The best recent UK documentaries.
Senna and Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: James Bluemel)
An elderly man looks after a bereaved epileptic man; both are alcoholics and the former is sexually demanding with the latter. This is a portrait of their lives.
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Afarin Eghbal)
An elderly woman talks about the disappearance of her pregnant daughter under military rule in Argentina.
(Country: Tanzania; Year: 2010; Director: Marc Hoeferlin, Juan Reina, Barnaby Broomfield)
The world's first albino football teams aims to challenge prejudice and stop the killings of albino people for their body parts, which are valued in ritual medicine.
(Country: UK; Year: 2010; Director: Roberta Fortuna)
The filmmaker explores her father's roots in Sicily.
Jimmy and A Man's Story
Big Fat Gypsy Weddings: No Place Like Home
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Daniel Fromm)
An introduction to the glamour and drama of Gypsy weddings and other ceremonies.
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Dominic Allan; Stars: Jean Marc Calvet), Official Site
The artist discusses his violent and abusive past and his quest for redemption.
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Anna Edwards)
A musical documentary about Camden Calling: a collective of homeless, ex-homeless and vulnerable people from across London who have come together to turn their lives around. Produced in partnership with BBC Storyville and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
The Camera That Changed The World
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Mandy Chang)
The revolutionary development of lightweight cameras and how they captured the assassination of John F Kennedy.
The Car's Got To Go
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Barney Snow)
Brian Pearson repossesses cars for a living, trying to eke out an existence by doing other people’s dirty work. Every day he calls on people for whom the loss of a car can be the beginning of a slippery slope into debt and poverty -- one that Brian knows all too well.
Abuelas and Knuckle
A Certain Band Called Queen
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Matt O'Casey)
In 1971, four university students got together to form a band. Forty years later, that certain band called Queen have released 26 albums and sold over 300 million records worldwide. With their records still telling their hotcakes, the popularity of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon here tell their story for the first time. Guiding us through an extensive archive full of unseen footage, they reveal how four strong minded individuals, all capable of writing massive hit songs, worked together so successfully for decades. Their story is a remarkable one, a narrative that covers early struggles, huge obstacles, success, arguments, breakups, triumph, tragedy and an enduring legacy – all against a backdrop of brilliant music and stunning live performances from every corner of the globe. Queen never did anything by half –their highs were massive, but their lows catastrophic. It is a compelling story told with intelligence, wit, plenty of humour and painful honesty.
Despicable Dick and Righteous Richard
(Year: 2011; Director: Joshua Neale)
Recovering alcoholic tries to make amends with those he's wronged.
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Josh Bamford, Seb Feehan, Hannah Bone)
Meet Mr Ralph Settle, CMBHI. Known as Mr. Banjo, he’s been a champion roller skater, cyclist and swimmer in his time. Now 88 and a widower, he spends his days playing music and looking back at a life fully lived.
(Country: UK; Year: 2010; Director: Gualtiero Fisauli)
When he was 14, one of Charlie Wilson’s mates picked up a guitar. His rendition of That’ll Be the Day made Charlie’s hair stand on end, making him vow to learn the guitar. Now the lead singer of the Brick Lane Boogie Boys, he plans to continue playing until he drops…
My Brother The Islamist and All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace
The Great White Silence
(Country: UK; Year: 1924; Director: Herbert Ponting)
The official record of Captain Scott's legendary expedition to the South Pole restored by the BFI.
Hell And Back Again
(Country: US, UK; Year: 2011; Director: Danfung Dennis), Official Site
A documentary examining one soldier's experiences after he is taken out of action by a serious injury.
Holiday of Hope
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Jez Lewis)
(Country: UK; Year: 2010; Director: Mariana Oliva)
Mo is a loveable little robot, who can recognise your face, answer your questions and satisfy your desire for a good kick around...as the numbers of service robots explodes globally, at the University of Edinburgh’s Department of Informatics they’re hoping to perfect the robotic footballer.
Jarvis Cocker's Musical Map of Sheffield
(Country: UK; Year: 2008; Director: N/A N/A)
If you are in here at Doc/Fest with no knowledge of Sheffield, be sure to take time out for Jarvis Cocker’s intimate audio tour of his hometown. He takes us through the Sheffield of his childhood – and an embarrassing lederhosen episode – as well as the huge changes to the city in the past two decades. He also introduces the music of Sheffield stars, including Joe Cocker, Cabaret Voltaire, The Human League and Artery.
Project Nim and Calvet
(Country: UK; Year: 2010; Director: Sue Bourne)
A spectacular chance to take a ringside seat at the 40th Irish Dancing World Championships in Glasgow.
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Martin Smith; Stars: Jimmy MacIntosh)
A documentary about a disability rights campaigner who suffers from cerebral palsy.
