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What's On in September

Friday 30 August, 2019

We have a jam-packed September approaching with all sorts of collaborations and film festivals, beginning with Open City Documentary Festival on the 5th September. The films include Taste of Hope, focusing on a French tea factory owned by a worker’s collective; Caballerango which explores the death of a young man in a rural Mexican community; Chez Jolie Coiffure, a film that observes the comings and goings of a salon in Brussels run by Cameroonian Sabine; The Crosses which reveals a massacre committed in 1973 by Chilean policemen; and a Shorts Programme.


Our first run of September is What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael from the 6th, a film about how the New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael defied the odds and became an iconic film journalist, despite it (still!) being a deeply male-led industry.


In the same week, we have a world premiere of Eye on the Ball on Thursday 12th followed by a director’s Q&A. The film follows the Malaysian blind youth football team who unexpectedly won the 2015 ASEAN para games, and now need to defend their title.


From Friday 13th September two brilliant films, For Sama and Honeyland will be opening. Winner of the audience award at Sheffield Doc/Fest, For Sama is a letter from young mother Waad al-Kateab to her baby daughter Sama, to whom she gave birth on the front line of cataclysmic conflict in Aleppo – our screening on Saturday 14th September will be followed by a special Q&A.


Honeyland was this year’s winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival. In a deserted Macedonian village, 50-something Hatidze, clambers up a hillside to check her bee colonies nestled in the rocks; but disruption is coming. With beautiful cinematography evocative of Caravaggio, Honeyland explores nature’s vulnerability under capitalist demand.


The final two screenings in our series that accompanies the release of former Storyville commissioner Nick Fraser’s book, Say What Happened are Eugene Jarecki’s Why We Fight on 3rd September and Alex Gibney’s Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room on the 10th which will be followed by a skype Q&A with the director.


Friday 20th September sees three features opening with us; Swarm Season, Samouni Road and Mother.


Swarm Season unfolds on the remote volcanic island of Hawaii; 10-year-old Manu and her mother collect wild, endangered bees in order to breed disease-resistant colonies, while her father protests developments on sacred mountain Mauna Kea. Samouni Road takes us to the rural outskirts of Gaza City, where a small community of farmers in the Samouni extended family, is about to celebrate a wedding – their first celebration since the last war.


We’ll be having a director’s Q&A for Mother on Saturday 21st, which follows two narratives that collide in a small village in Thailand. Pomm is a carer who takes care of Europeans with Alzheimer’s, and over in Switzerland a family is preparing to depart, in this moving observation of motherhood and care.


The final week of September brings our next screening in collaboration with Extinction Rebellion, the film The Moon and the Sledgehammer on Monday 23rd - the Autumn Equinox! We’ll have an intro/provocation from an XR activist and a director’s Q&A after the film.  Filmed 50 summers ago, The Moon and the Sledgehammer is a poetic and eccentric classic of British nonfiction filmmaking which follows a family of farmers living in the remote Sussex wilderness. We’ll also be partnering with Gal-dem for a screening of Shakedown on Tuesday 24th as part of the release of their new publication with the theme of Rest/Unrest. Shakedown was a thriving nightclub space in the 90s for LA's African-American queer community to explore identity, sexuality and have an incredible time.


Our last runs of the month beginning Friday 27th are two political thrillers. On the President’s Orders is the searing story of President Duterte’s bloody campaign against drug dealers and addicts in the Philippines, told with unprecedented and intimate access to both sides of the war. In Sea of Shadows, activists, marine biologists and the navy fight to save the world’s smallest whale from extinction as its habitat has been destroyed by Mexican cartels and Chinese Mafia who harvest the swim bladder of the Totoaba fish, the ‘cocaine of the sea’.


Our Sunday session on 29th is Ama-San, a stunning documentary that explores an ancient tradition among Japananese women of free-diving. In Wagu, a fishing village in the Ise Peninsula of Japan a group of women dive everyday not knowing what they’ll find - the Ama-San have been diving like this in Japan for over 2000 years.


We’ll be rounding off the month by joining cinemas nationwide in a preview screening of Hitsville: The Making of Motown on the 30th, which has a brilliant soundtrack and chronicles the astronomical success and enduring cultural impact of Motown Records.

A still from the documentary Ama-San.