland and to discuss his book of the same name. Bloomberg News writer Doug Lytle joined the panel for a discussion on Szczygiel‘s ongoing interest in Czech culture.

The True Cost of Corruption

June 25, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Alexandra Sarabia

On Wednesday 24 May, an audience gathered at the Frontline Club for a discussion on corruption and its far-reaching implications. Sarah Chayes and Tom Burgis joined freelance journalist and host of Newshour on the BBC World Service, Owen Bennett-Jones, to talk about their experiences in Africa, Afghanistan and beyond. Chayes is an expert on kleptocracy, anti-corruption and civil-military relations, and is currently senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program and the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment. Burgis is investigations correspondent at the Financial Times and has worked extensively in Africa.


L-r: Sarah Chayes, Owen Bennett-Jones and Tom Burgis

News Reporting: Is Gender a Factor?

June 24, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Josie Le Blond

There’s no getting round it. Female journalists face exceptional risks when reporting events across the world. Especially as freelancers undertaking assignments alone, women must factor the dangers of gender and sexual violence into their assessments of hostile environments.

gender 1

L-r: Richard Spencer, Alison Baskerville, Elisa Lees Munoz, Nadine Marroushi and Caroline Neil

They are Us: Mark Aitken’s Dead When I Got Here

June 24, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Francis Churchill

On Monday 22 June 2015, the Frontline Club screened Mark Aitken’s new film Dead When I Got Here.

The film is centred on Josué, a former psychiatric patient who oversees the day to day running of a mental asylum in the Mexican border town of Juárez. Through Josué, Aitken tells the story of both the asylum and a town left gutted and destitute by the drug trade.

The evening was hosted by Ed Vulliamy, a writer at the Guardian and the Observer and author of award-winning book Amexica: War Along the Border Line. Vulliamy also maintains a strong connection to the city of Juárez.


Mark Aitken (left) and Ed Vulliamy

Those Who Feel the Fire Burning: A Refugee’s Perspective

June 22, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By George Symonds

On Friday 19 June 2015, the Frontline Club held a screening of the genre-defying Those Who Feel the Fire Burning, an experimental film focusing on the experiences of those who risk their lives in order to reach the shores of Europe. The audience was joined by co-producer Katja Draaijer for a discussion following the screening.

Producer Katja Draaijer

Producer Katja Draaijer

Chechnya: A ‘Schizophrenic Land’

June 15, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Sara Monetta

Manon Loizeau at the Frontline Club
Twenty years have passed since the beginning of the first Chechen war. How has the country changed in this period and what happened to the many men and women who fought for independence?

With this starting point, journalist and filmmaker Manon Loizeau revisited Chechnya, a country where she had previously lived and reported from during the war. The resulting documentary, Chechnya, War Without Trace, was screened ahead of its premiere on Al Jazeera on Friday 12 June to an audience at the Frontline Club.

Embedded with the People: Photographs of Afghanistan with Zalmaï

June 12, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Francis Churchill 

On Wednesday 10 June, Afghan-born photographer Zalmaï presented his latest book, Dread and Dreams, to an audience at the Frontline Club.

When he returned, after a long hiatus, to Afghanistan as part of the army of press following the US-British invasion, Zalmaï quickly realised that the Western media was not showing the human elements of the conflict. Dread and Dreams looks at both the hope and the despair of the Afghan people. Zalmaï shared insights into these images of his home country in a discussion moderated by Alexia Singh, editor-in-charge of Reuters Wider Image.

William Dalrymple: The Battle for Afghanistan

June 10, 2015 Phoebe Hall Comment

By Olivia Acland

On Tuesday 2 June, acclaimed writer and historian William Dalrymple joined an audience at the Frontline Club for a fascinating talk on his latest book, Return of a King – The Battle for Afghanistan, in partnership with the London Press Club. The work is the third volume in a series examining the history of Great Britain in South Asia during the 19th century.

Food Chains: The Struggle of Farm Workers in the US

June 3, 2015 Frontline Bloggers Comment

By Ratha Lehall

rawal food

On Wednesday 27 May, the Frontline Club hosted a preview screening of Food Chains, a documentary which gives a revealing insight into the working conditions of farm labourers in the US. The film also follows a campaign against a powerful supermarket chain led by a workers’ movement in Immokalee, Florida. The screening was followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Sanjay Rawal, and producer Smriti Keshari.