Author: Lewis Camley

Premieres, Parties and Powerful Films: Announcing the Document 2019 Programme

Document Human Rights Film Festival is back! Returning to the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Glasgow for it’s 17th annual edition from Thursday 24 to Sunday 27 October, this year’s Festival brings discussions, workshops and parties on top of an eclectic programme of feature length and short documentary films from around the globe to Glasgow, including 6 Scottish, 2 UK and 2 European premieres.

Document opens with an exclusive Scottish performance of poet, filmmaker and 2017 Ted Hughes award winner Jay Bernard’s Surge, which blends poetry and archive film to trace a line from a New Cross fire in 1981 which claimed 13 black lives, through Thatcherism and the National Front to Grenfell and Theresa May. The Festival presents films exploring collective action and community, the rights and struggles of indigenous people, the state of Europe as seen from the margins, and responses to our environmental crisis, before finishing on Sunday 27 October with the European premiere of Nguyen Trinh Thi’s Fifth Cinema. This profound film essay leads viewers through narratives of colonialism and indigeneity, asking where the limitations of cinematic representation lie.

Other major events include a screening of dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s latest film The Rest; music documentary Lisbon Beat followed by a club night at Stereo celebrating the city’s thriving Afro-Portugese music scene, with sets from the film’s director, DJ Rita Maia, and Príncipe Disco artist DJ Firmeza; two screening and discussion events looking at the work of artist and filmmaker Ana Vaz, including her debut feature film The Voyage Out; the first UK screening of a digitally restored classic of Latin American political documentary cinema, Marta Rodriguez and Jorge Silva’s Our Voice of Earth, Memory and Future; and the European premiere of powerful Chilean film Haydee and the Flying Fish, followed by a discussion on the depiction of trauma in film.

While Britain remains consumed by its political relationship with Europe, Document takes a closer look at what life is like on the continent for those living on its fringes. Ai Weiwei’s The Rest tells the stories of refugees arriving on European shores only to discover that the liberal ideals they came for are receding, leaving them in a humanitarian limbo as press and political attention rolls on. The rights and lives of migrant sex workers are explored in Lovemobil by Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss. Who is Europe? by filmmaker Ian McDonald presents the continent in split-screen, revealing cultural contrasts and posing questions around who ‘belongs’ and how the past affects the present, and will be followed by a conversation with McDonald on the topics explored. Document collaborates with The Unity Centre and political arts organisation Arika to present Lisbon Beat, a dazzling portrait of the city and its thriving Afro-Portugese music scene made by Vasco Viana and Lisbon-born, London-based DJ Rita Maia, who also performs live at a special club night in Stereo alongside DJ Firmeza.

With 2019 designated the international Year of Indigenous Languages, Document upends the myth that indigenous people are resistant to modernity or victims of change through films showing their centrality to cinematic history while exploring environmental justice and ideas of spiritual repair. The series takes its name from Colombian filmmaker Marta Rodriguez’s 1981 documentary, Our Voice of Earth, Memory and Future, a film exposing the historic repression of indigenous Colombian farmers and their long fight against it. The newly digitally restored feature is shown for the first time in the UK at Document 2019. The strand also features Scottish premieres of Susana de Sousa Dias’ Fordlandia Malaise – a vision of Henry Ford’s failed neocolonialist endeavour to build a factory town in the Amazon which remains in ruins in the threatened rainforest today – and Camila Freitas’s Chão, which depicts landless workers in Brazil fighting for land reform, a battle made all the more important as President Jair Bolsonaro declares the landless ‘enemies of the nation’.

The importance of communities and collective action is further explored in a strand which features Lucy Parker’s collaboratively made exploration of blacklisting in the UK construction industry, Solidarity, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker about how communities can work together to fight employment injustice. Long-time collaborators Glasgow Short Film Festival return with a programme of short films showing performative expressions of communities’ stories, including American artist and filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson’s Black Bus Stop. Shengze Zhu’s Present.Perfect. explores less understood means of modern human connection through the live-streamed footage of Chinese vloggers, while Kavich Neang’s feature debut Last Night I Saw You Smiling is a quiet observation of an historic artistic community in Phnom Penh’s iconic White Building preparing to depart forever in the face of eviction – both films have their Scottish premieres at Document 2019.

