Films for everyone with the DocFest Community Programme

Films for everyone with the DocFest Community Programme

02 June 2021

Sheffield’s international documentary festival, DocFest returns this weekend, for 10 amazing days jam-packed with film screenings, talks, performances, art installations, industry events and more, 4 - 13 June 2021.

In the midst of all this, the Community Programme is a specially curated strand of films from across the wider DocFest programme, alongside workshops, talks and inclusive screenings, about stories forged in communities.

Featuring stories that tell our history, our present, our culture and the places we call home, the Community Programme is about thoughts, ideas and manifestos made possible by people coming together, created in partnership with people who live in our city.

As part of the programme, the Showroom Cinema will be hosting three dedicated Community Screenings for Schools, four in-person Relaxed Screenings and three Community Highlight Screenings towards the end of the festival that speak strongly about family, truth, justice and equality.

Screenings of the films will take place both online and in person, including the full DocFest Exchange programme and all the workshops are taking place online. Read on for more details about the relaxed screenings, online workshops and film highlights in the Community Progamme.


Relaxed Screenings

Doc/Fest’s relaxed screenings are sensory adapted cinema, to make them as inclusive as possible. You can move around and make noise during the film, the sound will be a little quieter and the lights will be up a little so you can see around you. There will be a quiet space available for everyone outside of the cinema screen and, as with all the screenings, carer tickets are free.

All these films will also have closed caption subtitles. These screenings are for everyone but have been especially programmed for neurodiverse people. Please note, while DocFest encourage everyone attending screenings to wear a face covering, some people, particularly at these screenings, may be exempt.

All Relaxed Screenings are double bills, beginning with a beautiful short film from the DocFest Exchange programme called Everything.

Ireland, USA - 2017 - David OReilly - 11 min - English Language (Suggested age rating – U)
David OReilly’s Everything is both a short film and a gameplay trailer that meanders boundlessly through the known universe. Starting from the viewpoint of a bear, before freely shifting scale and perspectives, Everything invites us to inhabit the positions of other beings – whether a mushroom, an atom, a mountain, a butterfly, a rock, a bacterium, a blade of grass, or a galaxy.

Relaxed Screening: Alone Together + Everything
USA - 2020 - Bradley & Pablo - 80 mins. English Language
14:30 (BST) / Mon 7 June / Showroom Cinema (Suggested age rating 15 for strong language)
Using a DIY spirit, selfies of live Instagram posts, and a punk- like aesthetic, international pop star Charli XCX turns to her loyal fans, known as Charli’s Angels, to record a semi- collaborative album with them in 40 days during the UK’s first COVID-19 lockdown. This film shows the power music has to connect people and how transparency in the creative process can offer a cathartic form of escapism for many, especially during times of global crisis.

Relaxed Screening: Men Who Sing + Everything
United Kingdom - 2021 - Dylan Williams - 90 min. English and Welsh language.
14:00 (BST) / Tues 8 June / Showroom Cinema
Programme 101 min in total. (Suggested age rating PG)
This humorous and melancholic portrait of a male voice choir in North East Wales, is a moving and inspiring film about singing, togetherness, traditions and family.

The World of Mindfulness / Zing Nim Sai Gaai + Free Art Workshop
11:30 (BST) / Wed 9 June / Showroom Cinema
Hong Kong - 2021 - Ying Liang - 19 min. Cantonese, English, Mandarin
Programme approx 60 mins in total. (Suggested age rating U)
A beautiful and relaxing film from a Chinese filmmaker based in Hong Kong, showing the everyday world of childhood. The screening will be followed by a free session of mindful sounds featuring a live ‘soundbath’ soundscape. Each person will also receive a creativity pack made by Sheffield Community Arts organisation, Ignite Imaginations which will contain the materials and instructions to complete an art activity inspired by the film.  You can choose to do this in your seat, whilst listening to the mindful music, or take it home to complete later.

Relaxed Screening: GUNDA + Everything
Norway, USA - 2021 - Victor Kossakovsky - 93 min.
11:00 (BST) / Fri 11 June / Showroom Cinema
Programme approx 104 mins in total. (Suggested Age Rating U)
A powerful and profound film with no dialogue, using black-and-white cinematography and an ambient soundscape of a farm’s natural noises. From the sow Gunda and her litter of piglets, to a herd of cows, and eventually to a scene-stealing, one-legged chicken, Kossakovsky and co-cinematographer Egil Håskjold Larsen observe the animals as they are rarely seen; up-close and filled with personality.

