Sky Atlantic unveiled the first fruits of its documentary push today, showcasing six of its feature length films at the Sky Atlantic Documentary Film Festival – a specially curated day of screenings, Q&As and masterclasses at the Rich Mix centre in Shoreditch.

The channel has invested in or acquired six feature length docs to broadcast from early November, and they were all on show at the Festival which acted as a launchpad for the films.

The season kicks off with the adrenaline-packed and moving The Crash Reel, from director Lucy Walker, a portrait of American champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce’s recovery from a terrible accident. The film opened the Sundance Film Festival to widespread critical acclaim.

The Crash Reel screened this morning at the festival, with Walker and Pearce on hand for a Q&A afterwards.

Other films include director Beeban Kidron’s Inreallife, Alison Klayman’s Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry and Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing; Greg Barker’s Manhunt and James Toback’s Seduced and Abandoned.

From a standing start, it’s a hugely impressive collection of films that Sky has assembled. And the decision to launch them at a day long festival seemed to underline the effort, both in terms of finance and time, that Sky has put into its documentary push.

“This is a statement of intent of our commitment to documentary film-making,” said Sky Atlantic director Elaine Pyke at the launch of the festival.

Sky head of factual Celia Taylor added that the investment in feature docs was “a long term commitment”, pointing out that Sky had invested in films that wouldn’t deliver until 2015 and 2016.

Sky also confirmed two further films for 2014: the Johnny Depp fronted doc on Ralph Steadman, For No Good Reason; and the next film from Errol Morris, The Unknown Known, a portrait of former US secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld.

Tim Dams

Share this story

Share Televisual stories within your social media posts.
Be inclusive: is open access without the need to register.
Anyone and everyone can access this post with minimum fuss.