A new series of events which showcase thought-provoking documentaries alongside the chance to meet the people who made them has got underway in Leicester.
De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has teamed up with Leicester’s Phoenix Cinema for DocHub@DMU which aims to create conversations and build on the rising popularity of and appetite for documentaries sparked by Netflix and Amazon TV.
DocHub@DMU is led by Associate Professor and documentary maker Ulrike Kubatta who is passionate about the potential for documentaries to shine a light on subjects and stories.
The series began on Monday with a showing of The Hard Stop, which told the the story of the shooting by armed police of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in Tottenham. It sparked the worst week of riots seen in recent British history.
The film followed two of Mark’s childhood friends, Kurtis and Marcus as they deal with bereavement prison and unemployment, while the media debate and the judicial inquiry play out in the background.
Former police officers, social justice campaigners and filmmakers were at Monday’s event to chat with the audience about the issues raised.
Some of the panel on Monday - not pictured are Marcus Knox-Hooke and Lisa Palmer of the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre
Ulrike said that Netflix and Amazon TV were helping to bring new audiences to documentaries and she hoped these events would take that interest one stage further.
She said: “I don’t want to look at the making of the films so much, but show documentaries that raise particular issues, and bring people together with the people who made the film to talk about those topics.
“Documentaries provide us with quite an intimate insight into people’s lives, like The Hard Stop. They make an impact, and that’s an important aspect of them, but being able to discuss them enables you to see other viewpoints and maybe even bring change.”
Director of The Hard Stop, George Amponsah, said: “What documentaries can bring to subject matters that news reports can’t is a feeling, an emotion and that’s what we tried to achieve with The Hard Stop. It was just something that conveyed the human story of Marcus and Kurtis after the death of their friend.”
Kurtis and Marcus have been part of the team who have brought the film to venues around the UK but also America. The film has become something of a tribute to their childhood friend, said Kurtis. “Documentaries showed me the world is bigger than that street mentality,” said Marucs.
Producer Dionne Walker said the most satisfying element of the filmmaking process was seeing it resonate with audiences. “Effectively the film wasn’t finished until we showed it in cinemas and got feedback about it. That’s how I see documentaries, you might start with idea, characters and subjects but really it’s not finished until you start to engage an audience and find out what they think about it.”
Jim Holyoak, programme lead for policing at DMU, said he planned to show The Hard Stop to his cohort of police apprentices. “One of the things that has come out of this is what we teach our cops. We need to pick up on the experiences these guys have been talking about.”
DocHub@DMU is working with Phoenix on a series of film events. The next to be shown is called The Work, which is about a prison therapy group; and the third planned is Push, examining how property investors are pushing people out of cities such as London, Barcelona and New York.
Posted on Thursday 14th November 2019