FROM a film about the endangered Iranian techno scene to a retrospective on jazz giant John Coltrane, Doc ‘n’ Roll Film Festival examines music in all its complexity and history. We round-up the programme here

Manchester Keeps on Dancing

Duke’s at Komedia, Jan 18, 6.30pm

Many of us are familiar with the Hacienda nightclub, the legendary Manchester venue that put the city on the musical map in the 1980s and 1990s. This documentary digs deeper than that, though, telling the story of how house music arrived in Manchester from Chicago in the 80s. Featuring interviews with the DJs that spun the tunes that had such a powerful effect on Manchester and the UK.

Play Your Gender

Duke of York’s Picturehouse, Jan 20, 1pm

It might be the case that many of today’s best-loved pop stars are female, but far fewer can be found behind the mixing desk. A recent study found that only 5% of music producers are women – and there have been no female winners of the Grammy for producer of the year. Kinnie Starr delves into this disparity by speaking to esteemed musicians such as Patty Schemel of Hole.

Raving Iran

Duke’s at Komedia, Jan 20, 3pm

Chances are you’re not particularly well-versed in the Iranian techno scene. While that musical genre is at the heart of this film, there’s a powerful human story too, about creativity and persecution. Anoosh and Arash are two of the most important players in the techno movement but, when Anoosh is arrested after selling the duo’s illegally manufactured album, their livelihood comes under severe threat.

Pure Love: The Voice of Ella Fitzgerald

Duke of York’s Picturehouse, Jan 21, 1pm

A musical tribute to the “first lady of song”, to use the grandiose title by which Fitzgerald is often referred. The jazz singer turned 100 last year and this film celebrates the lasting appeal of her soulful songs and rich voice, which was able to span an incredible three octaves. The film has insights from singers such as Dianne Reeves and Dee Dee Bridgewater as it seeks to examine Fitzgerald’s unique talent.

Suburban Steps to Rockland: The Story of the Ealing Club

Duke’s at Komedia, Jan 21, 3.30pm

In 1962 guitarist Alexis Korner and harmonica player Cyril Davies opened the Ealing Club in London – Britain’s first rhythm and blues venue. They were inspired in their quest by blues greats such as Muddy Waters and Sister Rosetta Thorpe. Before long, rock fans from all over the country were flocking to the club and musicians including Ginger Baker and The Rolling Stones were performing there.

Chasing ‘Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary

Duke of York’s Picturehouse, Jan 28, 1pm

This documentary promises to be the “definitive” look at the life and work of a musical great. Denzel Washington, Carlos Santana, Cornell West and other famous fans offer their two cents on Coltrane’s free-wheeling jazz in a film that charts his life until his untimely death at the age of 40.

The Doom Doc

Duke’s at Komedia, Jan 28, 4pm

This eye-opening film lives up to its name as it explores the culture of “doom metal” – a genre of heavy rock that is based around sluggish, grinding riffs and massive amps. Sheffield filmmaker Connor Matheson follows the story of Holy Spider Promotions, a collective who put in doom gigs, in effort to investigate a thoroughly divisive form of music. Along the way he stumbles upon issues such as drug use and mental health.

Doc ‘n’ Roll Film Festival
Duke of York’s Picturehouse and Duke’s at Komedia, Brighton, January 18 to 28. For more information and tickets for all of the films visit