Sheffield Doc/Fest launches 2020 programme

Sheffield Doc/Fest launches 2020 programme

08 June 2020

Sheffield Doc/Fest has revealed its line-up for 2020, featuring 115 films of all lengths, spanning 50 countries around the world and representing 49 spoken languages, with 22 UK productions included.

The official selection for 2020 includes 31 World Premieres, 15 International Premieres, 5 European Premieres and 40 UK Premieres.

The support of filmmakers and artists around the world, as well as core grant funding from British Film Institute, Sheffield City Council, Arts Council England and Wellcome Trust has enabled Doc/Fest to go ahead in a digital format from June throughout the summer, with live Autumn events planned October - November 2020.

Festival Director Cíntia Gil said: “This year’s programme offers infinite ways to tell stories on film, bringing together various cinematic forms, plurality of voices and ways of expression, and from 50 countries around the world - to Sheffield, and online. The city region of Sheffield would normally have been welcoming thousands of visitors to our annual 6- day documentary festival this month. To not go ahead in some form this year was not an option, we have a commitment to the filmmakers and artists making work in this challenging time, to audiences who want a window to the world outside, and to the City of Sheffield, which supports us with great enthusiasm. We have been overwhelmed by the solidarity and trust shown by those who have contributed to our programme, and are hugely grateful for the financial support of the many funders, sponsors and partners who have made this year’s reconfigured edition possible. Together we hope to give back by supporting a city, industry and a community that has been deeply affected by this crisis” 

Renowned filmmakers include: Abbas Fahdel, Alison Ellwood, Anthony Baxter, Carol Salter, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Jia Zhang-ke, Kim A. Snyder, Lech Kowalski, Lynne Ramsay, Lynne Sachs, Marc Isaacs, Mike Hoolboom, Phil Collins, Sarah Maldoror, Yael Bartana and Sheffield Hallam University graduate Oreet Ashery. New talent and 22 first-time feature filmmakers make up 20% of the programme.

This year Doc/Fest for the first time will extend its activities throughout the rest of the year – both in Sheffield and virtually. From June – November Sheffield Doc/Fest will deliver:

?      An online programme on Sheffield Doc/Fest Selects from 10 June - 10 July for UK audiences;

?      A screening programme in Sheffield cinemas/venues across 4 weekends from October - November (dates/venues to be announced and subject to safe conditions);

?      An online programme in October - November in parallel with live film screenings, on Sheffield Doc/Fest Selects platform for UK audiences;

?      An online programme on Doc/Player, Doc/Fest’s video library, for international industry and filmmakers from 8 June to 31 August.

Doc/Fest welcomes speakers from all parts of the film industry and from across the globe to discuss the current state of the world and what the future may hold virtually. In addition, Doc/Fest has partnered with BFI Player, Doc Alliance Films, The Guardian, and MUBI who will all host curated programmes from within the official selection between July and November.

"We can, and have adapted, and are committed to supporting filmmakers, artists and producers, many of whom have recently had their productions and careers interrupted, and to supporting cinemas that are facing extreme challenges. Doc/Fest values their role in our community and in our cultural, social and political lives. For this reason we encourage audiences to come together when it is safe to collectively support and discuss cinema, whilst also giving the opportunity to engage with the festival for a longer than usual period and via multiple platforms.” adds Cíntia Gil.

Film Programme:

Into the World - Films by essential directors with essential themes that take varied approaches to exploring our past, present and collective future.

Rebellions - Films that try to decipher the world while being an agent of change: either through the promise of revolution by both collective and individual beings, as an act of resistance and protection, or as a refusal to forget.

Ghosts & Apparitions - More experimental films, playing with form and showcasing the dismantling of frontiers based on histories and collective memory.

Rhyme & Rhythm - films where cinema and other art forms meet, whether through performance, theatre, visual art or music. Each film offers encounters and inspirations to a different beat.

Retrospective: Reimagining the Land - films which reassert the primacy of the land as a critical way of thinking about the world and about its various crises - confronting historical images of land, agriculture, rural life and proletarian struggle.

Alternate Realities Programme:
Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Alternate Realities programme is a space for experimentation in digital art, bringing together varied forms and languages, playing with non-fiction boundaries and expanding them. Ghosts & Apparitions is 2020’s curated artist exhibition at Site Gallery, Sheffield, presented in parallel and in dialogue with the film strand of the same name as part of Doc/Fest’s Autumn programme in Sheffield.

Exchange Programme:
Doc/Fest Exchange lies at the heart of the festival spanning films, talks and digital art projects. The ambition this year is to kickstart a rebellion in the making of new work. In partnership with Vídeo nas Aldeias, a programme of films will reflect the diversity of indigenous communities living in Brazilian territories. Whilst the environmental crisis threatens our everyday lives, the programme explores ways in which we can learn from their historical experience of resistance to threat - against their societies, their health and ways of life.  This will culminate in a 3-day celebration of new work, conversations and workshops to share discoveries from Exchange commissions. Open and free to all, it is presented and run in parallel and in dialogue with the Rebellions film strand, as part of Doc/Fest’s Autumn programme in Sheffield. 

Q&As with the filmmakers in the programme, both live and pre-recorded, will take place on a new online platform Sheffield Doc/Fest Selects from July and as part of Doc/Fest’s Autumn programme in Sheffield.

For the general public, the online programme Sheffield Doc/Fest Selects - VOD platform with pay-per-view and subscription options for UK-based public audiences - launches 10 June, including a free Exchange film programme and Q&As with filmmakers. Tickets and access-all-film subscriptions available at from 10 June.

For Digital Industry Passholders, films will be available globally via the festival’s industry platform Doc/Player from 8 June 2020. Industry Digital Passes are available on Sheffield Doc/Fest website.

A number of films from the official selection will screen live in Sheffield once cinemas reopen in the Autumn and will be available online in parallel.

Sheffield Doc/Fest is a film festival and marketplace, celebrating, sharing and debating documentary arts as a collective form of engagement. The festival champions and pushes forward talent, ideas and interaction for the future of film and the arts.
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