Aldeburgh Documentary Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary with star-studded line-up

PUBLISHED: 15:42 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:42 31 October 2019

Paul Merton talks about his love of Buster Keaton at Aldeburgh's DocFest this weekend Photo: Paul Merton

Paul Merton talks about his love of Buster Keaton at Aldeburgh's DocFest this weekend Photo: Paul Merton

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Aldeburgh DocFest unveils a programme of issue-driven films introduced by star names to mark its quarter century anniversary

Political journalist Nick Robinson returns to the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival Photo: BBCPolitical journalist Nick Robinson returns to the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival Photo: BBC

It's a year of landmark anniversaries for the Aldeburgh Cinema. In its centenary year it is also celebrating the 25th anniversary of its acclaimed documentary festival which opens on Friday.

Artistic director Jill Green has conjured up a programme designed explore our world both past and present while also shining a spotlight on some of the key issues of our time. This year's films take a look at subjects as diverse as the natural environment under pressure, the forced movement of people, the career of Buster Keaton and the role of art in a dangerous world.

The Aldeburgh DocFest began a quarter of a century ago when talented film maker Molly Dineen suggested that documentaries should be given more time in the spotlight in Aldeburgh. Molly's mother-in-law, the late Felicity Ann Sieghart, was in charge of Aldeburgh Cinema 25 years ago, and she enthusiastically ran with the idea. So it's particularly apt that Molly Dineen is being recognised this year for her outstanding contribution to documentary.

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Novelist and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz will talk to Molly about her work, with the help of clips from her films, and explore how she manages to gain the absolute trust of her interviewees.

Other highlights of this year's four-day celebration includes Paul Merton talking about one of his heroes, Buster Keaton, and then he'll introduce the silent movie The Cameraman. Pianist John Sweeney will provide a live accompaniment.

Today presenter Nick Robinson returns to DocFest introducing War of Art, a quirky and fascinating film about a group of international artists visiting North Korea while another Today presenter, Martha Kearney, will chair a debate on Gaza, a documentary about how people live their lives against a background of perennial conflict.

Broadcaster Bill Turnbull will discuss traditional ways of beekeeping after the moving documentary Honeyland, which follows the fortunes of the last remaining traditional beekeeper in Northern Macedonia.

On Monday 4th November 2019, 140 local school children will be visiting the cinema to watch Children of the Snowland (our Sunday night film) - where Nime Gurung who features in the documentary will talk about being sent to school in Nepal from the high Himalayas for 12 years, without seeing his parents. The documentary follows his dangerous trek back to see his father. We also welcome Zara Balfour to talk about directing and producing this documentary. We are extremely grateful to East Suffolk Council for supporting this educational outreach work.

Aldeburgh Documentary Festival runs from Friday November 1 to Monday November 4. For more details about this year's programme go to the DocFest website

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