By Isabel Gonzalez-Prendergast
On Wednesday 22 October, the autumn issue of Index on Censorship magazine launched at the Frontline Club. The magazine’s editor, Rachael Jolley, introduced the issue and handed over to author and columnist, David Aaronovitch, who chaired the accompanying debate on the future of journalism.
Aaronovitch initiated the discussion by asking each panellist to speak individually on the future of journalism before inviting the audience to partake.
By Max Hallam
The Term offers a fascinating insight into the world of the groups opposing Vladamir Putin’s presidency in Russia. After its screening at the Frontline Club on Friday 17 October 2014, producer Max Tuula joined the audience for a brief Q&A via Skype.
The film follows the efforts of a number of opposition leaders, including Alexei Navalny, who runs the dominant anti-corruption blog and is an active political figure, and Ilya Yashin, leader of the Solidarnost opposition movement. The third main person of interest is Ksenia Sobchak, a prominent political activist who works alongside Ilya Yashin. Sobchak is of particular focus because she is Vladamir Putin’s goddaughter.
One of the opening scenes shows a chorus of partygoers singing, “I’m free, I’ve forgotten what fear is,” swiftly followed by footage of marches and protests and clashes with the police.
The various opposition groups are not depicted as aggressive movements. Rather, The Term reveals a spider’s web of different groups carefully considering and co-ordinating their next steps. A poignant moment in the film is when Ksenia says to Ilya Yashin, “It is important to know when to stop.”
By Graham Lanktree
Interactive reports that hold short-attention spans online are the holy grail for web editors. Loc Dao, an executive producer and creative technologist at the National Film Board of Canada’s digital studio, has come up with a few recipes for success.
At the Frontline Club on Wednesday 8 October, Dao shared the lessons learned on the road to brilliant projects like the NFB’s Seven Digital Deadly Sins partnership with The Guardian in June, and Bear 71, which challenged the nature of the medium with its mash of video, gaming technology and interactive installation at its 2012 Sundance Film Festival debut.
By Graham Lanktree
When Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announced on 6 March 1984 that she would close 20 coal mines, there was little clue it would spark the country’s longest strike and leave Britain’s trade unions sorely diminished decades later.
For a year roughly 160,000 coal miners from across the UK walked off the job as the government declared war on the unions. Thirty years on, “there’s a huge battle for interpretation about it,” said Owen Gower, director of Still the Enemy Within, at its Frontline Club screening on Friday 3 October.
With first-hand accounts from members of the National Union of Mineworkers who manned the strike’s front lines, the documentary digs deep into archival footage – much never seen before and shot by the miners themselves – to give voice to the men and women who Thatcher labeled ‘the enemy within’.
By Mackenzie Weinger
On Wednesday 1 October, several experts told a crowd at the Frontline Club about the unprecedented and horrific impact that the Ebola epidemic is having in West Africa.
The panel — moderated by Ade Daramy, chair and spokesperson for the UK Sierra Leone Ebola Task Force — tackled the international community’s response to the outbreak and assessed the situation on the ground during the Frontline Club’s First Wednesday: The Fight Against Ebola.
“J. Edgar Hoover was apoplectic.”
On Monday 29 September 2014, the Frontline Club screened 1971, the incredible story of eight US citizens whose courage – both moral and physical – led them to break into an FBI office to confiscate evidence of the bureau’s grave abuses of power.
The self-incriminating documents revealed the existence of COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program), the remit of which ranged from spying on women’s tea parties to what Noam Chomsky described as the, “Gestapo-style assassination”of Black Panther leaders.
In the post-screeening Q&A we were joined by director Johanna Hamilton via video link.
The threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the international network of militants it has spawned will be with us for a “generation”, according to experts speaking at the Frontline Club on Wednesday 24 September 2014.
By Caroline Rogers
On Wednesday 17 September, a panel chaired by Channel 4 News’ international editor Lindsey Hilsum, came together to discuss the current plight of Libya; what has gone wrong since the 2011 revolution, whether it really is on the brink of becoming a failed state, and what role the international community should play in pulling Libya away from this fate.
By Antonia Roupell
On Monday 22 September the Frontline Club screened In The Shadow Of War. The film explores the impact the Bosnian war still has on today’s youth. It focuses on four characters whose lives, a generation after the war ended, are still shaped by the events of the 1990’s. The documentary was followed by a Q&A with co-directors, Sophia Scott and Georgia Scott, as well as the film’s executive producer, Christopher Hird.
— In the Shadow of War (@InShadowofWar) September 23, 2014
By Ratha Lehall
On Friday 19 September, the Frontline Club hosted a screening of The Process, followed by a lively Q&A with the director, Joshua Baker, moderated by Jonathan Miller, foreign correspondent for Channel 4 News.
The film follows three main characters in Israel and Palestine: a young Israeli woman who has moved from her settlement to Tel Aviv, a privileged young Palestinian man who lives with his wealthy family in Ramallah and a mother living in the West Bank who is determined to join the struggle against occupation.
By Phoebe Hall
On Tuesday 16 September, the Frontline Club hosted a preview screening of Night Will Fall, followed by an insightful Q&A with director André Singer and producer Sally Angel. The powerful film interweaves eyewitness testimony and original archive footage in order to chronicle the process of the filming, by American and British and Soviet combat cameramen, of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps in 1945.
By Elliott Goat
With journalism as a profession undergoing an intense period of upheaval and self-reflection, Grapevine Events, in conjunction with the Frontline Club, brought together some of the industry’s most prominent editors on Thursday 11 September to discuss the major issues affecting journalism today.
— Rebecca (@RChoongWilkins) September 11, 2014
By Alex Glynn
Investigative journalist Nick Davies treated the Frontline Club to a detailed insight into his new book, and into the saga that dominated seven years of his life – uncovering the hacking scandal at News of the World.
One thing that he makes clear in the book, Hack Attack, is that the investigation uncovered far more than just illegal activity at one of Britain’s top newspapers – it also shed light on the power a media mogul had accumulated. As the subtitle of the book asked: Has the truth caught up with Rupert Murdoch?
By Elliott Goat
Following the screening of The Internet’s Own Boy – The Story of Aaron Swartz at the Frontline Club, director Brian Knappenberger, speaking via Skype, began by charting the genesis of the film. Engaging with hackers and hactivism through his previous project, We Are Legion, which screened at the Frontline Club in 2012, Knappenberger described how he was exposed to the outpouring and frustration that came from the death of Aaron Swartz who committed suicide following a two-year investigation by the US government.
“I was on a panel the week after Aaron died, everyone there knew him… had a personal story about him, and it was right at the very beginning of this tsunami of grief and anger and frustration that was coming out of the internet.”
While Swartz foresaw the revelations of the NSA’s surveillance programme, for Knappenberger, “one of the great tragedies is that we don’t have [Aaron] for this debate … on the topic of both government surveillance and big corporations… but I think
he would have been a big part of that discussion and the debate going on right now in Europe over the right to be forgotten.”
By Lizzie Kendal
As part of this year’s Summer Season exploring walls, barriers and borders today, the Frontline Club hosted a preview screening of The Architecture of Violence on Wednesday 13 August. It was followed by a Q&A with director Ana Naomi de Sousa and protagonist, architect and activist Eyal Weizman, moderated by filmmaker Olly Lambert. The film is part of Rebel Architecture, a six-part Al Jazeera English documentary series profiling architects who are using design as a form of activism and resistance to tackle the world’s urban, environmental and social crises.