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    The organic wine flowed and the garden glowed as the 20th Aldeburgh Documentary Festival got underway.  The foyer and gallery thronged with guests who, despite bouts of Suffolk November weather, ventured out into the reimagined courtyard garden, which featured a fire pit and furniture from Fantastical Contraptions, and over 100 newly planted bulbs courtesy of Woottens Plants. The festival opened with the British Premiere of Natural Resistance, screened in the presence of its director Jonathan Nossiter and it was introduced by broadcaster, Libby Purves.  Since its screening in Aldeburgh, Natural Resistance has been picked up for theatrical distribution in the UK – remember you saw it here first!

     

    Over the next two days audiences were treated to documentary films from the extremely topical Lessons in Dissent, to the compelling The Possibilities are Endless; there were films which inspired immense debate for example The Green Prince, and those which enchanted us – Happiness.   There was a lifetime achievement award for Roger Graef who appeared in conversation with Alex Cooke, when asked what subject he wanted to tackle next Roger said ‘the banks’, to which there was rapturous applause. 
    On Saturday evening two very contrasting but also very similar films delighted the sold out ‘Global meets Local’ event. The first was the premiere of A Life Illuminated: Neville Parry, Cinema Projectionist, which starred our very own projectionist Neville, who at almost 82 is thought to be the oldest working projectionist in the UK; the film takes us on a whistle stop tour of the history of cinema and in particular projection.  This was followed by the beautiful Happiness, which illuminates the seduction of technology and its rapid encroachment on an ancient way of life
    Following the inaugural success of last year’s Master classes in the 40 seater Gallery, this year we went one better and packed the cinema auditorium with over 150 people for an illustrated conversation between Oscar and Bafta winning producer John Battsek and DocFest Artistic Director, actor Diana Quick.


     
    The weekend buzzed with what can only be described as ‘Aldeburgh atmosphere’ and this was helped along by the upstairs Gallery transformation which was decked out in vintage furniture complete with old fashioned movie studio lights (courtesy of Vintage Unit); Bill Jackson’s prints from his collection ‘1984 Revisited’ looked brilliant in the Gallery and sparked some interesting conversations.
    We quite possibly saved the best till last though, as people young and old flocked from far and wide on Sunday evening to meet their idol, the truly inspiring Edwyn Collins.  After the screening of The Possibilities Are Endless, Edwyn and his wife Grace Maxwell joined the legendary music producer Joe Boyd on stage for a Q&A, and then Edwyn treated his fans to a live acoustic set accompanied by the guitarist David Page.

     For more images of the Aldeburgh Docfest click here

    Since its small beginnings in 1995 The Aldeburgh Documentary Festival, founded by Felicity Ann Sieghart upon inspiration by Molly Dineen, has come a long way and can only continue to grow as it moves towards its 21st Year in 2015.

    Hope you can join us.
     
    2014 Films:
    Natural Resistance dir. Jonathan Nossiter
    Lessons in Dissent dir. Matthew Torne
    A Life Illuminated: Neville Parry, Cinema Projectionist dir. Jon Saward
    Happiness dir. Thomas Balmes
    The Green Prince dir. Nadav Schirman
    The Possibilities Are Endless dir. James Hall and Edward Lovelace


    2014 Guests:
    Libby Purves
    William Sieghart
    Jonathan Nossiter
    Matthew Torne
    Ching Crystal Chow
    Isabel Hilton
    Roger Graef
    Alex Cooke
    Neville Parry
    Jon Saward
    David Thompson
    John Battsek
    Osama Qashoo
    Avi Shlaim
    Edwyn Collins
    Grace Maxwell
    Joe Boyd
    David Page
    A Most Special Thank You to Sir Graeme Odgers DL for extremely generous support

    A Most Special Thank You to our Main Sponsor
    TA Hotel Collection

     

    2014 Sponsors and Supporters:
    Hospitality supported by
    The White Lion, Aldeburgh
    Adnams, Southwold

    Courtyard Care by Woottens of Wenhaston
    Firepit by Fantastical Contraptions
    Publicity materials supported by Fuller-Davies Printing & Mailing
    Aldeburgh Cinema Year-round sponsors and supporters (in alphabetical order)
    Adnams
    Aldeburgh Cinema Club
    Bedfords
    Brudenell
    Collen & Clare
    Dolphin Inn
    East of England Co-Op
    EDF Energy
    Europa Cinemas
    The Lighthouse Restaurant
    O&C Butcher
    Suffolk Secrets
    Thorpeness Hotel & Golf Club
    White Lion