The need to discuss and represent the overwhelming threat of climate disaster is felt in a series of films concerned as much with renewal and reconnection as with collapse. Mothers of the Land by Alvaro and Diego Sarmiento follows a group of female farmers battling climate breakdown in the Peruvian Andes, and is accompanied by a Mass Seed Deposit with Glasgow Seed Library. The straining connection between the human and the non-human world is delicately revealed in Honeyland from Tamara Kotevska and Ljubo Stefanov, which follows the last in a long line of Macedonian wild beekeepers. Carlos Casas’ cine-poem Cemetery blurs the boundaries of experimental cinema and nature documentary in its portrait of an elephant on the final journey of its life.

The annual Critical Forum session returns, this year focused on collaborative research, creative practice, and where the two overlap when making or curating human rights films, with an exclusive look at the Freedom to Run project. Kate Parker of City Projects leads Lux Scotland’s Superlux Seminar, which explores the ways artists and filmmakers car critically respond to their social or political environment.

Tickets for all films and events are available now online at and, as well as by phoning CCA on 0141 352 4900 or visiting the CCA Box Office at 350 Sauchiehall Street, G2 3JD. All tickets are either free or priced on a Pay What You Can basis from £0 to £8 (in £2 increments). Tickets for the Lisbon Beat After Party at Stereo are £8 (£5 concessions). CCA Glasgow is a fully accessible venue with full details available at

Partners in this year’s Festival include Lux Scotland; Glasgow Short Film Festival; Scottish Documentary Institute; GRAMNet; Oxfam; Femspectives; Arika; The Unity Centre; The Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow; Goethe-Institut Glasgow; IberoDocs; Aperture: Asia and Pacific Film Festival; ; Glasgow Seed Library; Research Collaborative Award, College of Arts, University of Glasgow.

Document is produced by Alexandra Colta, Sanne Jehoul, Sam Kenyon and Richard Warden. The Festival is supported by Creative Scotland and Screen Scotland through the Film Festivals Fund, Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network, and CCA Glasgow.


Posted: 6 October 2019

Document 2018 Programme Announced

We’re delighted to announce full programme details for Document Film Festival 2018, which runs from Friday 30 November to Sunday 2 December. Relocated to the Scottish Youth Theatre for our 16th edition, this year we bring discussions and workshops as well as 40 feature length and short documentary films from around the globe to Glasgow, including 11 Scottish premieres and some of the world’s most exciting prize-winning films.

Through innovative contemporary titles and historical gems this year’s Festival explores the potential of archives and archive film, asking what they can tell us about collective memory and the role of filmmaking in the preservation of culture. From the radical women who transgressed tradition to pioneer a New Arab Cinema, to the Tokyo workers who waged war on the Yakuza, hear previously unheard voices from history that help make sense of the contemporary world, and imagine new futures for it. We also takes a close look at the poetic and political potential of landscapes, and showcase films in which people must rebel against the traumas of their present moment.

Major events include a screening and lecture celebrating the recently passed Egyptian filmmaking icon and ‘mother of documentary’ Ateyyat El Abnoudy; a series of films recovered from and about the lost Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) Film Unit archive contextualised by scholar, researcher and writer Anandi Ramamurthy, one of several events supported by Film Hub Scotland’s Pilot Projects programme; and the Scottish premieres of Silence is a Falling Body, a revealing portrait of the filmmaker’s father constructed from over 100 hours of footage recorded before his death, presented in partnership with Scottish Queer International Film Festival, and Luz Obscura, a deeply-felt film essay on Portugal’s decades-long right wing dictatorship from director Susana de Sousa Dias, who will attend the Festival.

We’re thrilled to welcome filmmaker and artist Louis Henderson to deliver this year’s Superlux Masterclass in conjunction with Lux Scotland, focusing on recent collaborative work Ouvertures, which seeks to find an anti-colonial method of filmmaking. Other confirmed guests include Steven Eastwood, director of Island, a lyrical look at death on the Isle of Wight, and Sara Fattahi, director of Chaos, a devastating meditation on the war in Syria as experienced by three women living in exile which won the Pardo d’Oro Cineasti del presente at Locarno Film Festival this year and has its Scottish premiere at Document. Fattahi, winner also of the FIPRESCI Award at the 2015 Viennale, will lead a free Director’s Masterclass in conjunction with the Scottish Documentary Institute on Saturday 1 December.

