Month: May 2016

Screenings in schools: Inspiring a new audience

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This week Pop Up Docs has been involved in another ‘alternative’ screening – at King Edwards School. One of our aims as an organisation is to inspire people to think about the world in different ways by showing thought-provoking films that encourage people to engage in the world around them. But we don’t just screen to members of the public – we also work with local filmmakers to deliver school workshops that use documentary film to explore a range of issues, many of which can be often be otherwise be difficult to cover within standard lessons.

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As Lisa Bowman of King Edwards School says: “The strength of Pop Up Docs is that it is a local organisation, in tune with today’s major issues and au fait with quality documentaries.  The beauty of PopUp Docs is that it brings these pieces of magical brilliance to groups who can appreciate and question them together.”

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On this occasion we brought local transgender filmmaker Jason Barker to King Edwards School to screen his authored film MILLENNIUM MAN and talk to over 100 GCSE students about issues of gender identity.

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MILLENNIUM MAN is a film about Jason’s transition from female to male which coincided with his godson’s puberty. Jason and his godson had filmed each other over the course of four years.

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The workshop which followed was part of the Year 10 students’ PSHE (Personal, Social, Health & Economics) curriculum covering the topic of gender. The number of children referred to the NHS as a result of transgender feelings and confusion about their gender has quadrupled in five years and the government recently commissioned a major new report into how to ensure full equality for trans people. One of the key recommendations from the report was a call for gender issues to be included in the PSHE curriculum for all schools.

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As well as watching Jason’s documentary film the pupils worked in small groups to discuss the difference between sex and gender and what ‘trans’ means to them. King Edwards’ PSHE Co-ordinator Lisa Bowman said: “By providing insight into what it’s like to transition, Jason asked us to question what it means to be a boy or a girl which proved a difficult and profound exercise. Often pigeonholed as a transgender issue, the film MILLENNIUM MAN’s message was what it’s like to be human.”

Pop Up Docs next screening for the public takes place at 8pm on Thurs 2nd June at St Marks Community Centre. In collaboration with Fringe Arts Bath Festival, we invte you to bring your (well-behaved) dog to the cinema to watch the Bath Premiere of Laurie Anderson’s new film HEART OF A DOG. Described by The Guardian as a “poignant, eccentric essay-film (that is) more a waking dream than a lecture”.

Tickets on sale via www.popupdocs.com but all dogs go free!

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Who let the dogs in?

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Next week Pop Up Docs is hosting its first ever screening for dogs (and their well-behaved owners!) as part of Fringe Arts Bath festival. HEART OF A DOG is a film by musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson who reflects on the deaths of her husband Lou Reed, her mother and her beloved dog.

But Pop Up Docs is not the first cinema to invite dogs into their screenings. In 2011 Sweden hosted to is believed to be the world’s first ever dog cinema; a collaboration between the country’s annual Pet Fair and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The very first screening was of the film MARMADUKE, which features a Great Dane in the lead role.

In fact the cinema went one step further and promised not to discriminate against other pets. Gerd Lindén, project manager at the Pet Fair, said in a statement: “As long as it is the family’s best friend, we promise not to discriminate against moviegoers and welcome both reptiles as well as fish in aquariums”

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It seems to have taken some time for us Brits to catch on to the idea of a dog-friendly cinema, but just last month, trendy restaurant Wringer and Mangle opened its doors to dog-friendly screenings in its basement, choosing to screen MY DOG TULIP as its inaugural film. And in true London Fields style, the dogs didn’t miss out on designer snacks either: they were provided with dog-friendly popcorn and ice cream!

Although our screening may not have such delicacies on offer (and I’m afraid unlike Sweden’s cinema we can’t accept fish, reptiles or any other pets), we CAN promise a fantastic film that is sure to inspire dogs, their owners and dog-free individuals alike!

As Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal said of Laurie Anderson’s  film: “A dog is at the heart of this film, but there’s room for all manner of extraordinary insights about finding love and giving love, being canine and being human.”

