Opera / Ballet

    Friday 14 to Sunday 16 November 2014
    The Aldeburgh Documentary Festival celebrates its 20th Anniversary! Programme highlights here shortly, watch this space!

    The 19th Aldeburgh Documentary Festival took place from 15 to 17 November 2013 and was an overwhelming, astonishing success in front of capacity crowds

    Truly buzzing, exuberant atmosphere throughout the weekend stimulated by exciting, illuminating screenings, discussions and debates of the highest calibre and quality for visitors from town and region, and from as far afield as Paris, bodes well for next year’s 20th Anniversary edition.

    The screening and masterclass sessions made for extraordinary capacity crowds throughout the weekend in numbers exceeding by far the festival team’s boldest hopes.

    Inspiring: Simon Schama
    SIMON SCHAMA opened proceedings with truly inspiring session BREAKING BREAD WITH THE DEAD, providing insight into conceiving and making relevant and riveting programmes that bring history to life.


    THE HUMAN SCALE offered illuminating glimpses into the future life in global gigacities.

    "THE HUMAN SCALE ..." caption: THE HUMAN SCALE Panel from left to right: architect Sir Michael Hopkins, Marc Vlessing, Roger Graef, Ricky Burdett

    THE HUMAN SCALE Panel from left to right: architect Sir Michael Hopkins, Marc Vlessing, Roger Graef, Ricky Burdett

    The mesmerising NORMA PERCY in conversation with ROGER GRAEF took us up as close and personal as never before with powerful political leaders of the 20th and 21st century and was awarded the Festival’s LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, followed by an enchanting evening with KAKUMA’S KIDS from Beccles-based filmmaker ROSS CARWELL, and the beguiling RAFEA SOLAR MAMA, a charming Bedouin lady who quite literally empowered her desert community, with the BBC Storyville’s NICK FRASER providing the context in conversation with journaliste extraordinaire MARY ANN SIEGHART.

    caption: Norma Percy in conversation with Roger Graef

    Brilliant: Norma Percy in conversation with Roger Graef

    The Festival came to a glorious end on Sunday with the hard-hitting DIRTY WARS, an eye-opening investigation of America’s global covert wars. South African arms trade author ANDREW FEINSTEIN and filmmaker OLLY LAMBERT (winner of major awards for his Syria films) alongside ex-military man and Arab specialist RUPERT WISE followed the screening with a tight live debate session of a quality the like of which had never before been witnessed by Aldeburgh audiences.

    The Aldeburgh Documentary Festival 2013 was bookended by two wonderful, insightful and absolutely packed masterclass sessions by OLLY LAMBERT and NICK FRASER.

    ifetime Achievement Award for Norma Percy - left to right: Artistic Director Diana Quick, Molly Dineen, Norma Percy, Roger Graef

    Lifetime Achievement Award for Norma Percy - left to right: Artistic Director Diana Quick, Molly Dineen, Norma Percy, Roger Graef



    The ALDEBURGH DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL 2013 takes place from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th November 2013. 

    SIMON SCHAMA, veteran maker of more than forty films will open the Festival on Friday night in conversation with NICK FRASER from the BBC’s flagship documentary strand ‘Storyville’.

    On Saturday morning we present THE HUMAN SCALE which looks at how we live in modern cities. Our guests include local resident and pre-eminent architect SIR MICHAEL HOPKINS, world renowned specialist on urbanism RICKY BURDETT, acclaimed filmmaker and author ROGER GRAEF, and panel chair MARC VLESSING whose company Pocket has recently been commissioned by the Mayor of London to develop a substantial ten year programme of starter homes for the capital.

    On Saturday afternoon our old friend ROGER GRAEF will introduce us to the distinguished career of fellow American NORMA PERCY. Every significant story seems to have its ‘Percy film ’from ‘End of Empire’ to ‘Endgame in Ireland’. Her work has been called ‘The Gold Standard of Documentary Making’.

    On Saturday night MARY ANN SIEGHART will grill NICK FRASER on his own glittering ‘Storyville’ career, and we will screen the wonderful RAFEA: SOLAR MAMA which follows women from around the world learning how to quite literally empower their small communities. The film will make you smile and cry and warm the cockles of your heart. Lovely short film KAKUMA’S KIDS by Beccles-based producers Carwell Casswell is the fitting prologue for this evening.

    Sunday morning is again given over to a film dealing with a subject matter of wide international concern. This year we turn our attention to the question of interventions in other nations’ conflicts. DIRTY WARS looks at a US Covert Operations unit, formed as a clandestine part of the so called ‘war on terror’. It is a huge subject, and our Debate panel includes ANDREW FEINSTEIN, author of the bestselling book The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, and filmmaker OLLY LAMBERT whose ‘Syria: Across The Lines’ was shown earlier this year on Channel 4.

    Two excellent masterclasses bookend this year’s Festival. OLLY LAMBERT discusses the ‘Art of the Interview’ – how do you ask the questions that will unlock the subject and the person? Producer NICK FRASER will be interrogated on the issue of why documentaries matter. And of course we will be presenting the Aldeburgh DocFest Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Do come and join us, ask questions and have your say in the Q&A’s that complete each session. Your participation makes the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival such a lively and intimate event, not least with a view to our regular monthly ‘Aldeburgh Doc’ screenings and next year’s celebration of the Festival’s 20th Anniversary!

    Join us where ‘global meets local’ in a hugely enjoyable and memorable way. We very much look forward to seeing you for the weekend!