Sheffield Doc/Fest Announces 2019 Programme Highlights

Sheffield Doc/Fest Announces 2019 Programme Highlights

09 May 2019

Sheffield Doc/Fest announces the line-up for its 26th edition, which takes place from 6-11 June, including documentaries, interactive work, talks and performances from filmmakers, artists and talent, from the North and from all over the world.

Highligts include:

  • FILM Asif Kapadia’s Diego Maradona opens the festival, plus BAFTA Masterclass;
  • FILM Spotlight strand includes Ai Weiwei, Werner Herzog, Jeanie Finlay, Nick Broomfield, Waad Al-Kateab, Ursula Macfarlane;
  • ALTERNATE REALITIES free digital art exhibitions featuring 28 immersive, interactive experiences and live performance;
  • 54% of titles in the Film programme made by women;
  • 50% of projects in Alternate Realities programme made by women;
  • Accessible & Affordable Festival: return of From Door To Doc, The Light Free Screen on Howard Street and Doc/Fest Exchange on Tudor Square;
  • Celebration of Northern Stories including world premiere of Sheffield-based filmmaker about Woodseats Working Men's Football Club; 
  • Northern feminist film collectives featured in Focus/Shapes That Move;
  • TALKS include Sir Bradley Wiggins, Stacey Dooley, Chidera Eggerue (aka The Slumflower), Paul Greengrass, Nick Hornby;
  • LIVE MUSIC performances include Summer Camp, Kate Nash and Bo Ningen;
  • LIVE EVENTS: Justice Syndicate from the Newcastle-based fanSHEN company; performance from Manchester natives House of Ghetto, voguing collective;

The festival opens on Thursday 6 June at Sheffied City Hall with the much anticipated Diego Maradona, a wild and irreverent look at one of the world’s most iconic sportsmen, both on and off the pitch, during his infamous time in Naples. Made by the Academy and BAFTA-winning team behind Amy and Senna, the screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Asif Kapadia.

In the film programme the world premiere of The Campaigners by Sheffield’s own Jamie Taylor takes its audience inside the changing room of the local Woodseats Working Men's Football ClubTodd Douglas Miller’s Apollo 11  featuring never-before-seen footage - sourced by Sheffield-based NASA archive expert Stephen Slater - goes straight into the heart of NASA's most celebrated mission, as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin embark on a historic trip to the moon; Radical Broadcasts, a programme specially commissioned for Sheffield Doc/Fest celebrates the work of television director and Yorkshire-native Mike Dibb, co-creator of John Berger's revolutionising Ways of Seeing, the festival tagline. Mike Dibb will attend the festival.

A new addition to the festival’s film programme is Spotlight, highlighting screenings followed by extended conversation. Included within Spotlight are: acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei with The Rest a film about refugees who fled war and persecution and arrived in Europe and now live in limbo within a disintegrating humanitarian aid system; Werner Herzog with Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin, hosted by Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two, a portrait of one of the 20th century’s most charismatic writers and a revealing personal insight into the imagination and obsessions of one of the world’s most visionary directors.

Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts with For Sama hosted by Jon Snow about the experience of war told as a message from a young Syrian mother, Jeanie Finlay and Freddy McConnell, with Seahorse: The Dad who Gave Birth which documents one trans man’s pioneering quest to fulfil the age-old desire to start his own family, Nick Broomfield with Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, a beautiful yet tragic love story between Leonard Cohen and his Norwegian muse Marianne Ihlen, Ursula Macfarlane plus panel with Untouchable, the inside story of the meteoric rise and monstrous fall of movie titan Harvey Weinstein, revealing how Weinstein acquired and deployed his formidable power over the course of decades, Seamus Murphywith A Dog Called Money which investigates the creative process behind British musician PJ Harvey’s album The Hope Six Demolition Project.

Speakers in the Talks programme include Stacey Dooley, Nick Hornby, Werner HerzogChidera Eggerue (aka The Slumflower), Paul Greengrass, Rodney P, Carol Morley, and Jenn Nkiru whose new short BLACK TO TECHNO will have its UK premiere at the festival.

Each year Doc/Fest spills out into an array of venues and public spaces across Sheffield. Tudor Square will once again form one of the main hubs with the Doc/Fest Exchange: Healthy Planet, supported by Wellcome, brings together a specially curated programme of talks, films and conversations inspired by the convergence of social, environmental and digital movements.

Also supported by Wellcome, the From Door to Doc access initiative, which aims to break down the barriers to entry for those living in areas of Sheffield City Region which rarely engage in the arts, by offering a suite of activity & return travel to the festival for only £1.

The Light Free Screen on Howard Street will offer free screenings including Jodie Foster-narrated Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché about one of the first women filmmakers, and The Great Pretendersset at the TribFest, a tribute bands festival in Yorkshire.

Twenty-eight projects will be exhibited at Alternate Realities, Sheffield Doc/Fest’s digital art programme, which runs throughout the festival. Featuring two free exhibitions, Subconscious Sensibilities at Site Gallery, and Converging Sensibilities in the VR Cinema at Sheffield Hallam’s Performance Lab plus a pop-up igloo on Site Square.

The exhibition at Site Gallery features 15 immersive and interactive artworks that stimulate all the senses, including Algorithmic Perfumery which uses personal data to train an AI system to make an original scent for every visitor. The VR cinema at Sheffield Hallam’s Performance Lab brings together audiences to collectively experience twelve 360° narrative documentary experiences.

On Sunday 9 June The Alternate Realities Summit returns to examine the art and craft of digital storytelling.This year entitled  Incomputable Sensibilities, the summit will be a day-long event of provocative and artistic debate, with talks, presentations, panel discussions and performances from the world’s leading immersive and interactive storytellers.

This is just a brief overview of the vast programme of screenings, interactive work, exhibitions, talks, performances, industry events on offer at Sheffield Doc/Fest 6-11 June 2019. For full programme information, festival passes and tickets head to: