The Trials of Muhammad Ali. *Photo supplied
The Trials of Muhammad Ali. *Photo supplied


A documentary profiling legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, a film about the power of love and a documentary celebrating women’s suffrage in the Bahamas are among the films lined up for this year’s Bermuda Documentary Film Festival.

The festival, run by Duncan Hall, makes its return to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute from October 17 to 20.

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali is profiled in The Trials of Muhammad Ali, looks at his early days in Louisville, Kentucky, his sporting triumphs, his conversion to Islam — and his fight for justice after facing a five-year prison sentence for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War.

Blood Brother is one of three Sundance award-winners to screen at Bermuda Docs. Winner of a Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, it tells of American Rocky Braat who gave up his comfortable western lifestyle to live among the dispossessed in India. There he discovered a life with meaning helping children living with HIV and AIDS. It will open the festival at 6 pm on Thursday, October 17.

Bahamian filmmaker Marion Bethel will attend the festival with her award-winning film, WomanishWays, which honours and celebrates the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement in The Bahamas. The leaders of teh women's suffrage movement fought for more than a decade to win the right to vote for women. The film won the top prize this summer at a festival in Philadelphia. The film will screen at 8:30pm on opening night, and will be followed by a Q and A.

Another film, The Summit, recalls a deadly day on the world’s most dangerous mountain, which won the Editing Award at Sundance. In August 2008, 18 of 24 climbers reached the summit of K2, the world’s second highest mountain. Two days later, 11 were dead. The film tells the story of what happened to them.

Dirty Wars follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill traces the rise of JSOC, the most secret fighting force in U.S. history.

The festival also features three films that have won festival audience awards (synopses provided by the Festival):

  • Music documentary Muscle Shoals won the audience prize at Hot Docs. It tells the story of FAME Studios in the Alabama backwater of Muscle Shoals, where music producer Rick Hall brought black and white together in Alabama’s cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations. The film features Percy Sledge, Keith Richards, Jimmy Cliff, Bono, Clarence Carter, Alicia Keys and more musicians who bear witness to Muscle Shoals’ influence on popular music.
  • Maidentrip won an audience award at South by Southwest, and tells the story of Dutch sailor Laura Dekker, who in 2012 became the youngest person to sail around the world alone. She was just 14 when she set out alone in 2010 on her 38-foot ketch, Guppy, without a follow boat or support team.
  • Sweet Dreams is a joyful film about the first all-women drumming troupe in Rwanda, formed to help women build new relationships, and to heal the wounds of the past caused by the country’s 1994 genocide. It won the audience prize at a festival in Sweden, a jury prize at a Spanish festival, finishedamong the top 10 in audience voting at the prestigious International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, and has screened at the United Nations.
  • Anita: Speaking Truth to Power, enjoyed four sold out screenings at Sundance this year In this intimate portrait, Anita Hill speaks on how her testimony before the US Senate Judiciary Committee hearings into the suitability of Clarence Thomas to become a US Supreme Court Justice affected her life – and her country.
  • The festival also features environmental documentary People of a Feather, the winner of 10 international festival awards, that documents changing sea ice using time-lapse photography. It explores how this is threatening both the Inuit people and the eider duck in the Canadian territory of Nunavut.
  • A festival favourite, The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne will also be screened. The film offers portrait of the glamorous and charismatic 82-year-old international jewel thief.

Trailers and synopses of all films can be viewed at

Tickets to Bermuda Docs go on sale Friday October 4 at, Sportseller-Washington Mall, Fabulous Fashions-Heron Bay Plaza, or by calling 232-2255. Sportseller will be closed October 10-16 for renovations.