What's on in October
October is set to be a big month in the Bertha DocHouse screen with films, events and festivals galore. The highlight will be rounding off the month by hosting Hot Docs London - a weekend festival bringing a very special line-up of films from this year's Hot Docs Canadian International Festival to London. More on that below, along with everything we have coming up between now and then.
On Friday 5 Oct, we welcome Afghan director Sahra Mani to London for a Q&A to launch our run of her urgent and inspiring film A Thousand Girls Like Me. Sahra follows a young woman's battle to bring her abusive father to trial, fighting a justice system that seems to favour the perpetrator over the victim in cases of sexual abuse.
Also opening Friday, Kusama - Infinity profiles Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. With an exhibition of new work opening at the Victoria Miro gallery this week, and her Narcissus Garden (1966) in the new Space Shifters group show at the Hayward Gallery, Kusama's rapturous work is never far from our minds (and social media feeds) at the moment, so it's the perfect time to find out about her life story.
Continuing our 'Sunday Sessions' strand of boundary-pushing delights, on Sunday 7 October there's a one-off screening of Female Human Animal - a hybrid 'docu-thriller' set in the real-life art world that plays in the chilling margins of drama and reality. Director Josh Appignanesi will be with us for a Q&A afterwards, joined by his co-devisor, the acclaimed writer Chloe Aridjis.
Gun No. 6 opens on Fri 12 Oct, a powerful exploration of gun violence in the UK told through the journey of the country's most wanted firearm, using re-enactments performed by former-perpetrators of gun violence. The opening night screening will be followed by a Q&A with members of his team and cast. Also opening on the 12th and running for the week, The Jewish Underground plays out as a political thriller, recounting the extraordinary story of the Israeli secret service foiling a plot by right-wing terrorist organisation the Jewish Underground to blow up the Islamic shrine, the Dome of the Rock.
Mid-month we're happy to be hosting two events for We Feed the World, which celebrates small-scale farming and agro-ecology: Seed: The Untold Story on Mon 15 Oct and In Our Hands on Tue 16 Oct. Both films are followed by Q&As.
No Friday in October would be complete without a stellar director Q&A, so on the 19 Oct we'll be welcoming the brilliant Jerry Rothwell to talk about his new film on the opening night of its run. The School in the Cloud follows the ups and downs of Sugata Mitra's pioneering cloud-based educational model, as the leap from theory to practice proves to be its own fascinating learning curve. From 19 Oct we'll also be showing the latest from Michael Moore. Part investigation, part polemic, part exasperated comedy (with, surprisingly, some hope for the future thrown in), there's never a dull moment in Fahrenheit 11/9, which marks the date of Trump's inauguration as president.
Quite the opposite in both tone and tempo, observational delight Donkeyote follows 73-yr old Spaniard Manolo's pilgrimage on the 'trail of tears', accompanied by his faithful donkey, Gorrión. Our one-off screening on Tue 23 Oct will be followed by a Q&A with director Chico Pereira.
Which brings us to Friday 26 October and our Hot Docs London weekend festival. It's a feast of six fantastic docs over three days, kicking off with The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution - a celebration of top women chefs and a clarion call for a new dynamic in the ultra-competitive world of elite gastronomy. Director Maya Gallus is flying over from Canada for our opening night Q&A (and fingers crossed she'll be joined by a special guest chef).
Sat 27 Oct features the journey of one determined Palestinian woman to expand her life options by making it in the Palestinian security forces, in What Walaa Wants; a beautiful portrait of Indigenous Australian singer Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu in Gurrumul; and the exceptional Bertha-supported The Silence of Others, which follows the devastating but ultimately cathartic journey of the relatives of Spain's disappeared to seek answers and justice for victims of Franco's regime.
Sun 28 Oct kicks off with The Accountant of Auschwitz, which uses the case of the trial against 94-year old camp guard Oskar Gröning as a launching off point to look at the fascinating history, politics and ethics of holocaust war crime trials. Finally, closing the festival in style, we delve into high fashion with a portrait of China's only haute couture designer, Guo Pei, in Yellow is Forbidden.
The last week of October also sees the release of Arwen Curry's thoughtful study of much-loved science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin. Delving into her life and prolific writing career, Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin features the last interviews with the ground-breaking fore-mother of sci-fi before her death earlier this year.