One of the festival’s most admired documentaries was the world premiere of Battlecentre, by Leo Regan. Having turned to DV from photojournalism, Regan has carved a name by revisiting the subjects of his photography and emerging with extraordinarily intimate films. Following on from last year’s award winning 100% White about former British neo-Nazis, Battlecentre is a movingly empathetic portrait of a London house of Jesus Army Christians. Regan’s single crew films take us back to observational basics – a good lesson in the current British climate of gimmicky constructed documentaries. Despite the temptation provided by communal living and outbursts of speaking in tongues, Battlecentre refuses to patronize its subjects and instead serves up a compelling insight into the allure of redemption for people who have lost their way.
Widening the Doc Audience
As usual, festival sessions examined the challenges of bringing docs to a wider public, and the constraints of a television landscape increasingly dictated by stranding and branding. In a session on big screen documentaries, the Dutch Film Fund’s Kees Ryninks explained plans to introduce digital documentaries to Dutch cinemas. To circumnavigate the prohibitive cost of producing 35mm docs for cinemas, the Film Fund is equipping ten theatres with digital video equipment, with an agreement that they’ll screen documentaries once a week throughout The Netherlands.