Get your tickets for HEART OF A DOG on 2nd June at St Marks Community Centre, here.*

*Please note: Having a dog is NOT a condition of entry. Dog-less audience members are very welcome too!

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Where are the women? New study reveals shocking stats about gender inequality in film…

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Here at Pop Up Docs we spend a lot of time developing our screening schedule – trying to ensure we have an exciting and varied programme with a mix of British and international subjects. But a recent report has made us question whether we are doing enough to showcase the work of female directors…

The report, commissioned by Directors UK, shows that the figures for women film directors have not improved in ten years, with women making up just 13.6% of working film directors. The report explores the factors that have led to these figures, such as career progression, budgets, genres, critics, audiences and public funding, and discovered how the industry culture leads to vastly different outcomes for men and women directing film.

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Films command a great deal of influence on everyday society and the role of directors as storytellers is fundamental to this. This is why it is incredibly important that film directors reflect the audience they serve. By diversifying the pool of directors we open film up to a greater range of perspectives and stories.

Pop Up Docs has showcased the work of some fantastic female filmmakers including Lucy Walker (WASTE LAND), Laura Pointas (CITIZEN FOUR), Alison Klayman (AI WEI WEI: NEVER SORRY) and next month we will be screening a film by Laurie Anderson (HEART OF A DOG). But admittedly, we’ve screened less films directed by women than men – which is something we want to start to try and redress!

Bath is after all at the forefront of the revolution to redress the balance: Bath Film Festival‘s Holly Tarquini founded the “F-Rating” which highlights films which feature prominent women both behind and in front of the camera. The scheme, set up to encourage a public discussion concerning gender inequality in film, has started to received worldwide acclaim.

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Gender inequality in the film industry has long been acknowledged as a serious problem, but despite high profile discussions and debates progress has yet to be made on the disparity between the number of men and women working as film directors. Directors UK wanted to get behind the numbers and identify the root causes as to why women directors are consistently disadvantaged when trying to become a director and in progressing their careers. This study provided them with new insight and understanding as to what is causing this inequality and has helped them formulate a number of recommendations that would, if implemented, bring about industry-wide change.

If you want to help support the Director’s UK campaign, find out more here.

To find out more about F-rated films take a look here. And to suggest any F-rated films that you feel Pop Up Docs should be screening, drop us a line.

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Secret Screening: WHAT DOESN’T KILL ME

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One of the benefits of signing up to the Pop Up Docs mailing list
is that occasionally you will get invited to some exclusive, top secret screenings! Last week Pop Up Docs subscribers came along to a test-screening of Rachel Meyrick’s documentary WHAT DOESN’T KILL ME.

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The film is a shocking expose of domestic violence and child custody in the US. It reveals a scandal in the US justice system: that fathers who have been proven to be responsible for domestic violence will be more likely to receive full custody of their children over the protective mother.

Rachel said that she found the evening particularly helpful:

“I have worked alone on this film and its really wonderful to be able to share it with all of you last night and hear your thoughts.

The discussion we had after was very exciting for me and so utterly valuable to the film.

I will move forward on this film having taken on board all your comments. I have many ideas now of how to make this film so much better (and shorter).

PUD_revs_04.jpgI am off to Albany, NY this week to attend the Battered Mothers Custody Conference where I will see many of the current contributors and meet more.  This will be the final shoot and I can collect lots of testimonials from Mothers who have lost their kids in this manner to sprinkle throughout the film.  I will be starting a crowdfunding campaign shortly to get the film to its final form.

Thank you for putting up with the roughcut; it’s sound issues and lack of colour correction, this will all be rectified once I have locked the edit.

I’d love to be able to screen it again to you once it has its new edit so I will keep you all informed of my progress.

Thank you once again for your time and efforts, you are all part of this film now!

We CAN have a thriving film industry in Bath!”

To keep up to date with Rachel’s film take a look at her crowdfunding page.

This was the first (we hope of many) test-screening for a feature documentary that Pop Up Docs had hosted and the feedback has been fantastic. We hope to do many more of these exclusive events, so if you’re not already signed up to Pop Up Docs you can do so here. Don’t miss out!

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