Essential documentaries from DocHouse and Frontline Club this Autumn

Fans of documentary film are well served in London by both documentary group DocHouse, and established journalism centre the Frontline Club.

The September-October 2014 period features some compelling documentaries from both institutions with directors and talent often present for Q&As. Highlights include:

Frontline Club

Preview Screening: 1971 + Q&A
Monday 29 September 2014, 7:00 PM

On 8 March 1971, the night of the legendary boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, eight ordinary citizens broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. The members of the self-proclaimed Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI picked the lock on the door, took every file in the office, loaded them into suitcases and walked out the front door.

Mailed anonymously, these documents started to show up in newsrooms, unleashing fierce debates on whether or not to publish them. Despite demands by the Nixon administration to suppress the story, The Washington Post went to press, uncovering the FBI’s vast and illegal regime of spying and intimidation of Americans exercising their First Amendment rights.

For the first time, the members of the Citizens’ Commission come forward and speak out about their actions. Through a combination of exclusive interviews, rare primary documents from the break-in and investigation, national news coverage of the burglary and dramatic reenactments, filmmaker Johanna Hamilton tells the story of the Citizens’ Commission. This is a story with haunting echoes to today’s questions of privacy in the era of government surveillance.

Directed by Johanna Hamilton
Duration: 79′
Year: 2014

Frontline Club

Preview Screening: Still the Enemy Within + Q&A

Friday 3 October 2014, 7:00 PM

In 1984, a Conservative government under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher declared war on Britain’s unions, including the National Union of Mineworkers. The closure of coal mines was announced, not only threatening an industry, but whole communities.

The government used all means available to fight the 160,000 coal miners that took to the street. Those who stood on the front line of the strike for an entire year were labelled ‘the Enemy Within’ by Thatcher. These miners became part of a battle that has shaped Britain today

Still the Enemy Within is a unique insight into the 1984-85 British Miners’ Strike, told through unique archive footage and the raw first-hand experiences of those who lived through Britain’s longest strike.

Directed by Owen Gower
Duration: 112
Year: 2014

Dochouse: Red Lines - UK Premiere + Q&A with Razan (via Skype)

Dir. Andrea Kalin & Oliver Lukacs
USA - 2014 - 98mins

Thursday 25th September, 2014 at 8:00pm

Rich Mix Cinema
35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA, £7 (£5 conc)

This is a side of war you don't see. Telling the dramatic story of two Syrians from vastly different walks of life who are thrown together through the circumstances of war, Red Lines is a gripping film highlighting the resilience of the Syrian people and the challenge to keep hope alive in the face of intolerable violence and the tragic recent events across the region.

DocHouse: Sofia's Last Ambulance + Q&A with Director

Dir. Ilian Metev 
Croatia / Bulgaria / Germany - 2012 - 76 mins

Thursday 2nd October, 2014 at 6:30pm

ICA: Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH, £11 (£8 concessions)

Doctor Krassi, nurse Mila and driver Plamen are the overworked crew of one of the last operating ambulances in Sofia, Bulgaria. We observe as they race through the night, struggling to save lives in the face of a lack of resources, a crumbling infrastructure and roads that are more pothole than tarmac.


Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.