By Ratha Lehall On Monday 14 July, the Frontline Club hosted a screening of Seeds of Hope, a documentary which focuses on the effect of rape in Eastern Congo, where it has become a widely used weapon of war. The film centres around one woman, Masika, who is herself a victim of rape, and her determination to provide a […]
By Lisa Dupuy Where there are borders, attempts will likely be made to cross them in the hope of reaching greener pastures. But the individuals who try are not necessarily welcomed by those who live on the other side. Fences, walls and legislation are thrown up to at least regulate the influx of migrants. And in some cases, borders are […]
Since Rich Peppiatt’s hilariously withering resignation letter to Daily Star proprietor, Richard Desmond, became a viral sensation in 2011, his brutal honesty has made him a regular tabloid commentator on TV and radio. In One Rogue Reporter, he lampoons the hypocrisy and dishonesty of his former employers through a series of mischievous stunts and interviews with heavyweights from the worlds of journalism, ﬁlm, comedy and politics. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Rich Peppiatt. Chaired by Stewart Purvis, professor of television journalism at City University. He is a former editor-in-chief and CEO of ITN, Ofcom’s Partner for Content and Standards, and author of When Reporters Cross The Line: The Heroes, the Villains, the Hackers and the Spies.
As a teenager, programming prodigy Aaron Swartz took the Internet community by storm. His intellect and understanding matched its most seasoned members. Today, his fingerprints are all over the Internet, from his help in the development of the basic Internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit. But Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice combined with his aggressive approach to information access ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare, with fatal consequences.
The 4,500-kilometer (2,800-mile) Urengoy–Pomary–Uzhgorod gas pipeline connects the second-largest gas field in the world in Urengoy, West Siberia, with the Western European market. It has become one of the most vital arteries of the Russian economy, with Vladimir Putin claiming that its gas and oil revenues account for half of Russia’s disposable capital. For 104 days, renowned director Vitaly Mansky followed the course of this Trans-Siberian gas pipeline through seven different countries. Pipeline is a visually refined road movie offering an unsettling portrait of the legendary Trans-Siberian gas pipeline, on which much of Europe is still reliant.
Three short films explore life on the other side of the Iron Curtain, before the fall of the Berlin Wall:
Academy Award-nominated documentary Rabbit à la Berlin uses the Berlin Wall rabbit population as a metaphor for the huge transition post-communist societies underwent.
Through exceptional and rare footage shot between 10 and 20 October 1989, EXIT shows East German refugees who managed to cross the Polish border in order to reach the West German embassy in Warsaw. They talk openly about life in East Germany, not knowing the world is about to change.
During the communist dictatorship in Romania (1945-1989), thousands of people risked their lives attempting to flee their country, often inventing the most incredible methods to cross the border illegally. Oxygen is a free re-enactment of a real case.
In a journey across the settlements, the roads and the Separation Wall of the West Bank, Eyal Weizman demonstrates how architecture is central to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and how his work on the architecture of occupation has led him to understand the discipline’s role in modern urban warfare. This Al Jazeera Rebel Architecture preview screening will be followed by a discussion with director Ana Naomi de Sousa and protagonist and architect Eyal Weizman.
Belarus is governed by Europe’s last dictator, Alexander Lukashenko. In the run-up to the 2010 presidential election and for a year afterwards, filmmaker Madeleine Sackler followed the trials and tribulations of Belarus Free Theatre, an underground theatre company based in Minsk and led by Natalia and Nikolai. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Madeleine Sackler via Skype.
Acclaimed filmmaker Martin Scorsese and his longtime documentary collaborator David Tedeschi pay homage to a 20th century American institution: The New York Review of Books. The film weaves rarely seen archival material, interviews and excerpts from writings by such icons as James Baldwin, Gore Vidal and Joan Didion. These scenes reflect the humming and restless energy of a magazine that still feels as vital as its indefatigable founding editor, Robert Silvers. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with Anthony Wall, series editor of BBC Arena.
On 3 August 2010, border police discover a decomposing male body beneath a cicada tree deep in Arizona’s sun-blistered Sonora Desert. Director Marc Silver chronicles the story of this migrant found in the strip of desert known as “the corridor of death”. This one life becomes testimony to the tragic results of the US war on immigration. As the forensic investigation unfolds, Mexican actor and activist Gael Garcia Bernal retraces this man’s steps along the migrant trail in Central America. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Marc Silver.
Seeds of Hope follows multiple-rape victim Masika Katsuva, who has rescued some 6,000 women and children in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo by offering them shelter in her centre. Filmmaker Fiona Lloyd-Davies follows Katsuva and the centre’s inhabitants, as they reshape their lives to build a new future. The film also speaks with the perpetrators, among them soldiers from the Congolese army, who give extraordinarily open testimony as to why they rape and their attitudes toward their horrific acts. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Fiona Lloyd-Davies.
Join us for another evening of short documentaries, from different parts of the world, covering a wide range of topics. Shorts at the Frontline Club showcases moving, striking and funny films, exploring the many different faces of documentary filmmaking.
At night, a group of young men and women gather on the street corners of Freetown, Sierra-Leone. These Freetown Streetboys, as they call themselves, are amputees, some as a result of the civil-war that ended 10 years ago. Shado’man closely follows the lives of this tight community and delves into the inner world of each character to reveal the dignity of humans surviving under inhumane conditions. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Boris Gerrets.
