The 17th Aldeburgh DocFest closed on Sunday 13th November 2011, with the showing to a full house of the ‘Page One’ documentary on the New York Times, immediately followed by the ‘Newspapers On Trial’ debate on press freedom chaired by Anna Ford and featuring Ian Katz, Deputy Editor of The Guardian; James Harding, Editor of The Times, and Roger Graef, acting Head of the Media Standards Trust.
This year’s Aldeburgh DocFest featured a broad spectrum of events including TV Historian Michael Wood playing a preview extract from his forthcoming ‘The Story Of The Nation’ (to be broadcast on the BBC in 2012); Mark Kidel introducing the first UK festival screening of his study of classical pianist, Leon Fleisher, and a showing of hit Australian documentary, ‘Mrs Carey’s Concert’ – which was followed by a special violin performance by the film’s young star, Emily Sun.
A fringe festival in nearby Walberswick was geared towards the next generation of documentary makers, with a screening of ‘Shantytown Shakespeare’ (which charts an English theatre director’s attempt to stage a performance of Antony and Cleopatra in Rio de Janeiro), as well as workshops and master classes from Dick Fontaine of the NFTS (National Film and Television School) and Dr Sarah Godfrey (Film Department UEA).
Actress and DocFest Director, Diana Quick, was delighted with the outcome of the weekend, “This year’s Aldeburgh DocFest confirmed our commitment to showcasing the latest documentaries alongside discussions with household name film-makers on their careers and achievements. Our audiences consisted of both locals and visitors who had traveled from London or from across the UK. We anticipate that the DocFest will continue to grow from strength-to-strength, and are already planning for 2012.”
Beyond bringing the best in challenging and intriguing documentaries to the town, the Aldeburgh DocFest has proved a boon for local businesses. Mary James, the owner of The Aldeburgh Bookshop, located on the High Street commented, “The Aldeburgh Documentary Festival has brought a crowd of fascinating people to the Aldeburgh Bookshop: directors, film-makers and actors were browsing in the shop and discussing books, film, culture, history, India and Shakespeare. There was a buzz in the High Street as the Festival goers enjoyed themselves in the shops and restaurants: a really festive Festival atmosphere. Really good for Aldeburgh!”
This was borne out by the experience of the staff at The Lighthouse restaurant, as James Watkiss, the Assistant Manager comments, “It’s good for Aldeburgh, it’s good for the town, and for our restaurant! Our business has been buoyant over the duration of the DocFest.”
For media accreditation for Aldeburgh DocFest 2012,
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