Film students and staff in the frame at documentary fest

Dave and Jacqui Sparks with their Punch and Judy puppets

Documentary film makers from the University of Sussex feature alongside some of the genre’s biggest names at the fifth SEE documentary film festival in Brighton this weekend.

Students from the Media Practice and Theory undergraduate degree course and the documentary MA will be presenting their degree films at a free public event on Saturday (20 February), in the Paganini Suite at the Barcelo Old Ship Hotel, Brighton, from 9am.

The morning of films offers an emotive, poetic and entertaining programme. The documentaries by Sussex students to feature in the 2010 SEE Festival are:

  • The Rapture and the Residue: Suffering a recurrent nightmare, Charlotte uncovers family secrets and a religious cult past.  Charlotte Charlton and Peter Harte 2009.
  • Mr Punch’s Comeback: Punch and Judy Professors (Punch and Judy puppetry collectors, practitioners and enthusiasts) across the country prepare for the new season. Jaime Taylor 2009
  • Coney Beach: A stunning, poetic journey through the decaying world of the funfair at Coney Beach in Wales. Eamon Bourke, Lawrence Fisher 2009
  • Third Witness: Alireza invites you to observe as he observes himself. Alireza Dadgarnia, 2009

Previous graduates of University of Sussex film courses are already making their way in the world. Documentary maker Peter Beard, who graduated with a Media degree in 2006, has just had his short film Young, Angry and White screened on Channel 4. He has since been back to the University to share his experiences with current students.

Peter says: “At Sussex I was encouraged to be ambitious in my approach to making documentaries and given space to develop my own voice. In such a competitive industry that ambition has proved invaluable and been instrumental in getting me both jobs and commissions.”

Coney Beach is one of four student films from universities in the region shortlisted by the SEE festival in a special online competition Registered visitors to the SEE web site can view and vote for their favourite film.

To open the Festival, BAFTA award-winning documentary maker Louis Theroux will be talking about the documentaries he made that shaped a generation’s approach to documentary film-making on Friday 19 February at the Corn Exchange, Brighton at 7.45pm. Theroux is best remembered for his series Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekend and Louis Theroux Meets. . .

On Saturday afternoon (20 February, 2.30pm, the Regency Suite, The Old ship Hotel) a short documentary by film-maker and University of Sussex Media and Film lecturer Wilma De Jong – Back at the Ranch – will be shown. It is one of four films that form the Against The Tide programme, which makes use of archive film. The film tells the story of Enid Briggs, a passionate horsewoman who set up a home for old and retired horses.

On Saturday evening (20 February, Paganini Suite, Old Ship Hotel, 7pm), fellow University of Sussex Media and Film lecturer Lizzie Thynne will be interviewing controversial film-maker Penny Woolcock after the screening of her latest film, 1 Day, described as a “hip hop and grime musical’. The film was withdrawn from Birmingham cinemas on the advice of police in the city, because of its gangland subject matter.

Notes for Editors


For details of film courses at the University of Sussex, visit the Media and Film web site.

For interviews and/or images contact University of Sussex Press officers Maggie Clune or Jacqui Bealing on 01273 678 888 or email


Last updated: Friday, 19 February 2010