Greetings from Brexit Central, which is not a stop on the London Underground but if it were, it would be on the Circle Line because, well, we just seem to go round and round and round.
Our London office is 1.1 miles from the Palace of Westminster as the hare leaps. There backgrounded by the green leather and wooden panelling, scenes have been unfolding over the past weeks which are not only unprecedented in British politics but have turned the chamber into an amateur dramatics performance of Alice in Wonderland complete with Mad Hatters and March Hares.
What will happen next? We have no idea. But we’re pretty sure we don’t get to wake up and find it was all just a hallucinogenic dream. Instead we wake up every morning and realise that all the pressing challenges of our time are STILL TRUE.
The rise of nationalism, leading to unprecedented violence in New Zealand, the challenge of the climate crisis and to add to that, the growing realisation of the impact of surveillance capitalism. And so we at Doc Society are trying to keep our focus on the big picture, double down and not get lost.
We remember the wise words of the Cheshire Cat:
“If you don't know where you are going, any road can take you there”.
Tunes: Thanks to the Guardian and its readers this week - this is a sonic snapshot of the tumult in British hearts and minds. Get stuck in here...
The Final Countdown / Europe
Don't Leave Me This Way / The Communards, Sarah Jane Morris
Land of Confusion / Genesis
We Gotta Get Out of This Place / The Animals
Where's Your Head At / Basement Jaxx
Upside Down / Paloma Faith
FREAKED OUT BY SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM?
So. Are. We.
More March madness. One year after the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook revelations we are organising a screening and debate at the ICA. Come see the UK premiere of Marc Silver’s short film #pinkhairedatawhistleblower (featuring one Christopher Wylie) and hear from special guests including writer-of-the-moment Professor Shoshana Zuboff who will be signing copies of her instant classic, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, after the event.
The short film was a collaboration with Carole Cadwalladr at The Guardian, produced by Doc Society in partnership with the Bertha Foundation.
ICA. Sunday March 31st at 6.30pm Seek your ticket here.
GOOD PITCH LOCAL KARNATAKA
‘It was a room of abundance..’ says our dear colleague & Good Pitch partner Sophy Sivaraman from the Indian Documentary Foundation. Having run two national cycles of Good Pitch India, IDF teamed up with Ourgroundworks to bring over 200 individuals and organizations to support 15 brilliant projects for India's first edition of Good Pitch Local in the State of Karnataka!
Moderated by Elizabeth Jane and Faredoon Bhujwala (as featured above) the projects presented highlighted urgent stories & social issues from the region ranging from clean toilets in schools, a citizen-driven campaign for equitable streets, to women's safety, LGBTQIA+ rights and food security. The room of participants enthusiastically showered each of the projects with powerful commitments of resources, expertise & offers of collaboration that had everyone in the room on their feet to feel the vibe.
Stand by for more news of the next edition of the Good Pitch India coming soon.
In our latest event on the road, the BFI Doc Society team polished up on our Cymraeg and went to meet the documentary community in Cardiff on Wednesday 6 March. In fact our host, BFI Doc Society’s Fund Exec Lisa Marie Russo noted that her Philly roots had a more solid connection when a group of Welsh speaking quaker settlers made their home in Pennsylvania in 1684.
With colleagues from Film Hub Wales and Ffilm Cymru we got the 360 on support for independent filmmaking in Wales and how creative storytelling is a big priority for factual commissioners from BBC Wales and S4C as well as homegrown initiatives like It’s Your Shout. We heard from local producer Catryn Ramasut on her ups and downs as a passionate indie producer and enjoyed insights into the creative heartbeat of award winning doc shorts (with Angela Clarke, director of Bachelor 38 and Alexander Lockwood, director of BAFTA winning 73 Cows).
In a wonderful session with our BFI Doc Society grantee Xavier Alford, we discussed his transition from directing hard hitting broadcast work in BBC series Drugsland to making his first, reflexive feature documentary, LOCKED IN. In a bustling buzz of one2one sessions, we were joined by decision makers from One World Media, BBC ideas, It’s Your Shout, producer Anthony Alleyne and more (many of whom also shared nuggets of wisdom through the day - thanks everyone!). We look forward to keeping the fires burning in the nations, with our next event to be announced in Northern Ireland.
