Broadcast: News items

Student's documentary degree show packs a Punch

Dave and Jacqui Sparks with their Punch and Judy puppets

Film buffs can enjoy a feast of documentaries for free at the second MA in Digital Documentary degree show – Focus 2009 – on Saturday 18 July at the University of Sussex.

The 11 films cover an eclectic mix of fascinating subjects from the moving to the downright quirky. They include: 

  • the South African 2009 elections through the eyes of ordinary citizens,
  • the lives of Turkish Cypriots in London;
  • the human story behind a brain tumour diagnosis;
  • learning to enjoy the pleasures of silence;
  • Can tourism save a decaying town in Africa?

The show takes place in the Chichester 1 Lecture Theatre, University of Sussex, from 11am to 6pm. Guests are welcome to bring picnics to enjoy in the University grounds in between screenings. Refreshments will be available throughout the day and a celebratory drinks reception concludes the event at 6.30pm.

One of the films, Mr Punch’s Comeback, chimes well with the show’s summer seaside setting. Director Jaime Taylor explores the lives and loves of Punch and Judy “professors”, who perform the shows and collect and make the puppets. 

Jaime met Punch and Judy devotees Katey (aka Professor Peanuts) from Brighton, Glyn from Worthing and Ray and Jacqui from Eastbourne and David from Beckenham, Kent, who all contribute to the film.

Jaime says: “Punch and Judy is much more than an antiquated promenade show and Mr Punch is actually quite a misunderstood character. The Profs fully believe that he has a role as social commentator and they've managed to persuade me too! These ideas are explored in the film.”

After the course Jaime is hoping to continue making documentaries alongside the work that she does for the collective Postcode Films, which works with young people and various communities to create documentaries.

For further information on all the films, the student directors and for contact details, visit the Focus web site.


Notes for Editors


The full programme is as follows:

11am Opening

1. 11.30am Bailing out the Ballot Following the controversial 2009 elections, this film reveals the intricacies and consequences of the vote on the lives of ordinary South Africans. 

Director: Sara Chitambo

2. 12 noon A Wild Hide 'Pig' escapes his urban confines by building dens secretly in the countryside.  Director: Natalia Whiteside

3. 12.30pm Get out, Stay out Can a homophobic father ever accept his gay daughter? Director: Rachel Randle

1pm Break

4. 2pm Mikindani: Echoes of an African Dream. Mikindani is a post-colonial town in Tanzania facing an uncertain future, with volunteers working for trade-not-aid. Is tourism the answer?

Director: Ella Clark   (

5. 2.30pm The Sounds of Silence The benefits and joys of silence.  Director: Nicola Twaites 


6. 3pm Third Witness Alireza invites you to watch as he watches himself.

Director: Alireza Dadgarnia (

7. 3.30pm Here Today, Gone Tomorrow? A short film looking at the social, physical &

emotional implications of being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Director: Roselyne Owino 


4pm Break

8 4.30pm We Live in Inghiltere The Turkish Cypriot taste of London. Director: Yetin Arslan (

9 5pm Coney Beach You can go missing at Coney Beach. Do you want to go missing? Directors: Eamon Bourke & Lawrence Fisher  (

10 5.30pm Stranger than Playing The documentary investigates the fantastic and eclectic microcosmos of Live Role-Playing Games. Director: Eva Bajasevic  (

11 6pm Mr Punch's Comeback. Being a Punch Professor is a labour of love, a lifetime obsession. A portrait of the staunch defenders of this most misunderstood of puppets. Director: Jaime Taylor  ( 

  • The University of Sussex campus is located off the A27 at Falmer, between Brighton and Lewes. Falmer station is across from the campus is the third stop from Brighton on the train. The 25 bus route from Churchill Square takes you right on to campus.
  • Free parking. Head for Car Park 4 on campus. Chichester Theatre is number 50 on the campus map

Last updated: Tuesday, 14 July 2009