History of the Festival

Document is Scotland’s international Human Rights documentary film festival, established in 2003. Document has become a key platform for Scottish and international documentary filmmakers, and a crucial space for the visibility of documentary film as an art form and social practice. Recognised at home and abroad, we work with many local, national and international organisations and are members of the Human Rights Film Network.


Over the last 14 years, Document has screened over 600 films, promoting an expansive understanding of Human Rights to include subjects such as immigration and asylum, women’s rights, war and conflict, self-determination, LGBT rights, justice, social exclusion, workers/unemployed rights, mental health, environmental concerns, global policies and their local consequences, Roma and other minorities, healthcare, addiction and disability issues.


Document has hosted sold-out screenings of critically-acclaimed work such as Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing (2013), and the BAFTA-awarded I am Breathing (2013, Emma Davie, Morag McKinnon). The festival is also a key platform for local filmmakers such as artist-director Carla Novi (Rana Plaza, 2014; Desaparecidos, 2015),

Chris Leslie (The Last Resident of Red Road, 2013; Lights Out, 2015), Camcorder Guerrillas, Plantation Productions, and Digital Desperados.


Besides its open-submission and sourced film programme, Document has curated a rich variety of visual arts and live performances (including music and dance), inviting local artists, musicians and collectives such as Jan Nimmo, Picture Window, Ankur Arts, Machines in Heaven, Teen Canteen, Maryhill Integration Network, etc.


In recent years, Document has chosen to have a shorter, more focused programme (3-4 days). This has resulted in larger average audiences per screening (approx. 40 for last year). In its more condensed format, Document has been reaching an average of 1200 people at its CCA events. Beyond this core programme, Document engages audiences through one-off screenings and collaborations with other film festivals, and has made programme selections available for free at community videotheques in venues outside the city centre. Accessible workshops, masterclasses and panel discussions have fostered debate on the issues raised by the films. Speakers have included the Serbian documentary filmmaker Boris Mitić, Canadian academic Ger Zielinski and Dr Steve Presence, co-founder of the Radical Film Network and Bristol Radical Film Festival.


Document functions as a hub for local community organisations involved in advocacy and awareness-raising on Human Rights issues. Organisations like the Scottish Refugee Council, Amnesty International, and Freedom from Torture are actively involved in contextualising and activating Document’s programme. Ongoing partnerships with Nuremberg, San Sebastian and One World Human Rights Film Festivals have been strengthened by co-participation in festival juries and other collaborative initiatives such as the WAVE project, an EU-sponsored education programme aimed at young people. Academic partners include GRAMNet, the Glasgow Human Rights Network, and Screen Seminars at Glasgow. An exciting new collaboration is the Applied Research Collaborative Studentship award which brings together Document, Glasgow and St Andrews universities through a doctoral research project, in which PhD candidate Alexandra Colta studies human rights film festivals, focusing on Document.


Since its last edition in October 2015, Document has continued to develop through ongoing collaborations. These include Worldscreen events, showcasing creative documentaries on the Palestinian and Israeli conflict, in collaboration with Camcorder Guerrillas; an event on ‘LGBTI Human Rights Activism and Film’ with the University of Glasgow’s Sociology Department and Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, a transnational project based in Canada. In April 2016, Document organised two visual lectures on cycling, politics and cinema, and an nighttime cycle as part of the Radical Film Network Festival and Unconference. We also programmed a screening at Restless Natives festival in the East End of Glasgow in May 2016.





Get in touch

Centre for Contemporary Arts
Cultural Tenant 10
350 Sauchiehall Street
G2 3JD

General enquiries