Key moments during the season included conversations around a collective menu of films screening across the three partner venues starting with forthcoming portrait of 60s civil rights Selma. Dr Edson Burton in Bristol curated a series of conversation starters from inspiring figures and experts in Civil Rights including Dr Madge Dresser and Labour and mayoral candidate Marvin Rees, whose commitment to social justice is informed by the work and vision of Dr Martin Luther King. Author, broadcaster and Chief Executive of Bristol’s Ujima Radio Roger Griffiths introduced Selma in both Bristol and Belfast, addressing what conflict and protest means to these two different locations in a historical and current context.
As a first feature film from a female director, the screening of Selma led the programme into a later exploration of the role of women in film, and the role of the female in conflict, which culminates in March with a programme of films curated and introduced by award-winning Palestinian filmmaker and writer Annemarie Jacir (When I Saw You) presented in partnership with Bristol Palestine Film Festival. As part of this programme all three lead partners screened the feature film debut of female screenwriter Suha Arraf (Lemon Tree), Villla Touma about three Palestinian Christian sisters who’ve lost their land and status due to the 1967 war with Israel and their inability to face the painful new reality that’s been imposed on them. The film screened at Borderlines Festival and QFT Belfast on Sat 14 March, Watershed, Bristol.
On the weekend of March 21 Wales One World Festival presented an Iranian Film Day at Chapter Wales, celebrating the golden age of Iranian Cinema with a season of magical films from a generation of globally acclaimed Iranian filmmakers. The festival also featured a screening of Timbuktu alongside a panel discussion with Dr Rachael Langford from Cardiff University and Sandra Skinner from Hay-Timbuktu. The full list of Wales One World events can be found on the website here.
On April 7th 2015, Community Resolve showed The Welcome at the Watershed as part of Conversations About Cinema:Impact of Conflict. This powerful film documents the internal conflict of returning servicemen as they reintegrate after tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With 2015 marking thirty years since the end of the Miners’ Strike Chapter looked at how cinema has reflected the post-mining culture of the South Wales valleys, a mixture of politics and pride. Films included Dark Horse and Twin Town, full listing here.
From April 17th The Decent One, a remarkable documentary on the monstrously deluded mind of Heinrich Himmler screened at Watershed, Bristol. Watershed will hold an informal conversation about cinema around this film in the cafe / bar on Sat 18 April with Tom Beaumont – Teaching Fellow in Modern European History at the University of Bristol who has researched the political and social history of twentieth-century France, and other members of the audience.
In May Timbuktu events centred discussion around relevant and timely issues of religious extremism, while also extending the conversation to include broader topics such as music and the role of women. The panel discussion in Chapter, Cardiff as part of Wales One World (WOW) Film Festival and the introduction and Q&A by Dr Madhu Krisnan at Watershed, Bristol, as well as the associated online content, resonated with audiences across Bristol, Belfast and Cardiff.
The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow up to his extraordinary Oscar®-nominated 2012 documentary The Act of Killing, opened on Friday 12 June. The Watershed team headed to Sheffield Doc/Fest to record Joshua’s Masterclass and see what the audience thought. Later, Producer Signe Byrge Sørensen, a creative force behind the film, led a Q&A at Watershed and a live Twitterchat online.