All in AnOther

An interview can be a very unusual thing – you have a limited window to get to know a complete stranger, chatting to them about the intimate details of their life, their work and their ambitions, asking personal, sometimes probing, questions in a bid to get a better understanding of who they are. A brief conversation gets distilled into a concentrated character study, a fragment used to represent the wider whole. It’s a process that’s necessarily incomplete – you miss small but important details, you push past personal anecdotes to ask about the project at hand, you trim their words until you’ve fit them into a handful of paragraphs, hoping that you’ve managed to hold on to something meaningful. All that is to say, I wasn’t sure how to write Cameron Boyce’s final interview.

One of the largest and most significant celebrations of non-fiction filmmaking in Europe, the 26th edition of acclaimed documentary film festival Sheffield Doc/Fest returns to South Yorkshire from 6th to 11th June this year. Featuring a powerful, thought-provoking and eclectic mix of features, shorts, discussions, talks, workshops and live performances this year’s festival explores ‘ways of seeing,’ providing a platform for emerging filmmakers to share new perspectives on themes as varied as politics, power, climate change, gender and sexuality.

Celebrated as a springboard for emerging cinematic talent, the Sundance Film Festival returns to London this May/June at the Picturehouse Central with an eclectic and informative mix of features, documentaries, shorts, discussions and talks. We’ve picked five favourites you won’t want to miss.

“I was extremely relieved to sit down to lunch with him and have him say, ‘Ask me anything you want’” says Dexter Fletcher when I ask him what it was like when he first met with Elton John, the subject of his latest film, Rocketman. The biopic, which catalogues Elton’s meteoric rise to fame from the 60s to the early 90s, is a fantastical parade of colour, costumes and camp, punctuated with elaborate musical reveries that let the story drift into moments of dream-like wonder.

Whilst aural storytelling is a tradition as old as time, podcasting has breathed new life into spoken word. Here we shortlist our favourites for spring, from memoirs about mental health, to documentary anthologies, cultural critiques to fictional feminist dramas about art and attraction.

One of the largest and most significant celebrations of queer cinema in Europe, the 33rd edition of acclaimed LGBTQ film festival BFI Flare, returns to the Southbank from 21st March to 31st March this year. Featuring a powerful, thought-provoking and eclectic mix of features, shorts, discussions, talks, workshops and club nights, this year’s festival reflects on themes of sex, identity, politics and community.

In 2009, aged 18, student filmmaker Lukas Dhont happened across the story of Nora Monsecour whilst leafing through a Belgian newspaper. Nora, a young trans girl, wanted to become a ballerina but her school had refused to allow her to switch classes. That story and the courage Nora displayed in asserting her identity, captivated him, “I was immediately very drawn to her as a person, I thought, wow how extraordinary that a 15 year old is able to be so true to herself.”

Take a look at any of Sebastián Lelio’s recent films and one thing becomes abundantly clear – the Chilean director has a particular knack for telling thoughtful stories, anchored by complex, compelling, assertive women. Perhaps best-known for his Academy Award winning A Fantastic Woman (Una Mujer Fantástica) – which sees Marina Vidal fight for an acknowledgement of her humanity and her grief after the death of her long-time lover Orlando – his latest feature pushes that sensibility a step further. Disobedience, based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Naomi Alderman, follows Ronit as she returns home to the Orthodox Jewish community where she grew up, in preparation for her father’s funeral. There she reconnects with old childhood friends, Dovid and Esti, reigniting a relationship that pushes the boundaries of faith and sexuality. With its focus on these three friends, their history, how they challenge one another and, in the process, themselves, Lelio elevates the story to what he calls “a baroque piece where you have three narrative lines which are mixing all the time.”

“It’s a comedy, a drama, a teen, coming-of-age film wrapped up in a popcorn crunching blockbuster,” says Hari Nef, when I ask her how she’d describe Assassination Nation. A modern day retelling of the Salem witch trials set in the Snapchat age, Assassination Nation is just that – an irreverent, candy coloured, pop-horror which aims to skewer fragile masculinity and misogynistic hysteria with sahara dry satire and four, matching, red-plastic macs.

“I was talking to an editor about writing prose. I was trying to figure out my life basically,” says Desiree Akhavan, when I ask her how she first stumbled across a copy of Emily Danforth’s The Miseducation Of Cameron Post. Danforth’s novel tells the story of Cameron, a young Montana girl who’s raised by a religious aunt after both her parents die in a tragic car accident. Akhavan’s adaptation of the book focuses largely on the second half of Cameron’s story – the time she spends at “God’s Promise,” a gay conversion therapy camp, after being caught having sex with a close female friend in the backseat of her date’s car at the school prom. “This was the first thing I’d read that felt really honest about the experience of being a teen and coming of age. It also happened to be queer and female driven but that wasn’t the only thing about it that made it really special to me.”