With Sheffield Doc/Fest taking over its new Summer berth this week, we’ve opted for a British take on the newest indieWIRE at Hulu Docs, iW‘s regular curation of Hulu’s Documentaries page. For this edition, we’re spotlighting a handful of British made or British focused non-fiction films available on the site.
EDITOR’S NOTE: “indieWIRE @ Hulu Docs” is a regular column spotlighting the iW-curated selections on Hulu’s Documentaries page, a unique collaboration between the two sites. iW selections typically appear in the carousel at the top of the page and under “Featured Content” in the center. Be sure to check out the great non-fiction projects available to watch free of charge.
Kicking off this British documentary invasion is Grant Gee’s “Joy Division.” This portrait of the Manchester post-punk band headed by Ian Curtis had its world premiere at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, appearing alongside Anton Corbijn’s narrative on Curtis, “Control.” Gee talks to Corbijn as well as to the late Curtis’ bandmates and his lover Annik Honoré, among others, to tell the influential group’s story.
Moving from music to sport, the soccer-themed documentary “In the Hands of the Gods,” directed by the British filmmaking team of brothers Gabe and Benjamin Turner, was the widest released documentary in the UK in 2007. It follows five English freestyle football players on a quest through North, Central, and South America to meet the legendary player Diego Maradona.
Another pair of Brit filmmaking siblings, director Nicola Collins and her twin sister producer Teena, are represented in this week’s selections. The sisters, who have also been models and actresses (notably appearing in Guy Ritchie’s “Snatch”), made their filmmaking debut in 2008 with “The End: British Gangsters,” focusing on the gangsters of London’s East End. They came to the subject from a unique and privileged position; their father Les Falco is one of the infamous criminals at the heart of the film.
British director Beadie Finzi turns her camera away from the confines of the British Isles to South America – specifically to the slums of Rio de Janeiro. “Only When I Dance” is a real-life “Billy Elliot,” an infectious portrait of two Afro-Brazilian ballet dancers attempting to make better lives for themselves by competing in dance competitions. The film made its debut at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival before going on to play numerous other fests, including Sheffield.
Before “Dance,” in 2005, Finzi produced director Rupert Murray’s acclaimed “Unknown White Male.” In 2009, the British director premiered his latest doc, “The End of the Line” at Sundance. Based on the book by Charles Clover, editor for London’s Daily Telegraph, and narrated by actor Ted Danson, the film explores the damaging consequences of overfishing around the world.
Rounding out this British invasion are Dez Vylenz’s “The Mindscape of Alan Moore,” an inside look at the celebrated and erudite English comic book writer known for “Watchmen,” “From Hell,” “Swamp Thing,” “V for Vendetta,” and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” – who also happens to be something of a magician; and “Soldier Girls,” an early project from the enfant terrible of British doc making, Nick Broomfield (together with directing collaborator Joan Churchill) – this one following the basic training of women soldiers in Ft Gordon, GA.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Basil Tsiokos is a Programming Associate, Documentary Features for Sundance, consults with documentary filmmakers and festivals, and co-produced Cameron Yates’ feature documentary “The Canal Street Madam.” Follow him on Twitter (@1basil1 and @CanalStMadamDoc) and visit his blog (what (not) to doc).