New confirmed date for diary: the 23rd Aldeburgh Documentary Festival takes place from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th November 2017! 


The Aldeburgh DocFest is a very special weekend in a magical place on the edge of the North Sea. DocFest is organised and delivered by the Aldeburgh Cinema Trust, a Registered Charity also responsible for the year-round operation of the Aldeburgh Cinema, a community film theatre that has shown movies consistently since 1919.


 Massive success of 22nd Aldeburgh Documentary Festival (4 – 6 November 2016)!!

Screening of SUNAKALI – TEENAGE GIRLS’ JOURNEY TO GLORY introduced by BILL NIGHY closes a massively successful 22nd ALDEBUGH DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL!

ended on Sunday 6th November 2016 with the inspiring SUNAKALI, a film about teenage girls playing football in the Himalayas in Nepal. Wittily introduced by BILL NIGHY, self-professed football obsessive and ‘El Presidente’ aka Honorary Chair of the Crystal Palace Ladies Team, the lovely film wrought tears and cheers from the audience, and proved a fittingly emotional end to an incredibly successful Festival weekend.
Taking place from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th November the 22nd ALDEBURGH DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL featured an exciting range of films exploring a huge variety of themes and issues, wonderfully presented and discussed by personalities such as JOANNA LUMLEY, NICK ROBINSON, LOUIS THEROUX, JOHN SERGEANT and NORMA PERCY. This year’s ALDEBURGH DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL was a spectacular success with many sold out screenings pushing visitor figures beyond 2,000 for the first time ever, and enormously positive comments on programme quality and overall ‘film fest buzz’ from audiences, visiting filmmakers and panellists alike.

Opening with ANTS ON A SHRIMP about world-famous Copenhagen restaurant NOMA the weekend featured a rich and diverse film programme including the life-affirming autism film LIFE, ANIMATED, introduced by esteemed playwright NICK DEAR, and ROBERT BLY – A THOUSAND YEARS OF JOY, after which HARRY BURTON, RUTH PADEL and DARIANE PICTET discussed life and work of this legendary American poet. 



British National Treasure JOANNA LUMLEY engaged in an illuminating and enormously entertaining conversation with multiple-award winning filmmaker VANESSA ENGLE. The highly topical matter of the US Presidential Election was discussed by a seriously distinguished panel chaired by the BBC’s NICK ROBINSON and including NORMAL PERCY and PAUL MITCHELL, makers of the acclaimed series ‘Inside Obama’s White House’, and STEVEN ERLANGER from the Ney York Times.

received the Festival’s Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Documentary’ from JOHN SERGEANT after a two-hour look at Louis’ wonderful life and career in America and Britain.


The Festival’s Main Programme was complemented by screenings in Aldeburgh Cinema’s new STUDIO POP-UP screen, including British Premieres of Newcastle-made GEORDIE JAZZ MAN and SEARCHING FOR ALI WALLACE featuring local resident and eminent scholar, Lord Cranbrook of Glemham House, and a look back on 50 years of US American politics in classic documentary filmmaking.

We are delighted to have been able to go beyond the ‘movie theatre’. MAURICE DEKKERS, Dutch Director of the Opening Night film and also highly successful chocolatier, was so enamoured by festival programme and ethos that he asked for his travel expenses to be donated to a Nepalese girls’ charity. Around the screening of Closing Night film SUNAKALI an all too rare meeting of the worlds of ‘football and film’ took place which will hopefully lead to collaborative work to ensure Suffolk youngsters get to see this wonderfully motivational story from Nepal.


Guests praised the 22nd Aldeburgh Documentary Festival:


Joanna Lumley:

“I felt so proud to be with you, and really enjoyed my talk with the excellent Vanessa Engle. Lordy! people were so wonderful to be there for the whole two hours! It made me feel very humble and extremely grateful that they watched and listened through to the end.”


Jamie Curtis Hayward,
director ‘Searching for Ali Wallace’, receiving its British Premiere: 

“Thank you so much for showing the Ali Wallace film at Aldeburgh. I felt very honoured to be there amongst such a star cast of films.”


Abi Lewis, director of ‘Geordie Jazz Man’,
also receiving its British Premiere

“A huge thank you to the festival team for such amazing hospitality. The screening was great and we had a fantastic response.”


Phil Lawler, Suffolk FA Chair,
commented on Closing Night film ‘Sunakali – Teenage Girls’ Journey to Glory’: 

“The film was truly inspiring. Sunakali's story sends a real message to young people, in particular young girls about the benefits and rewards of participation in team sport. It was a fascinating insight into the life of a young Nepalese girl and I would welcome an opportunity for the Suffolk Football Association to work in partnership with Thomas Gerstenmeyer and his team at the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival to bring this film to the young people of Suffolk.”


Bill Nighy:

“Wonderful festival, long may it live.”


John Sergeant, in conversation with Louis Theroux: 

“Thanks for a wonderful documentary festival. Aldeburgh at its best.”


Dariane Pictet, panellist for ‘Robert Bly – A Thousand Years of Joy’: 

“I found the weekend wonderful, rich, diverse and immensely friendly.”


Visitor comment on ‘Thule Tuvalu’:

“I felt this was such an important film, and it was the UK Premiere. Everyone should be aware of it!"


Last but not least this from a festival visitor: 

“A wonderfully interesting, heart-warming and stimulating weekend”.



The ALDEBURGH DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL is organised annually by Registered Charity, Aldeburgh Cinema Trust who also operate a cinema and festival supporters’ scheme, ‘Friends of the Aldeburgh Cinema’.


For more information about 2016 Docfest click here


For more information about 2015 Docfest click here


For more information about 2014 Docfest click here


For more information about 2013 Docfest click here


For more information about 2012 Docfest click here


For more information about 2011 Docfest click here