BBC ‘Storyville’ to examine Ai Weiwei, Gaddafi, Mandela

BBC4's doc strand 'Storyville' will turn the lens on Nelson Mandela, Ai Weiwei (pictured) and Colonel Gaddafi in its forthcoming winter season, and has a new doc from DA Pennebaker in the works.
January 10, 2014

BBC4′s doc strand ‘Storyville’ will turn the lens on Nelson Mandela, Ai Weiwei (pictured) and Colonel Gaddafi in its forthcoming winter season.

The UK pubcaster kicks the season off on Monday (January 13) with Mandela, the Myth and Me, a doc made before Nelson Mandela’s death, which features interviews with those who knew and loved him – and also with those who criticized him.

Following on January 20 is Big Brother Watching Me: Citizen Ai Weiwei, which follows the titular Chinese artist in the tense year following his imprisonment, as he prepares his work for the Venice Biennale. The film documents his ongoing legal battles while on parole and the pressure exerted by Chinese authorities.

On January 26, ‘Storyville’ premieres The Big Melt, a collaborative film by Martin Wallace and Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker which premiered at Sheffield Doc/Fest last year with a live accompanying score. The doc uses footage from the BFI National Archive to tell the story of steelworkers in England.

The following day, the net premieres Mad Dog: Gaddafi’s Secret World, which promises a journalistic look at the dictatorship of the late Middle Eastern tyrant.

The Storyville winter run will also feature Sundance award-winners Cutie and the Boxer and K2: The Summit (formerly known as just The Summit), along with a doc on South Sudanese soccer called Coach Zoran and His African Tigers, and an exploration of sasquatch enthusiasts called Shooting Bigfoot.

The BBC also says that a number of films for 2015/2016 are in the pipeline, including Nick Read’s Bolshoi Babylon which, as previously revealed, will offer a behind-the-scenes look at Moscow’s prestigious Bolshoi Theatre.

Other titles in the works include The Notorious Mr Bout, a forthcoming Sundance feature which examines the home-movies of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout; and Unlocking The Cage, in which directors DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus follow Harvard lawyer Steven Wise as he attempts to bring a precedent case to establish that certain animals should have the same legal rights as humans.

BBC ‘Storyville’ editor Nick Fraser said: “‘Storyville’ is unique in its ability to attract some of the world’s most interesting filmmakers to tell the stories that matter most to them. The next series features rare access to Ai Weiwei, Jarvis Cocker’s stirring ode to the British steel industry, and Morgan Matthews’ tongue-in-cheek bigfoot U.S. investigation.”

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.