The personal is political

As world leaders gather in Bonn for the 23rd annual “conference of the parties” (COP) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kirstin Innes watches Thank You For The Rain – for the immediate, personal impact of climate change.

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“Last season, we were saying, there is no rain. No rain no rain no rain. Now we are flooded. Everything is being contradicted. Planning, failures. Planning, failures.” 
– Kisilu Musya, in Thank You For The Rain

Climate change is an abstract idea to most of us in the West. We might note it’s getting wetter, or that summers are less sunny than they were when we were kids, but safe inside our houses, with everything we need more or less at the touch of a button, we can shut it out at the end of a day.  It’s something Norwegian filmmaker Julia Dahr, director of Thank You For The Rain, was aware of in 2010 when, aged 23, she decided to make a film showing the effects of climate change on humans.

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Wars of truth

Sift through the layers of Syria’s war of misinformation while bearing witness to the work of the White Helmets.

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“What is there left to say about the White Helmets?” asked the Guardian’s review of Last Men In Aleppo after its Sundance world premiere. Although the review was very positive, the writer was keen to point out the shorter 40-minute run-time of Netflix’s Oscar-winner The White Helmets, another documentary about Syria’s first responders, the Syrian Civil Defense – the volunteer teams who got survivors and bodies out of bombed buildings in besieged East Aleppo. Are we jaded Western viewers just all White-Helmetted out?

Yes, we’ve all seen the footage; from YouTube clips circulated on Facebook, to broadcast news reports. The digging through the rubble, the rescued children, dead babies, screaming parents. The dust, on everyone, all skin ghoulish grey whether living or dead. For a while in 2016, the world had its eye on Aleppo; now things have moved on. This documentary, filmed until 2015, when filmmaker Feras Fayad was forced to flee Syria under threat for his life, is now a historical tract from a very changed city.

Here’s why you should watch it, then, why you should take in all one-hour-forty-four of its runtime, rather than the condensed hour-long edit, or just making do with Netflix’s shorter piece. This film is as much about what happens in the spaces in between the cycle of bombings and rubble-scrabbling. It’s about the banality of life in a warzone, the way those extreme images we in the West can dip into for a couple of minutes become everyday experience when you’re living them.

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Still Relevant – Documentary Nights on Syria

Moving Docs screening partner Berlin Documentary Film Club (BDFC) is about to host its first Mini Documentary Film Festival. The theme is 'Still Relevant – Documentary Nights on Syria'.

Over three days, three documentaries related to the theme will be shown, each followed by a Q&A with the directors and experts in the field. Two of the films are Moving Docs titles.

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Last Men in Aleppo

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It's the way they move... Watch MARTHA & NIKI at MOVING DOCS Home Cinema

We are launching the MOVING DOCS Home Cinema, featuring one doc every month for you to watch online, wherever you like, whenever you like!

Kirstin Innes looks at our first one, Martha & Niki, to discover a dance film that moulds its form around its subjects. 

What’s most striking, of course, is the way they move.

We watch them counting time on the stage, these two young-looking girls, swamped in huge sweatshirts and baggy trousers, as a parade of male dancers enact those same spindly, robotic flicks and jerks that hip hop crowds have come to expect. Three, two, one – and Martha and Niki bound into the space, their bodies synced perfectly, each beat and roll mirrored. They seem to fly; a two-part being, separate but one. Their astonishing energy and commitment to the moment vastly outshine the lanky, bored-looking b-boy crew they’re facing off against; their interpretation of what’s possible within the arena uses far more imagination, creativity and skill, and – let’s be honest – they’re having far more fun together.

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Martha & Niki to kick off MOVING DOCS Home Cinema

From now on, we'll bring Moving Docs not just to the big screen. 

Every month, our new MOVING DOCS Home Cinema will allow you to see very special documentary films where you want, whenever you want.

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The old man and the sea

“We sea men are not normal. They call us 'sub' because we really are sub-normal. Because what Jacques Mayol did was not normal. If that had been normal we would have been really crazy.” – Giancarlo Formichi, underwater cinematographer and friend of Jacques Mayol

A thoughtful, multi-layered look at the life of free-diver Jacques Mayol (perhaps best known to cineastes as the inspiration for Luc Besson’s divisive but world-famous 1988 film The Big Blue), Dolphin Man is a far more complex film than its title would have you believe. Somehow, director Lefteris Charitos has combined three very different kinds of film – the nature documentary, the voyeuristic thrills of an extreme sports film, and an apparently straightforward biopic – into something infinitely more compelling that transcends all three.

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The Cinema Audience in 2017

Fritz Kohle reports on the latest findings from and trends in audience analysis from IBC 2017.

Every year the film and TV industry gathers in Amsterdam at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) to discuss how technology is shaping content, production, distribution and exhibition. Past keynote speakers have included James Cameron and will.i.am, and panel discussions are led by illustrious figures such as Andrew Neill. Topics are broad-ranging: a recent discussion was called ‘Understanding Generation Z: where are they, how do you attract them and how do you make money from them?’.

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This year I attended the IBC sessions called ‘Who is your Cinema Audience in 2017?’ to discover how the industry is planning to exploit user data to make profit.

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There's no such thing as a free book

"There's no such thing as a free lunch," the old saying goes. The new Moving Docs film Free Lunch Society looks into the viability of an unconditional basic income for everyone.

Now we've got some free books to go with the free lunch. Yet again, nothing's really for free... You'll need to tell us in one sentence what you'd do if your basic needs were taken care of by receiving a basic income from the state.

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Tell us and win a book: what would you do if you had a citizen's basic income?

Would you quit your job? Pursue your long life dream of becoming a professional drummer? Make no changes and put the extra money in your mattress?

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Will basic income keep Europe together?

In old factory towns, former mining villages, urban slums and rural hamlets across Europe,  a shared disillusionment with the political establishment has grown to a level that hasn’t been seen for over a century.

The people who inhabit such places, whatever European nation they happen to reside in, are overwhelmingly those who lost out when the post-war economic settlement was dismantled and deregulated in the 1980s.

Often geographically and socially isolated, they find themselves on the losing side of globalisation. In contrast, the elites live in a cluster of metropolitan cities that are ever more interchangeable: populated by highly mobile, highly skilled workers. These people are the winners in today’s great game of connection, the AirBnB landlord, the frequent Uber customer.

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We might ask what, if anything, could unite these two groups? Even if it were possible to take the coder running a startup in East London and transplant her to the Welsh valleys, or the Barcelona PR specialist and ask him to operate out of a rapidly depopulating coal mining town in Asturias, there would still be the far bigger challenge of bridging the divide between the centre and the periphery of the wider European economy.

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For richer or poorer: Is the world really moving towards basic income?

Recent years have seen a flurry of activity in media studios and government offices aimed at weighing up the pros and cons of basic income. Today, across Europe and North America, a number of countries are taking steps to launch investigate pilot schemes.

There is no shortage of backing for such initiatives, from a wide variety of sources. From the French Senate to the Italian city of Livorno, from the New Zealand Labour Party to the Namibian village of Otjivero – we can see new a will to experiment with basic income.

But despite the diverse spread of interest in making basic income a reality, the challenges, even of mounting a pilot scheme, are often formidable.

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