Festival To Challenge News And Documentary In A Changing Landscape

Lady in a sari

A scene from the documentary 'Pink Saris'

Media is changing. From citizen journalism – where individuals pursue an angle that mainstream news might not cover, to the use of social media for news gathering (and rumour spreading!), technology has shifted, transformed and distorted the media landscape that we sit in.

Now, a new festival taking place in east London aims to explore the challenges facing documentary makers, reporters and citizen journalists in what they refer to as the ‘converging digital world’.

Between the Lines takes place from 1 to 3 March in Rich Mix cinema in Shoreditch and features a mixture of short films and discussions on a wide variety of topics and issues. Notable speakers include:

  • Jon Blair – Oscar, Emmy (x2) and BAFTA award winning television producer, director and writer;
  • Chris Hamilton – BBC News journalist and Social Media Editor for the corporation;
  • Turi Munthe – CEO and founder of the Demotix newswire;
  • Tim Pool – Journalist and activist who ‘live-streamed’ Occupy Wall Street – up to 21 hours a day – bringing his work international mainstream media attention.

The debate is likely to be lively and is based around the following questions:

Why are some documentary makers becoming investigative reporters? Who controls the news? How does corporate or charitable sponsorship influence filmmakers? Is citizen journalism the future?

At the press launch, we had the opportunity to preview some of the short films that are on offer over the three days of the festival. These ranged from the powerful Pink Saris, documenting the social and domestic struggle of women in modern-day India, to the amusing The Yes Men Fix the World, a humorous film following two men who bluff, cheat and blag their way in to big business in order to make their point. This film in particular reminds us of Michael Moore’s The Awful Truth – before he got weird and obsessed with conspiracy theories.

Living in the X-Factor society we do, some people may be put off by the term ‘documentary’. They shouldn’t be though; the previews of the films on offer captivated our imagination and engaged us on a visceral level – no matter what the subject.

A full pass is £120 (£90 concessions), which might be too expensive for some; however, for those with particular interests, there are limited day passes and tickets to individual films.

The festival is presented by DocHouse and the Frontline Club, sponsored by the Bertha Foundation and supported by Film London through National Lottery Funding on behalf of the BFI.

For tickets and more information, visit: http://www.betweenthelinesfest.com.

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AndyThornley

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