Monday 7 January, 2019

As we emerge from our ‘Best docs of 2018’ strand which ran from Boxing Day all the way into 2019, a couple of films from last year are still so popular, we’ve brought them into this one: The Oscar shortlisted Free Solo and Three Identical Strangers – so if you didn’t catch them in December, there's still time.

Opening this Friday is RBG, a portrait of the formidable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, AKA the Notorious RBG. Nominated as 107th justice to the United States Supreme Court, 84-year-old Ginsburg has devoted her life to being a radical groundbreaker, fighting for equal rights for all in another Oscar shortlisted doc. From Saturday we’ll be having a few screenings of California Typewriter, an affectionate exploration of the beloved analogue machine and its fans – including avid collector Tom Hanks.

On Wednesday 9th January we have a Q&A with the director of Voices of the Sea, a film that observes a family in Cuba, and the conflicting desires of the parents to remain or escape to America – while the ‘dry foot, wet foot’ policy still exists. The film will then have a run from Friday 11th January.

On Friday 11th we also have a Q&A screening of Island of the Hungry Ghosts, a powerful film about refugees and immigrants who are detained on Christmas Island. The film observes counsellor Poh Lin as she works with traumatised asylum seekers, and her life with her own family. Poetic and beautiful, the narrative also follows the migration of the island’s land crabs to the sea. Director Gabrielle Brady and counsellor Poh Lin Lee will join us for the Q&A.

We have 3 Q&As in one week in the middle of January – a preview screening of the Oscar shortlisted On Her Shoulders on Wednesday 16th with a director Q&A. The film is an intimate insight into the life of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Nadia Murad as she prepares to present her case at the UN public hearing. The film will then begin it’s run on the release date 25th January.

On Thursday 17th we have a one-off preview screening of The Trial of Ratko Mladic, which follows Mladic’s trial at the Hague for crimes against humanity and genocide. Defence and prosecution prepare for court, as courageous witnesses deliver their statements. After its screening with us, the film will go on to screen at the Human Rights Watch film festival.

A Q&A screening of Hale County This Morning, This Evening on Friday 18th January with director RaMell Ross kicks off its run at Bertha DocHouse. Shortlisted for an Oscar nomination, Hale County This Morning This Evening has been a festival favourite since its premiere at Sundance last year. Weaving imagery of life with the surrounding environment, director RaMell Ross creates spectacular visions, that capture those in-between moments and the passage of time. His lyrical observation of life in Hale County on the Black Belt region of Alabama is like the best of what Terence Malick does, but real.

Also opening its run on Friday 18th January we have The Raft, a brilliant stranger-than-fiction doc about one man’s outrageous experiment conducted back in 1973. After surviving a terrorist-hijacked plane, anthropologist Santiago Genoves dreamt up an experiment he hoped would provide answers to the origins of human violence, and bring world peace; putting a dozen strangers on a tiny raft at sea and waiting for conflict to erupt. As well as archive footage from the experiment, the film brings the survivors back together to reflect on their experiences.

Our last film of January will be Camorra, which is an astonishing and absorbing insight into the rise of the Camorra AKA the Neapolitan mafia – a complex network of organised crime – as told by those involved, through a patchwork of incredible archive footage.

Bertha DocHouse Assistant Programmer Sophie Brown