Hello friends,

Confederate statues are in the process of coming down across the US. Some quietly, some to applause, sometime overnight like in Baltimore and some in tragic circumstances like Charlottesville. But this is not just an American story. Spain is removing General Franco’s street names, the statue of colonialist Cecil Rhodes was recently taken down from Cape Town University in the “Rhodes Must Fall” campaign but survived high above Oriel College in Oxford after patrons threatened to pull funding if he did fall. [For more information on Cecil Rhodes please refer to Tabitha Jackson’s excellent and oft overlooked Military History of the Boer War :)]

And this is not a new phenomena. In Ancient Rome, statues of Caligula’s family were taken down after he was assassinated. After the fall of communism, Hungary joyfully carted away Soviet era monuments (see image up above) and put them all in Memento Park. These past weeks also saw the 70th anniversary of Indian independence, when figures of Viceroys were toppled in favour of Mahatma Gandhi. By 2015 Gandhi also had his statue outside the UK Houses of Parliament in Westminster, near to Nelson Mandela who went up in 2007.

Statues are alive. Just as our cities, our languages and our cultures will always be dynamic and fluid, so too our stone symbols. Statues will transition as we reassess yesterday's leaders and celebrate our new heroes. To that end we asked filmmakers whose statue they would most like to see:

“With recent events, the first person that comes to mind is the late, great Dick Gregory. A brilliant comedian and lifelong civil rights activist. He worked with and was close to Malcolm X, MLK, and James Baldwin. And he is funny with things that are otherwise very hard to hear. He was honest, always, even if it was unpopular. And he is from St. Louis, nuff said’ - Damon Davis, co-director of Whose Streets

I second that. I also think that Dr. Maya Angelou, another St. Louis Native, deserves a monument” - Sabaah Folayan, co-director of Whose Streets

“Instinctively I would suggest a statue for Along Sega - the Nomadic Penan leader who fought peacefully against the logging companies in Sarawak Borneo. He was a leader of great wisdom who understood the forces he stood up against, and believed each generation must take up the cause that lies closest to their heart - as a duty of all human beings” - Dylan Williams, director of Borneo Case

I not very much of a fan of statues, but as Rosa Parks already got one in DC, why not give Recy Taylor one in Alabama?” - Joakim Well, director of Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas

Read on whilst listening to our stone cold classics playlist!

Featuring tracks like:

Erase/Replace /// Foo Fighters
Monument /// Royksopp + Robyn
Pedestal /// Portishead
I Ain’t Gonna Stand For It /// Stevie Wonder
Karma Police /// Radiohead
Take It Back /// Pink Floyd
Irreplaceable /// Beyonce
Lost Kingdoms /// Nubya Garcia
Love Wars /// Womack + Womack
Melt My Heart to Stone /// Adele




Mark your calendars! We have updated the date for Good Pitch Local North Carolina to October 17th. Teaming up with our host Southern Documentary Fund (spearheaded by our brilliant former Outreach Director Naomi Walker) and to our longtime collaborators Working Films, we will bring together the best North Carolina-based funders, journalists, lawyers, local organisers, policy makers and officials, media and local businesses to shape innovative media that can galvanize their communities.

Special thanks to our supporters: Ford Foundation and Sundance, Wyncote Foundation, Bertha Foundation, The Fledgling Fund, Hartley Film Foundation, CrossCurrents Foundation, and Impact Partners. If you are based in North Carolina and are interested in participating in Good Pitch Local we want to hear from you! Please contact us at alba@britdoc.org


Filmmakers interested in journalism and journalists interested in filmmaking should flock to join Doc Society At Double Exposure in Washington DC October 19th-22nd.

Now in its third year, Double Exposure (DX) showcases the best new films inspired by the investigative instinct paired with a concurrent symposium for journalists and filmmakers to connect with each other and with the producers, editors, funders, and experts who can advance their work. Highlights this year include: a series of skill building workshops, including “Safe and Secure” in partnership with Doc Society, DX Pro Bono Legal Clinic for investigative storytellers, and DX Access, an initiative that provides unparalleled face time with the heads of the most respected and innovative organizations in film and journalism. Closing conversations will feature Ryan White, director of the Emmy nominated Netflix serial The Keepers, and a case study around celebrated documentary Icarus.