Follow @TheDocSociety and this here newsletter for news on BFI fund announcements and where the team are at.
Still: How To Build A Library
NEW PERSPECTIVES GRANTEE ANNOUNCEMENT
We are delighted to announce the first cohort of grantees for the New Perspectives Seed Fund. With over 350 applications from 67 countries we were hugely humbled by the amazing stories that filmmakers are telling.
The six film teams of this inaugural program hail from China, South Korea, Kenya, India and the United States, each sharing a strong narrative vision in their story’s message of social justice. We look forward to working with them in the coming months.
How To Build A Library, co-directors Maia Lekow & Chris King
Two ambitious Kenyan women are on a mission to revitalize Nairobi’s decaying libraries. But before they can realise their dream, they must carefully navigate the politics of local government, and confront the problematic colonial history from which these libraries were built.
Untitled Korea Project, director Youjin Do
In South Korea, women live under constant fear of being unknowingly recorded in both private and public places. Footage is often distributed online under the label of “domestically-made porn” and seen as a genre and hence, a matter of taste in the Korean society.
Hidden Letters, director Violet Feng and Zhao Qing
Two young Chinese Millennials in rural and metropolitan China look toward the wisdom of an ancient secret woman-only script to navigate their lives in a world still dominated by men.
Chain of Rocks, director Damon Davis, producer Chris Renteria
Chain of Rocks is the first fully animated feature documentary of its kind. Through one filmmaker’s relationship with a man sentenced to death, we witness how truth is manipulated and sacrificed in the name of freedom. An up-close examination of justice, betrayal, redemption, and reconciliation within the context of race and capital punishment in American society.
Untitled Michael Premo Documentary, director Michael Premo
Untitled Michael Premo Documentary explores issues in contemporary America.
MOTHERS OF INVENTION
We have passed 250,0000 plays of Mothers of Invention and our latest episode just dropped. Listen to A FISH OUT OF HOT WATER >>here<<. Brought to you with tender loving care by a crack team in New York & London; Series Producer Thimali Kodikara, Audio Producer Anne Pope & Researcher Jaad Asante with outreach & social media by Aisha Younis, Shahmir Sanni & Lucy Wilson.
Co-hosting this 3rd episode of the new series is the brilliant Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a lifelong ocean conservationist who creates solutions with social justice in mind. Ayana, Mary & Maeve take a wade through the work our oceans have been doing while we’ve been sleeping. As sea levels rise and overfishing destroys our marine life, is this the inevitable truth, or are there still big solutions to come?
Listen & subscribe now on all popular audio streaming platforms and on our website and let us know what you think on @MothersInvent
In other news from podcast pals..
This week we are tuning into Seeking Peace, brought to you by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace & Security, a new podcast exploring stories of women & war hosted by Melanne Verver. On a recent episode, Former Irish President Mary Robinson talks about how climate change affects every aspect of global society, including the tendency towards conflict.
Check it out and follow their nexus of climate events across popular social media channels at @giwpsLOVE
We are in awe of this artwork, ‘Whale City’, lovingly produced by new mother and dedicated listener, Paula McDonald, from Kilkenny, Ireland - Show Paula’s amazing artwork some love on Instagram @paulamcdonald904
Still: On the President’s Orders
CPH:DOX chocolate box!
Proud shout out: James Jones and Olivier Sarbil’s film On the President’s Orders which was supported by the Bertha Doc Society Journalism Fund, will have its international premiere on the 25th of March at CPH:DOX.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnSjbfh22aM
More Doc Society supported projects screening at CPH this year are a clutch of gorgeous Good Pitch Alum Evelyn (dir. Orlando von Einsiedel), The Silence Of Others (dir. Robert Bahar, Almudena Carracedo), The Reformist (dir. Maria Skovgaard) Anthropocene (dir. Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky, Nicholas de Pencier) & Aquarella (dir. Viktor Kossakovsky)
As well as the mighty Bellingcat (supported by the Bertha Doc Society Journalism Fund)
Hungary 2018, dir. Eszter Hajdú (supported by the Bertha Doc Society Journalism Fund)
Midnight Traveller dir. Hassan Fazili (supported by the Threshold Fund)
Survivors dir. Banker White, Anna Fitch, Lansana Mansaray, Arthur Pratt (supported by the Bertha Doc Society Journalism Fund)
The Edge of Democracy dir. Petra Costa (supported by the Bertha Doc Society Journalism Fund)
The Trial of Ratko Mladic dir. Robert Miller, Henry Singer (supported by the Bertha Doc Society Journalism Fund)
Good luck to all of them and to the team at CPH:DOX for this year’s festival.
