Overnight, the 11th annual Beijing Independent Film Festival in the capital city of China was banned. It ended before it ever began. We follow the rapid sequence of events from the cutting off of the building’s water and electricity supply to the seizure of all festival property. What exactly threatens the organisers of cultural events in a country where artistic liberty is considered a crime? Will they succumb or will the screenings still take place? A look behind the scenes of the festival organisation and the steps taken after it was cancelled is tensely recorded using authentic footage, mainly from the mobile phones of the organisers, film makers, activists and passers-by.
Truth and Power 1: Control Room and Other Stories
Speaking truth to power has never been more vital, nor as fraught as it is in the post-Trump world. This year at Document, we consider a battle being fought on two fronts. Governments and non-state actors are increasingly bold in undermining previously sacrosanct ideals of freedom of speech and individual privacy. Meanwhile, news organisations that challenge the status quo or displease powerful entities are being marginalised, undermined and even destroyed. In this first of two connected strands, we consider how governments across the world block information and invade privacy to undermine democracy, while what used to be called propaganda, what used to be called spin, is being spun and propagated with increasing audacity. We pay particular attention to the case of the Beijing Independent Film Festival, screening in solidarity films originally programmed for the banned 11th edition.