We host films from around the world, including Scottish Premieres of Orione and Silence is a Falling Body (Argentina), Babylonia Mon Amour (Italy), Revenir (Australia / Ivory Coast), Meteors (Netherlands/Turkey), Black Mother (USA), and experimental American filmmaker Ben Russell’s Good Luck (France, Germany), which explores the differences and similarities of two groups of men working in the mining trade in vastly different conditions in Serbia and Suriname, shot on Super 16mm film.

Other highlights include a rare chance to see Yama – Attack to Attack, filmed on the frontlines of a war between unionised workers and the corruption of the Yakuza in 1980s Tokyo – a struggle which cost both filmmakers their lives; a back-to-back screening of A.K.A Serial Killer, Adachi Masao’s anti-sensationalist true crime masterpiece and The Anabasis of May…, Eric Baudelaire’s repurposing of Masao’s fukeiron film philosophy; a closing night screening of The Sun Quartet, a psychedelic protest poem made by an anonymous Mexican collective addressing the disappearance of 43 students in Igualo, Guerrero in 2014; the launch of a new publication of Palestinian feminist perspectives in collaboration with Dardishi Festival; and a Critical Forum panel discussion on Bernadett Tuza-Ritter’s shocking modern-day slavery documentary A Woman Captured immediately following a screening of the film.

Festival Programme Producer Sam Kenyon said: “A central theme of this year’s edition is the histories, afterlives and generative potential of archives – looking at what they can tell us about how we understand our individual and collective histories, particularly in relation to some of the seismic political events of the twentieth century. The festival is a place where we can tease out lots of interesting questions around these subjects. We hope that audiences will come and see some wonderful films, participate in workshops, masterclasses and panel discussions, and have lots of engaging conversations.”

Sean Greenhorn, Screen Officer at Screen Scotland said: “Glasgow’s Document Human Rights Film Festival offers audiences in Scotland access to stories from around the world, by Scottish and International film makers, exploring human rights issues and activism on a local and global scale. The festival’s consistently diverse and accessible screening and events programme brings together high-quality filmmaking, with expert speakers, and people who are taking action and bringing about change. Screen Scotland is proud to support the Festival and we congratulate the team on another impressive programme.”

Tickets for all films and events are available now at on our website and will be available to purchase on Festival days (30 Nov – 2 Dec) from the box office at the Scottish Youth Theatre (The Old Sheriff Court, 105 Brunswick Street, G1 1TF). Tickets for all events are either free or priced on a Pay What You Can basis from £0 to £8 (in £2 increments).

Document will call the Scottish Youth Theatre it’s home for the 2018 Festival, a move brought on by the lengthy closure of regular venue, CCA Glasgow. The Scottish Youth Theatre is a fully accessible venue in the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City area. Partners in this year’s Festival include Creative Interruptions; Dardishi; Lux Scotland; Goethe-Institut Glasgow; SQIFF; Glasgow Short Film Festival; Scottish Documentary Institute; GRAMNet; The ALLIANCE; Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief; Health and Social Care Academy; Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care; Africa in Motion Film Festival; The Glasgow Human Rights Network; Femspectives; and Plantation Productions. The Brunswick Hotel is Document’s Official Accommodation Partner for this year’s edition.

Document is produced by Sam Kenyon, Sanne Jehoul and Richard Warden. The Festival is supported by Creative Scotland and Screen Scotland through the Film Festivals Fund, Film Hub Scotland (this support is made possible through funding from Creative Scotland and Lottery funding from the BFI) through the Pilot Project programme, and the BFI’s Uprising: Spirit of ‘68 programme.


Posted: 8 November 2018

Freelance Writing Opportunities

Document and Dardishi are co-editing a publication to be launched at Document Festival 2018, and we are looking for womxn* writers of Palestinian descent/ the diaspora to contribute their work.

