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'These are disruptive films to be in cinemas - we look at quite tricky topics'

PUBLISHED: 12:43 23 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:43 23 April 2019

A still from This is Home, which runs at The Rio on May 12. Picture: Right Now Film Festival.

A still from This is Home, which runs at The Rio on May 12. Picture: Right Now Film Festival.

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Right Now Film Festival seeks to "address the unjust balances of power" currently in play around the world. The series will screen five feature-length documentaries at the Rio between May 6 and 12.

Maxim Pozdorovkin's The Truth About Killer Robots will be shown on May 8. Picture: Right Now Film Festival.Maxim Pozdorovkin's The Truth About Killer Robots will be shown on May 8. Picture: Right Now Film Festival.

When a robot kills a human, who takes the blame?

This is the question at the core of Maxim Pozdorovkin's documentary – The Truth About Killer Robots – which you can see at The Rio on Wednesday, May 8.

The film comes to Dalston as part of the Right Now Film Festival; a collection of five highly relevant and politically charged feature documentaries that will be shown between May 6 and 12.

“These are disruptive films to be in cinemas,” says the festival's Amy Hepton, “they are about quite tricky topics.”

Crime + Punishment - a documentary on the NYPD - was filmed across four years. Picture: Right Now Film Festival.Crime + Punishment - a documentary on the NYPD - was filmed across four years. Picture: Right Now Film Festival.

“We look at documentaries about the world today, mainly looking at inequality and how global systems contribute towards unjust balances of power. We're really lucky to bring these kinds of films in to cinemas. They aren't usually shown.”

The series starts on Bank Holiday Monday – May 6 – with a film called Crime + Punishment. Captured over the course of four years, Stephen Maing's documentary “chronicles the remarkable efforts and struggles of a group of black and Latino whistleblower cops, and the young minorities they are pressured to arrest in New York City.”

From there, the Right Now Film Festival will tell the story of Thomas Reid – an Irish farmer fronting up to a behemoth of American business who want his land – and Behind the Curve, an intriguing look at the lives of people who still believe the earth to be flat.

The festival reaches its climax with This is Home – a story about four Syrian refugee families resettled in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid is about an Irish farmer facing pressure from big business to sell his land. Picture: Right Now Film Festival.The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid is about an Irish farmer facing pressure from big business to sell his land. Picture: Right Now Film Festival.

With eight months to learn English, find jobs and make a life for themselves, their predicament is challenging enough. Then President Trump issues a travel ban on all refugees from Muslim-majority countries.

Hepton adds: “This is Home is fascinating. It's about a serious topic but it's well made.

“These are families escaping war who are given eight months to become self-sufficient in America, which is obviously really hard. You see their kids doing really well at learning English at a fast rate – there are some beautiful human moments in it.”

Back for its third year in east London, the festival will take place in The Rio's intimate basement – where there is space for an audience of just 30.

Hepton thinks the stories featured as part of Right Now Film Festival would interest “people that love good films, people that are curious and people that are probably a little bit rebellious.

“Hackney has quite an active audience, with people who are interested in communities outside of their own. Hackney locals aren't afraid to discover new things; they're quite worldly, and also interested in things outside of the mainstream.”

She says the documentaries are created in a way to inspire the audience to “come away wanting to know more and more about what's going on. This is stuff that's happening right now; I want people to watch it, go away and research, then ask questions and query why this is happening. To look at subjects of inequality and power, and how that ties in with what they have just seen.”

Right Now Film Festival is at The Rio between May 6 and 12. For more details and tickets, click here.

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