Community Highlights

Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra
11:00 (BST) / Thurs 5 June / Showroom Cinema
Australia - 2020 - Nel Minchin, Wayne Blair - 95 mins
Marking the Bangarra Dance Theatre’s 30th anniversary, Firestarter takes us through the company’s foundation and spectacular growth. The film recognises Bangarra’s founders and tells the story of how three young Aboriginal brothers – Stephen, David and Russell Page – transformed the dance group into a First Nations cultural powerhouse.

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
11:00 (BST) / Sat 12 June / Showroom Cinema
USA - 2021 - Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler - 117 mins
Taking American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal director Jeffery Robinson’s groundbreaking talk on the history of anti-Black racism in America as a starting point, the film explores the enduring legacy of white supremacy and our collective responsibility to overcome it. This screening will include a performance by Danae Wellington in collaboration with Hive South Yorkshire.

Chelas nha Kau
11:30 (BST) / Sun 13 June / Showroom Cinema
Portugal - 2020 - Bagabaga Studios, Bataclan 1950 - 57 mins
Chelas nha Kau reflects the lives and realities of Bataclan 1950, a group of friends from Zona J – a low-income suburb of Lisbon – who use rap music as a means to express their identity. Shot across three years, and emerging from a workshop with multimedia cooperative Bagabaga Studios, the film was made by the same young people that it features. This screening will include a spoken word performance in collaboration with Hive South Yorkshire. 

DocFest hope you will join them for one of these screenings, but they also have a number of FREE tickets available as part of the Community Programme for people who are unwaged or on a low income - get in touch with Laura or Anthea at if you would like to register for one of these.  They’ll also be there at every event- so feel free to say hello and let them know if you need anything. For more information, email: or visit to book tickets for the screenings.


Free Online Workshops

In addition to all the screenings, the Community Programme is also excited to be producing a series of online workshops inspired by films from across DocFest, in collaboration with people and organisations in Sheffield.

14:00 (BST) / Sat 5 June / Online
Sister: Sistah - The Erasure of the Dark-Skinned Black Woman in Mainstream Media
A participatory workshop inspired by Delphine’s Prayers. A workshop with Nyara Arts centering on how media representations of the dark-skinned black woman affect the audience who look like her. This session will also look at the trope of ‘the strong Black woman’ and how this affects her ability and right to express vulnerability.  With Danae Wellington, Nyara School of Arts.This workshop is open to everyone who has personal experience of these issues in order to provide a safe space for full and frank discussion.

19:00 (BST) / Mon 7 June / Online
When We Click: Making Music Even When We're Not Together
A participatory workshop inspired by Alone Together. In this workshop, partcipants will be working remotely as a group to create a shared sample library, then use those samples to record beats and compositions. No experience necessary! But you will need a smartphone or tablet on which you can install apps (iPhone/iPad or Android is fine). With Lucy Cheesman, SONA - Sound Art Collective.

19:00 (BST) / Tues 8 June / Online
We Are Family: The Special Bond of Singing
A participatory workshop inspired by Men Who Sing with Frankie Armstrong and Val Regan, Natural Voice Network and Dave Camlin, Sage Gateshead and Royal College of Music. Exploring the post-industrial traditions of singing rooted in the labour movement and the folk history of voice.

19:00 (BST) / Wed 9 June / Online
Fire and Land: Ritualistic Movement and Spirituality
A participatory workshop inspired by Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra with Angelina Abel,  Mulembas D'Africa. With a ritualistic approach to movement, this dance workshop offers a release of energy and empowerment through simple choreography whilst respectfully exploring the influence of Bantu culture and spiritual practices.

15:15 (BST) / Sat 12 June / Online
Solidarity Forever: Community Organising and Creative Disruption
A participatory workshop inspired by Factory to the Workers with Tchiyiwe Chihana, UBI Lab. A workshop about grassroots movements and how to take action in your community; to share skills and creativity through collective action to effect change.

15:15 (BST) / Sun 13 June / Online
Soundtracking Streets - Found Sounds and Impromptu Music
A participatory workshop inspired by From the 84 Days. An alternative & progressive take on folk and songwriting, exploring themes on social politics, history and environment with musician and artist Jim Ghedi.

Join the conversation & tell DocFest what you think.

The Community Programme at Sheffield Docfest doesn’t just take place in June during the time of the festival - it will be happening in Sheffield all throughout the year. They’d love to plan some events with you - either in the city centre or in communities across the city. Please get in touch if you would like to collaborate with the team, whether as an individual or someone who represents an organisation or group- the team look forward to hearing from you.