New Yorkers! Nancy Schwarztman’s Roll Red Roll (Bertha Doc Society Journalism Fund, Threshold) will have its opening weekend March 22-24 at the iconic and newly renovated Film Forum NYC and tickets are now on sale. Do check out!
And finally if you are headed down to the wonderful Full Frame Festival in Durham North Carolina, amongst a terrific line up they will be screening Doc Society supported Knock Down the House (dir. Rachel Lears), The Edge of Democracy (dir. Petra Costa) & Always in Season (dir. Jacqueline Olive).
DON'T BE LATE...
Call for submissions: IDFA 2019 - Deadlines: May 1 (for projects completed before April 30th) and August 1st (for projects completed after April 30th)
Our friends at IDFA are now accepting submissions for documentaries, interactive and immersive projects. The 2019 festival is the 32nd edition and takes place from Nov 20 - Dec 1st. Everything you need to know is here. Good luck!
SVA Documentary Film Summer Residency - Deadline: April 1
SVA’s Summer Residencies in New York City offer artists, designers and creative thinkers time, space and a supportive community in which to develop ideas and focus on their artistic direction. This includes an intensive Documentary Filmmaking session. Check it out here.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation & Guardian Pitch - Deadline: March 21
Have an idea on how to improve public understanding & shift attitudes towards poverty in the UK? The Joseph Rowntree Foundation & Guardian Pitch is returning to Sheffield Doc/Fest with up to £30K funding each for two filmmakers up for grabs. Apply here.
BBC Documentaries New Directors Initiative - Deadline: April 7
The BBC is looking for the next generation of documentary film makers. Six candidates will be given the opportunity to produce and direct their first long-form documentary for BBC Three. Apply here.
Doc/Fest Ireland - Deadline: April 19 (to apply for DocMarket)
Exciting things are brewing over in Belfast as a brand new documentary festival is emerging, led by the team at Belfast Film Festival (who have just announced their 19th festival programme). The industry-focussed All-Ireland Documentary Film Festival will take place in Belfast from Wednesday 12th June – Sunday 16th June this year. The Chair of the festival is chaired by Mark Cousins. Doc Fest Ireland will showcase only non-fiction film, presenting new Irish and international feature length and short documentaries as well as a chance to meet key decision makers at Doc Market on 14 June. For all the information and application links visit the Doc Fest Ireland website.
Doc NYC - Deadline: March 22
Submissions are now open for DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival! Our 10th-anniversary edition of DOC NYC will take place November 7-14, 2019. Submit here.
Berwick Film & Media Festival Submissions are open - Deadline: April 5
Up in beautiful Berwick, submissions are open for Artists and Filmmakers to send single screen film, video and moving image work. Apply here.
One World Media Fellowship - Deadline: April 10
One World Media's Fellowship offers a £1000 grant, plus mentorship opportunities to filmmakers and journalists reporting from development countries worldwide. Apply here.
Aesthetica Film Festival - Deadline: May 31
Another fantastic festival celebrating innovation and excellence in filmmaking; the team at ASFF are looking for emerging and established practitioners who are pushing the boundaries of filmmaking forward, to showcase their talent and innovative work to wider audiences at the 2019 event. The festival takes place in venue across York between 6-10 November 2019. Filmmakers can submit their Short Films, Feature Films or VR & 360 works for consideration HERE.
IMZ Academy Session 2019: “The Art of Making Music Documentaries”: 10 April 2019
In Sofia, the IMZ International Music + Media Centre and the Master of Art Film Festival are presenting an event with the French director Bruno Monsaingeon and the British director John Bridcut, two of the most acclaimed music documentary filmmakers in the world (In a conversation with IMZ Academy Director Peter Maniura, himself a distinguished documentary director). Check it out here.
Finally, The Women In Film 2019 Film Finishing Fund submissions will open March 25, 2019. Get ahead of the curve right here.
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