(Country: Ireland, UK; Year: 2011; Director: Ian Palmer; Stars: James Quinn McDonagh, Michael Quinn McDonagh, Joe Joyce, Michael Joyce, Ditsy Nevin, Curly Paddy), Official Site
An 12-year journey into the brutal and secretive world of Irish Traveler bare-knuckle fighting.
A Man's Story
(Country: UK; Year: 2010; Director: Varon Bonicos; Stars: Ozwald Boateng)
A look at the meteoric rise to fame of fashion designer Ozwald Boateng.
Match 64 - The Final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Daniel Gordon)
Johannesburg, South Africa: July 2010. Holland and Spain are competing for the most coveted title in the world of football: winner of the FIFA World Cup. Neither country has ever won before, and worldwide speculation as to the outcome is at fever pitch. At the same time, all eyes are on South Africa, the first African nation to host the prestigious event. Sheffield native and Doc/Fest regular Daniel Gordon (The Game of Their Lives) takes us behind the scenes of Match 64, following the preparations in the run up to the match, and throughout the nail-biting final. We hear from a range of people who contributed to the big event – from local organisers to FIFA officials, from born and bred Sowetans to VIPs flown in for the occasion. A rare opportunity to observe everything that goes into the turning of the beautiful game into the world’s most watched sporting event.
The Nine Muses and Hell And Back Again
Messenger of the Great River
(Country: Mali; Year: 2011; Director: Noble Fox)
This is a story of one of Mali’s musical sons, Afel Bocoum, who has a special connection with the Niger River. Afel believes his ancestors dwell within the river, which is Mali’s lifeline and backbone. But now it is dying, threatening all. Come with us on a poetic and musical journey to save it.
My Brother The Islamist
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Robb Leech), Official Site
A filmmaker watches as his brother embraces militant Islam and begins to encourage young recruits to become involved in a violent jihad.
The Nine Muses
(Country: UK; Year: 2010; Director: John Akomfrah; Writer: John Akomfrah; Stars: Trevor Mathison, David Lawson)
A poetic exploration of mass immigration in postwar Britain.
On A Cold Friday In November
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Henry Singer)
A visit to Wooton Basset to meet the ordinary people who have spent years welcoming home Britain's war dead.
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: May Abdalla)
Flying Monsters 3D With David Attenborough and Despicable Dick and Righteous Richard
Outside The Court
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Marc Isaacs)
A filmmakers spends four years interviewing people as they go in and out of court, letting their stories tell the larger story of Britain's justice system.
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: James Marsh; Stars: Nim), Official Site
The turbulent life of a chimpanzee whom scientists tried to teach sign language.
(Year: 2011; Director: Asif Kapadia; Writer: Manish Pandey; Stars: Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Frank Williams, Ron Dennis, Viviane Senna, Milton da Silva, Neide Senna, Jackie Stewart, Sid Watkins, Galvão Bueno, Reginaldo Leme, Gerhard Berger, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Jean-Marie Balestre), Official Site
Documentary about the three-times world champion Formula One driver.
Seven Dwarves (7 Dwarves)
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Richard Curson-Smith)
Seven little people set aside their day jobs at Christmas to perform in a pantomime. This documentary explores their experiences and the prejudice they face.
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: )
Every year Straight 8 invite anyone, anywhere in the world to make a film on a single cartridge of Kodak Super 8 film. There’s no editing or retakes - everything has to be created in camera, shot by shot, on one roll of film. The films are returned to Straight 8 unprocessed and unseen, and a soundtrack is uploaded separately. Selected filmmakers don't see the finished film until they're screened to packed-out film festival audiences. This year Straight 8 premieres their best documentary entries from over a dozen countries at Doc/Fest. With over 150 entries to choose from, we’re expecting a mind-blowing selection! Join the nervous directors as they watch their films for the first time ever
Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Charlie Russell; Stars: Terry Pratchett)
The much loved author, facing a severe form of Alzheimer's disease, considers the options for assisted suicide.
Ulrike and Eamon Compliant
(Country: UK; Year: 2009; Director: Blast Theory)
Step inside the mind of a terrorist. Ulrike and Eamon Compliant is a solo walk where you receive and make phone calls. Combining documentary elements with interactive narrative, it is based on the lives of Ulrike Meinhof (Red Army Faction) and Eamon Collins (Irish Republican Army).
Up In Smoke
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Adam Wakeling)
A Cornish scientist tries to persuade third world farmers to use new methods to reinvigorate their land instead of slashing and burning vital forests.
We Are Poets
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Alex Ramseyer-Bache, Daniel Lucchesi)
Leeds Young Authors deliver their angry, political poetry at an prestigious American competition.
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Cosima Spender)
The filmmaker explores the impact on her family of Abstract Expressionist painter Arshile Gorky, who committed suicide.
You've Been Trumped
(Country: UK; Year: 2011; Director: Anthony Baxter; Stars: Donald Trump, Anthony Baxter)
A look at local people's attempts to stop US businessman Donald Trump from building a golf course across their homes and a nature reserve.