Top Docs - Recent highlights
Here at The Knowledge we're big fans of good documentaries. Real, visceral stories that help keep us in touch with reality through the bombardment of fiction-based material.
We wanted to run through some current non-fiction films that may be in pre-production, shooting or just finished and which we're looking forward to.
Usain Bolt doc
First off, one that is in production, and very relevant because of the current world championships in athletics, is the documentary on Usain Bolt by Fulwell 73. The film will chart the widely-proclaimed 'fastest man alive' as he trains for the Rio Olympics in 2016 to become a three-time Olympic gold medallist in the 100 metre sprint. The project will also show how he plans for his retirement in 2017 and Bolt's incredible achievements to date.
After choosing Gabe and Ben Turner (The Class of '92) to direct the film in early 2015 Usain Bolt said: "When I met Gabe and Ben and heard about their previous work I felt they would be the right people to tell my story and capture my journey to Rio."
Filming on Bolt's preparation began in Jamaica in May.
British Vogue doc
Another highly-anticipated production that is currently gearing up to shoot is the British Vogue documentary from Lightbox. Emmy award-winning Jonathan Chinn and his cousin Simon Chinn - who won Oscars for Man on Wire and Searching for Sugar Man - will produce the project with Richard Macer, who was behind the 2002 trilogy on glamour model Jordan, directing.
With the Chinns involved this will no doubt be more than an average observational doc, look for the renowned pair to delve into the deeper elements of the publication, the life of the models and the behind-the-scenes hectic insanity of the shows and shoots.
Alexandra Shulman, editor-in-chief of British Vogue, said on the documentary: "I am delighted to be working with Lightbox on a documentary to commemorate our centenary. We have never previously agreed to allow cameras into the magazine but 100 years seems a fitting time to demonstrate what a powerful and exciting force Vogue is."
Grace Jones - The Musical of My Life
Thirdly, a film that has been a long time in the making, seven years to be precise. Grace Jones - The Musical of My Life from BBC Films. The project is being directed by Sophie Fiennes who will be making her music documentary debut with the doc. The work will chart the public and private life of the legendary performer and is being co-financed by the BFI Film Fund and Irish Film Board. Knowing Miss Jones, Fiennes will have a lot on her hands with this one and the result will no doubt be a crowd-pleaser.
Kenneth Branagh's Macbeth
Lastly, something we will certainly be looking out for in the future as it is still in the early stages of development, is none other than a Martin Scorsese project. Kenneth Branagh's Macbeth will be subject to a documentary by the iconic filmmaker, as he covers the production of the play over a seven week period as it films at the Leavesden Aerodrome in Hertfordshire. Branagh portrays the Shakespearean anti-hero in this adaption, with the show already being praised as one of the best revivals of the popular story.
So there you have it, some of the exciting productions coming to the documentary scene. We'll look forward to seeing the finished works.
Also on The Knowledge
Disney+ UK has partnered with Northern Ireland (NI) Screen to establish a development fund for NI indies to source a female-skewing single doc.
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has written to the chancellor, urging the Government not to be “complacent” when it comes to targeted tax support for the production of film and high-end television.
Sales of British TV shows hit a record-breaking high of £1.853 billion in 2022-23, a 22% increase on the previous year.
The Grierson Trust has announced the winners of the 2023 British Documentary Awards in association with All3Media.
Banijay has continued its UK scripted expansion by acquiring National Treasure and Help indie The Forge.
The BFI has launched its new National Lottery Creative Challenge Fund, seeking applications from UK screen organisations and production companies to create and run targeted project development labs for features or immersive projects.