Before Serbia could begin negotiations to join the European Union, it had to prove it could achieve a modus vivendi with the disputed territory of Kosovo. The Agreement follows the negotiations lead by veteran diplomat Robert Cooper, whose patience reveals how diplomacy actually works, keeping the parties together as the delegates exchange pointed barbs or keep the other side waiting for hours. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Karen Stokkendal Poulsen and protagonist and EU peace negotiator Robert Cooper.
Secrets of the Vatican chronicles the events that led to Pope Benedict’s unexpected resignation and looks into the challenges faced by his successor Pope Francis. It investigates these complex and sensitive issues through undercover footage and interviews with Vatican insiders, abuse victims and whistleblowers. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Antony Thomas.
In August 2012, mine workers in one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines began a strike for better wages. This peaceful demonstration was brought down violently by an intervention from state police forces, killing 34 miners and injuring many more. Miners Shot Down reconstructs what happened in Marikana and the aftermath, through testimonies and previously unseen police, security and TV footage. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Rehad Desai moderated by journalist and filmmaker Inigo Gilmore.
Filmed between August 2011 and August 2013, Return to Homs is an intimate portrait of a group of young revolutionaries in the city of Homs. Filmmaker Talal Derki followed the journey of two close friends whose lives were turned upside down by the events in Syria. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with producer Orwa Nyrabia via Skype.
Federal Penal Colony No. 56 is situated in central Russia, in the middle of a forest larger than Germany and a seven-hour drive from the nearest city. In winter, temperatures fall to 40 degrees below zero. There are 260 prisoners serving out their sentences, all of them for murder. Nick Read and Mark Franchetti gained access to this isolated world and talked to the men about their crimes, their punishment and what freedom means to them. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Nick Read.
Virunga, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is Africa’s oldest national park, a UNESCO world heritage site and contested ground among insurgents seeking to topple the government who see untold profits in the land. Virunga portrays the personal experiences of the park staff as they prepare to protect everything they’ve worked for in an ongoing political and environmental crisis. This sneak preview screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Orlando von Einsiedel.
By Elliott Goat Introducing his film The Lost Signal of Democracy, screened at the Frontline Club on Monday 7 April, director Yorgos Avgeropoulos began by describing the film as more than merely a document of the closure of Greece’s public broadcaster, ERT, by the government: “I would just like to say that this film is […]
Abu Haraz can no longer be found on the map. The small North Sudanese village now wallows under 35 meters of water in the middle of an artificial lake 180 kilometres long. For seven years, filmmaker Maciej Drygas observed and documented the daily life of Abu Haraz’s citizens as they protested against the construction of the dam and eventually got ready to be relocated to a place unknown to them. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Maciej Drygas.
Founded in 2010 by a group of Syrian filmmakers, Abounaddara anonymously releases weekly films on the web in order to avoid censorship. These short films are a testimony of the fight for freedom in Syria. The film Syria: Snapshots of History in the Making is constructed from these short films and forms an intimate journey into a society on the brink. The screening will be preceded by a discussion with journalist and head of WARM Remy Ourdan , producer of Abounaddara Films Charif Kiwan , photographers Patrick Chauvel and Paul Lowe.
Join us for an evening of short documentaries, from different parts of the world, covering a wide range of topics. Shorts at the Frontline Club showcases moving, striking and funny films, exploring the many different faces of documentary filmmaking. This month’s six films will take you from the futuristic city of Ordos in inner Mongolia to a slum in Kenya; from Romania under communism to the inner world of war veterans; and from Tibet to Myanmar.
A Thousand Times Good Night tells the moving story of leading conflict photojournalist Rebecca (played by Oscar-winner Juliette Binoche) who is torn between a passion for her perilous work and love of her family. Her husband (played by Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and daughter can no longer bear the thought of her dying for her work. She is given an ultimatum: her work, or her family life. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Erik Poppe moderated by Gavin Rees from the Dart Centre Europe.
In the summer of 2013, Michal Przedlacki and Wojciech Szumowski spent 44 days in Aleppo, documenting the lives of ordinary citizens in extraordinary circumstances. Aleppo. Notes From the Dark offers a unique and poignant account of life in Aleppo from the perspective of seven of its residents. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with co-directors Michal Przedlacki and Wojciech Szumowski.
On the evening of 11 June 2013, the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras pulled the plug on ERT, Greece’s public broadcaster, after 75 years of continuous operation. The silencing of public television resulted in a political conflict and provoked protests in a country already divided. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Yorgos Avgeropoulos.
For 12 years, Oleg Klimov documented the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Throughout the 1990s he witnessed almost all the conflicts and ethnic tensions of the region. Personally affected by his experiences as a war photographer and longing for inner peace, Klimov returns to some of the areas he photographed during wartime: Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and Chechnya. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Masha Novikova in person and photographer Oleg Klimov via Skype.
The meeting of the Blue and White Nile in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, is referred to as ‘the longest kiss in history’. Focusing on the stories of six people searching for a place to call ‘home’ ahead of the south’s secession, The Longest Kiss paints an intimate portrait of the country’s complex fragmentation. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque and James Copnall.
When director Morgan Matthews decided to join three groups of men from the highly competitive and bitterly divided world of Bigfoot hunting, he got more than he bargained for. Shooting Bigfoot is a raucous road trip featuring a larger than life cast of monster-hunting men who devote their lives to the search for Bigfoot. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Morgan Matthews.
In 2011, director Rachel Beth Anderson followed two friends who abandoned their peaceful lives in Canada and returned to their home country of Libya to fight in the revolution. Hamid (26) and Tarek (21) had never fired a gun, but in 2011 they ran recklessly towards war, fuelled by their hatred of Muammar Gaddafi and their desire to be part of history. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with co-directors Rachel Beth Anderson and Tim Grucza.