The recent news of a London cinema solely dedicated to screening documentaries seven days a week was music to my ears. The Curzon Bloomsbury formerly known as The Renoir Cinema will be the home of Bertha DocHouse - a new centre for documentary film as of March 27th.
Full credit must be given to BBC for their decision to air Storyville: India's Daughter on Friday, ahead of schedule, in response to the lunacy displayed yesterday in India's Parliament, and by the attempts to ban the screening of the film, not just in India, but absurdly beyond the country's borders as well.
I was asked to review Sergei Loznitsa's new documentary record of the Ukraine protest movement Maïdan for Radio 4's Front Row programme this month. It's a timely film. Russia's black propaganda efforts since Maidan have been unrelenting...
We need to be able to guarantee the safety of all artists and activists for human rights, so that it no longer takes extraordinary courage to call for a better world - so that every person with the ability to imagine peace, equality, progress and justice can express their dreams and hopes without fear.
Here is somebody who can command a room with a single look, who can conjure up harmonious music from a hundred disparate individual musicians with just a twitch of his right hand, yet we found Sir Simon Rattle to be thoughtful, humble and thoroughly grounded in the stuff of everyday life.
Over 20 years later and I have learnt that Flash Gordon has had an impact on just about everyone who has seen it. It's not a film that people find "okay". It's a film that "blew your mind". If it didn't, you simply hadn't seen it.
It's how and why the memories of one of the darkest moments in human history should be kept alive that formed the theme of the film. And during the months making it I was struck by the myriad of ways those who suffered the atrocities of the Holocaust have chosen to pass their memories on. How they refuse to allow the echo of what they witnessed fade.
It came as little surprise that the official inquiry into the circumstances that led to the Woolwich attack paid scant attention to the role UK intelligence played in the abuse of Michael Adebolajo in Kenya. In his court appearance last December Michael Adebolajo himself did not mention whether or not the incident had an impact on his own thinking in the run-up to Woolwich.
As a filmmaker, I've always been curious to hear people's stories. Everybody has a story to tell and the first thing I often wonder when I meet someone is what theirs is. This was the case with Naomi, the young woman whose experience sleeping rough on the streets of London inspired the story for my latest film, A Horse Called Oz.
If we are going to protect children from sexual abuse we must make sure that anyone who recognises they have a problem, and want help to make sure they don't harm a child, is supported in getting treatment. I don't think you can 'cure' someone of paedophilia but you can use therapy to help them control their urges.
As the winners of the 2014 Impact Award are announced, it is a good day to honour the work of documentary filmmakers everywhere. In particular, their role in documenting, highlighting and explaining human rights abuses and human rights protests even in places that western journalists cannot reach.
Pamela Yates' film 'Granito' is one of the five winners of this year's BRITDOC Impact Award. This impressive body of work is matched by their intentional, trust-based relationships with key partners across these countries to ensure their films could contribute to the growth and success of the movements they were documenting.
There have been so many films that have touched and altered my perception over the years that I couldn't begin to single out the few that have been the most impactful, but if we only look at some of the films of the past year and the conversations, debate and change they are driving, we start to see how important and irreplaceable these films and filmmakers are.
Every year new documentary filmmakers step forward driven by the same mix of optimism and pessimism. They hope that their story can cut through the noise and communicate with enough people, or maybe just the right people, to make a difference.
I remember my first time like it was yesterday. I was 21 years old, and it was an incredibly emotional experience. Over the course of an hour, I had laughed, cried, and, believe it or not, my life flashed before my eyes. It was my first time watching a documentary that jumped out and moved me to the core - and compelled me to want to do something.
Documentary film is a vital component in holding both governments and corporations to account. In celebrating the documentaries that impact our society we help to keep the legacy of these films and their campaigns alive.