The programme for this year’s 20th Sheffield Doc/Fest couldn’t be more exciting. Taking place 12–16 June, the festival features talks, live music, its popular pitching platform MeetMarket, and, of course, a super impressive list of screenings. Here are some of this year’s highlights…
Sheffield Doc/Fest’s chair, Alex Graham, kicked the press launch off by announcing that this year’s inspiration award is to go to non-other then documentary veteran Nick Fraser, editor of BBC documentary strand Storyville.
Heather Croall then continued with the fun revealing that as it is their 20th anniversary, the festival will have not just one opening night, but three. The coolest one of those being a screening of the jaw-dropping documentary The Summit, which will be shown in a cave in the Peak District.
Croall also treated the audience to a clip of Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer, which will get its UK premiere at the festival. The documentary, from Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, tells the story of the members of the feminist art collective Pussy Riot – who were arrested in Russia on charges of religious hatred.
This year also features a stellar line-up of guest speakers, featuring top names in broadcasting, including Michael Palin, Trevor McDonald, Alan Yentob, Melvyn Bragg and BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow. Host and producer of This American Life, Ira Glass, is set to make his first UK appearance at the festival to discuss his award-winning programme.
Film programmer Hussain Currimbhoy revealed some of the selected films that will be showing – he had to wade through 2,000 of them to whittle down to 77 features, 33 shorts, 10 interactive and 1 art installation. Highlights from the line-up include: Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic, Muscle Shoals, and God Loves Uganda – a hard-hitting doc about African culture and American Christian evangelists previously shown as part of Sundance London. Another returning popular name from that festival is Black Fish, nothing less than a thriller showing the deadly implications of keeping killer wales in captivity.
Commenting on this year’s festival, Croall said: “Sheffield Doc/Fest at 20 is an exciting place to be. Since I arrived seven years ago the festival has grown exponentially and we’ve done that by making sure we stay ahead of the curve. At Doc/Fest we always strive to broaden the term documentary to deliver a programme that celebrates the form across all platforms.
“This year I am particularly proud that the Interactive programme is the strongest ever, and can be seen right across the festival in speakers, sessions, docs, in The Crossover Lounge and the first ever Crossover Market. And throughout Doc/Fest we will present a live music and film events with some of the most exciting musicians around – I can’t think of a better year!”
For the full programme of films and events, head to the Sheffield Doc/Fest website by clicking here.