Freelance Writing Opportunities
Application Deadline: 5pm, Monday 22nd October 2018.
Fee: £50

The publication will tie in with a series of Palestinian short films which will be screened at Document 2018. We invite submissions from Palestinian womxn that reflect on the idea of a Palestinian archive, particularly from a feminist point of view. We welcome a wide variety of approaches that explore what an archive might be, what forms it might take, and how it might relate to the preservation of histories, cultures and identities that exist under conditions of exile and occupation. This could range from intimate reflections around personal narratives or family histories, to wider critiques of collective memory and historical erasure. We are open to including poetry, prose, illustration and photography, and the publication will form part of a strand of films with a focus on Arab women filmmakers and their approach to representation of Arab life on screen.

In order to apply, please send a copy of your CV and 200 words detailing your submission to If relevant, writing samples and images will also be assessed alongside your application. For examples of work published by Dardishi previously, see

*Our use of the term womxn includes non-binary and intersex people and transwomen.

About us

Document Human Rights Film Festival
30 November – 2 December 2018 at Scottish Youth Theatre, Glasgow

Document Festival is Scotland’s international human rights documentary film festival, established in 2003. It provides a unique platform that attracts Scottish, British and international documentary filmmakers and promotes local and international discussion, cultural exchange and education. By screening the best of recent and historical human rights documentaries, Document is a crucial space for the visibility and consideration of documentary film as an art form and social practice. Recognised at home and abroad, they work with many local, national and international organisations and are members of the Human Rights Film Network.

Over the last 15 years, Document has screened over 600 films, promoting an expansive understanding of human rights to include subjects such as immigration & asylum, women’s rights, war and conflict, self-determination, racism, LGBT rights, miscarriages of justice, eviction, poverty, social exclusion, workers/unemployed rights, mental health & social care, young and older people, human trafficking, indigenous cultures, environmental concerns, global policies and their local consequences, Roma gypsies and travellers, HIV/AIDS, drug trafficking and addiction and disability issues.


Dardishi Festival
8 – 10 March 2019 at CCA Glasgow

Dardishi Festival is a community-run artistically ambitious festival that celebrates and showcases Arab and North African womxn’s contributions to contemporary art and culture at CCA Glasgow. The Festival is born out of, an online publication run by Arab and North African womxn that exclusively platforms art, music and writing by Arab and North African womxn. Dardishi Festival 2019 will take place on March 8th, 9th and 10th 2019, which is International Women’s Day weekend and Dardishi’s 3 year anniversary. Programming for Dardishi Festival 2019 includes poetry, performances, film screenings, live music, creative writing workshops, zine-making and craftivism workshops, and panel discussions from cultural practitioners. Dardishi’s first print issue publication will also be launched on the opening night.

‘Dardishi’, the feminine verb for ‘chitchat’ in Arabic, is indicative of the tone and content of the work we produce – collaborative work that spurs a wider dialogue on Arab womxn’s issues. Through our Festival, we aim to strengthen creative collaboration between the womxn in our community, provide positive and diverse representation of Arab and North African womxn in the arts, and create opportunities that support and develop our professional and creative practices.

Change of Date and Venue for Document 2018

This year’s Festival date and venue have changed: Document Film Festival will now take place from Friday 30 November to Sunday 2 December at the Scottish Youth Theatre in Glasgow’s Merchant City.

We previously announced that the Festival would take place at the CCA in October as usual – however ongoing uncertainty about the venue’s reopening following the lengthy enforced closure caused by the Glasgow School of Art fire in June has made it impossible to proceed with that plan.

We’re delighted to have the support of the Scottish Youth Theatre, who will open their doors to us for a full weekend and allow the majority of our programme to go ahead as planned. It’s an open, friendly and inclusive arts venue in the city centre with impressive and adaptable facilities that will enable the festival to retain its scope and atmosphere. We’re also thankful to our friends at CCA for their support in the past few challenging months and look forward to working with them again in future, and to Creative Scotland and Screen Scotland for their patience and support as we sought a viable solution..

For our 16th edition, we’re hosting three days of film screenings, discussions, lectures and events on human rights issues from around the globe, and on documentary filmmaking as an artform and social practice. As well as striking contemporary features, this year’s festival has a particular focus on archives and archive film, including a strand dedicated to Palestinian identity and the radical women who pioneered New Arab Cinema, the politics and poetics of landscape on film, and a screening and masterclass with renowned artist filmmaker Louis Henderson.

The full programme will be announced in early November. We can’t wait for you to join us and help warm our new home for Document 2018.