Passes are now available for DX in Washington DC, October 19-22. Early bird passes are on sale until 9/7. And Doc Society friends receive 15% off passes using the code DX17DS. Find out more.


Many of our films have tangled or at least tangoed with the censors in recent years. None more dramatically than No Fire Zone, which Lena Hendry has been taken to court by the Malaysian government for screening. In Turkey, China, Kenya and elsewhere the rules are being tightened but some good news from India and the Insignificant Man team.

After six long months, the documentary was passed by the Film Certification Tribunal without any cuts or the muting of any names, and without requiring a no objection certificate from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi or any of the political figures depicted.

“It feels almost unbelievable but we have managed to win our fight against the Indian censor board's draconian orders on our film. We don't have to follow any of their outrageous demands and we can now legally screen the film anywhere in India, on our own terms. Nobody can stop us.” (Khushboo Ranka, director)


Whose Streets? is making its first run of US theatrical screenings. Great to see five star reviews for this ‘searing’, ‘riveting, urgent’ film. In theatres across the US - more information to be found here: http://www.whosestreetsfilm.com/

Good Pitch Kenya alum Thank You For The Rain is as we speak making its own tour across Kenya, reaching communities directly as it spearheads a local sustainability impact campaign to educate and shift Kenyan farmers around the realest manifestations of climate change. The film is also screening now across Norway, in Hamar, Røros, Arendal, Oslo, hill, Porsgrunn, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger & Halden. More info here. It is available for to screen for free in Norway until the election in September. Find out how, here

Borneo Case, a true light of a film that refuses to be extinguished, is part of the upcoming Global Bersih Screening planned for Malaysia Day September 16th. More than twenty-five cities in USA, Canada UK, Australia, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Germany, France and Korea have so far confirmed their participation. Global Bersih has more details of the screenings coming up here.

Quest is heading home to North Philly! Join the film team this Saturday, Aug 26the at Church of the Advocate for a Matinee Screening and Community Workshops inspired by the film! The actual Rainey family, the filmmakers and more will be there. And there's food! And it's free & open to the public! RSVP here and enjoy.

Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas (directed by Joakim Demmer) is one of 15 films shortlisted by the European Film Academy for the Best Documentary 2017 award. Congrats and good luck!

Brilliant news for Camden too - Jonathan Olshefski's Quest, Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis' Whose Streets, Violeta Ayala’s Cocaine Prison and Daniel McCabe’s This is Congo are among the more than 70 feature-length and short films to be screened at the 13th annual Camden International Film Festival (CIFF).


Many of the Doc Society team were lucky enough to work with Prash Naik at Channel 4 and we are over the moon to be reunited in the defence of brave and bold independent storytellers. Prash is the outgoing General Counsel at Channel 4, where over 23 years he built an impressive reputation for defending free speech, making every storm seem like it was only in a tea cup and sporting an array of very well chosen cashmere sweaters. Congrats to him for winning In-House Lawyer of the Year at the prestigious Lawyer Awards earlier this year. Prash is relocating to Sydney Australia in October but will continue to advise film-makers across both sides of the world. We beat a very fast path to his door, and are delighted to have secured a slice of his time to be our General Counsel and advise us on our film slate and also our new Safe and Secure project, aimed at lowering the legal, physical, psychological and reputational risks taken by independent filmmakers. He will join us in early September.



Doc Society is hiring: Grants Manager based in our central London office

We are looking for a calm and organised team player to take responsibility for the smooth running of a suite of essential internal processes. The Grants Manager needs to personally ensure that our grants (both those we receive and those we make) are properly handled from application to reporting but also take responsibility for the co-ordination between related functions - finance, fundraising and production. In addition the Grants Manager will use their coordination skills to take on Company Secretarial work, liaising with legal counsel, accountant and trustees.
For full details please see https://jobs.theguardian.com/job/6572317/grants-ma...

Deadline for applications: Friday 8th September 2017


From Berlin to New York, Chicago to Miami, Stockholm to Copenhagen - Steph Little has smashed it worldwide as our Head of Production. After five years steadily steering the good ship Good Pitch and leaving so many grateful filmmakers and change-makers in her wake, Steph is on to pastures new and is leaving Doc Society this month. Excited to follow your next endeavours Steph - much gratitude, and bonne chance!

'til next month x

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