Doc/Fest 2017: 6 unmissable days of the World’s best documentaries in Sheffield

Doc/Fest 2017: 6 unmissable days of the World’s best documentaries in Sheffield

22 May 2017

Only in Sheffield… six unmissable days of the World’s best documentaries, virtual reality and interactive experiences and talks.
The 24th edition of Sheffield’s international documentary festival Doc/Fest is set to take place 9 June - 14 June 2017 and once again features a huge line-up  of real stories, both home-grown and from around the world, including a record number of world, international, EU and UK premiere titles across their Film and Alternate Realities programmes.

As well as returning Doc/Fest regulars such as Louis Theroux and Stacey Dooley, special guest speakers attending the Festival for the first time include the likes of Sir Lenny Henry in conversation with June Sarpong MBE, Peter Greenaway CBE, Years and Years Frontman Olly Alexander, Walter Murch,  and Ian Hislop with Jolyon Rubinstein.

The film programme alone features a record 183 documentary features and shorts from around the world, including 35 World, 21 International, 24 European and 74 UK Premieres.  

The Festival opens and closes with two highly relevant titles from the UK. On Friday 9 June, to mark 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act, Doc/Fest launches with the Opening Night World Premiere of Daisy Asquith’s documentary Queerama, followed by a short live performance from singer-songwriter John Grant at Sheffield’s City Hall.

While on the final day of the Festival, Doc/Fest honours the Yorkshire MP Jo Cox with a special closing night screening of Toby Paton’s Jo Cox: Death of an MP, followed by a discussion about Jo’s legacy.

The rest of the Festival’s flourishing film programme will be screened at venues across the City including Doc/Fest’s long-time home, Sheffield Showroom plus the brand new venue, The Light Cinema at The Moor and two outside pop up screens, the Free Screen on Tudor Square and The Light Free Screen on Howard Street. In addition to this, Abbeydale Picturehouse, Moor Theatre Delicatessen and The Leadmill will also be hosting special event screenings.

From Sheffield City Hall, the Festival will screen the UK Premiere of WHITNEY ‘Can I Be Me' including a tribute performance from Michelle John from The Voice, who performed with Whitney Houston as a backing vocalist in 1999. Following the screening Sarah Jane Crawford will interview director Nick Broomfield. Supported by the BFI, the evening will be broadcast live to 130 cinemas across the UK and Ireland. Plus on Sunday 11 June, Broomfield will be interviewed by Louis Theroux at the Crucible Theatre.

The free Alternate Realities Programme, supported by Arts Council England, will allow audiences to touch, swipe and play their way through ground-breaking, sensory story-worlds, experiencing the latest innovations. This year’s exhibition will spill out onto the streets of Sheffield across a total of four venues, including the Immersive VR and Interactive Exhibitions in Millennium Gallery plus two new immersive VR domes, the Virtual Reality Portal on Tudor Square and Virtual Reality Campfire Dome on Upper Chapel Street with 26 exhibits from thirteen different countries, including one Festival commission, 12 World, 1 International, 5 European and 8 UK Premieres.

If all that wasn’t enough, Doc/Fest have also lined up a series of exceptional live event experiences. A boundary-defying virtual reality experience and live performance, the International Premiere of Doom Room from Danish VR filmmaking studio Makropol is a guided meditation with the participant as the main character. Taking place at Theatre Delicatessen - an old Woolworth’s store - audiences are blindfolded and transported to the afterlife.

Continuing the theme of the human response to fear, and why we are attracted to testing our limits, at the Abbeydale Picture House the Festival presents a night of frights as the 1920s picture palace is transformed into a cavern of thrills for the screening of Florian Habicht’s Spookers. 

An acoustic performance at The Leadmill will precede a special screening of Joe Cocker: Mad Dog with Soul, John Edington’s documentary about one of Sheffield’s wildest souls, which will be attended by Cocker’s brother, Vic Cocker and his former band mate Phil Crookes.

For the 20th anniversary of The Full Monty, ITV have commissioned The Real Full Monty, which follows a cast of celebrities as they prepare to perform their own ‘Full Monty’. Join presenters Alexander Armstrong and Ashley Banjo, along with members of the cast and crew for a special preview screening and talk, with parts of filmed at the Shiregreen working men’s club in Sheffield as featured in the original Full Monty film.

And that’s just a small selection of highlights from this year’s Doc/Fest for the complete programme of all the films, talks, session, industry events, and buy tickets visit or download and peruse the full festival the programme here