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30th September 2013, 9:46am
Lincoln professor’s award-winning documentary celebrated at historic Asian film festival
Professor Brian Winston An award-winning film-maker from the University of Lincoln has been invited to close Asia’s oldest documentary film festival with a screening of one of his most celebrated works, in the same month his new book hits the shelves.

Professor Brian Winston, Lincoln Chair at the University, was invited to screen A Boatload of Wild Irishmen at the prestigious Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (YIDFF) in Japan. The biennial week-long festival, which is in its 34th year, is internationally recognised as showcasing some of the world’s best independent documentary films.

By shedding light on the history and diversity of filmmaking, YIDFF represents a platform for the production of alternative, independent, non-fiction film and the discussion of documentary as a form of expression.

Professor Winston’s A Boatload of Wild Irishmen was selected to close the festival after winning international acclaim. The documentary film, written and co-produced by Professor Winston in 2011, explores the moral complexities of controversial documentary film-maker, Robert Flaherty.

Recognised as the modern father of documentary, Flaherty was known for his contentious techniques, and the title of Professor Winston’s Boatload refers to one of Flaherty’s most controversial moments. For the climax of his production, Man of Arran, Flaherty filmed the documentary’s subjects battling the dangerous Atlantic sea in a frail boat.

Professor Winston has conducted extensive academic research into Flaherty and his momentous influence on today’s film industry, and he will travel to Japan for the screening on Wednesday 16th October 2013.

He said: “Film festivals have become a really serious addition to the cinema over the last few decades, and so-called 'independent' film now needs them to survive. This is especially true of documentary as it doesn't often get to the mass cinema audience. So Yamagata, as Asia's oldest documentary film festival, has had a vital influence over the development of documentary.

“A Boatload of Wild Irishmen is a couple of years old now, so I was slightly overwhelmed when they said they wanted to close this year's festival by screening it. However, the film explores much of the history behind Western documentary film, which I think is why they are keen for the audience to see it.”

October also sees the publication of Professor Winston’s latest book.

Published by Palgrave Macmillan, the BFI Documentary Film Book is edited by Professor Winston and brings together a series of insightful essays from international experts.

Contributors including Bill Nichols, Michael Renov and Stella Bruzzi discuss the theory of documentary, outline current understandings of its history, survey documentary production, consider documentaries by marginalised minority communities, and assess its contribution to other disciplines and arts.

Brought together by Professor Winston’s comprehensive book, the scholars offer compelling evidence as to why, over the last few decades, documentary has become central to today’s studies of the screen.

The Documentary Film Book is currently available to buy from Amazon, priced at £19.99 [ISBN-10: 1844573419 / ISBN-13: 978-1844573417].

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