What’s the relationship between documentary and democracy?

Now more than ever, filmmakers are fighting to give a voice to the disaffected, the poor and the oppressed.

Remember the furore around Blackfish? The gut-churning horror of Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s 2013 documentary about the controversial practices of catching and keeping whales in captivity led to mass protests and petitions against SeaWorld and other aquariums. Real change was brought about directly because of this film and people exercising their democratic rights in response to it. Engendering activism is one of the strengths that documentary has over narrative film; we see real people and real situations, secrets are exposed and unpleasant truths are brought into the light so that we can no longer ignore them.

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Do female producers hold the key to gender equality in the film industry?

Julie Goldman believes more women should take an active role in the creative process.

You may not know the name Julie Goldman but she has produced some of the most renowned documentaries of the last 20 years. With over 60 credits to her name (including recent award winners Life, Animated and Weiner), she is something of a luminary on the festival circuit, and at this year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest alone she has five films in the programme – an incredible number of projects coming to fruition at the same time even by her standards.

If Goldman were a man working in Hollywood you’d likely see her every year at the Oscars rubbing shoulders with the Harvey Weinsteins of the world. As things are, her relative anonymity reveals some uncomfortable truths about how women are perceived in the film industry.

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Golden Girl – first look review

Director Susanna Edwards captures the emotional complexity of a brutal sport in this intimate portrait of ‘the female Rocky’.

Golden Girl, Susanna Edwards’ film about Sweden’s first WBC world title holder in women’s boxing, Frida Wallberg, opens with a quote from legendary boxer Rocky Graziano: “The fight for survival is the fight.” It shows us just that. Starting in 2010, not long after Wallberg won her first title, the film follows her training and working towards more fights; trying to retain her status as the world number one and keep the belt in Sweden. Not only a champion in what is still seen as a man’s world, she is also a single mother trying to provide for her young daughter. Needless to say, Wallberg is extremely tough. We see her training to the point of tears, the agony written across her face. But she refuses to give up.

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