Sheffield Doc/Fest programme announced

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Last Updated: May 8, 2015 1:05 am GMT
(May 8, 2015) From 5 to 10 June Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015 will welcome 250+ decision makers from 30 countries, including representatives from ABC, Al Jazeera, ARTE, BBC Britdoc, Channel 4, Cinereach, Chicken and Egg, Danish Broadcasting Corporation, National Geographic, NDR, National Film Board of Canada, Wellcome Trust, PBS, POV, SXSW, SBS and Tribeca Film Institute. Nine delegations will attend: BFI Film Audience Network Delegation, Jordanian Delegation, Nordic Delegation, Northern Film & Media Delegation, Mexican Delegation, Scottish Delegation, South African Delegation, Ukrainian Delegation VPRO Dutch Delegation.



Between the Marketplace, Doc Campus Industry Sessions, Interactive at Sheffield and the international documentary programme festival delegates choose from over 280 special events, panels, films and projects as well as network, relax (or skate) at Doc/Fest’s famous drinks and party events.

Opening and Closing Films:
The festival opens at the Sheffield Showroomwith Joshua Oppenheimer’s hotly anticipated The Look of Silence(UK premiere), in which a family that survives the genocide in Indonesia confronts the men who killed one of their brothers, andat the City Hall, the world premiere of Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson’sThe Greatest Shows on Earth: A Century of Funfairs, Circuses and Carnivals, a music and archive film with a brand new score by Georg Hólm and Orri Páll Dýrason of Sigur Rós and the Head of the Pagan Church in Iceland and godfather of Icelandic music, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson.A celebration of the lives of the travelling showpeople has been created with exclusive access to The University of Sheffield’s National Fairground Archive who made this extraordinary footage available for the first time. A Sagafilm/Crossover Production in Association with The National Fairground Archive for BBC Storyville and RUV Iceland and SVT in Sweden, supported by the Icelandic Film Fund. Additional Archive material from Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center and North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University. The film will be followed by a Q&A from the director and musicians.

Doc/Fest closes on 10th June at the Crucible Theatre with Monty Python: The Meaning of Live(EU premiere) followed by a conversation with Michael Palin and directors Roger Graef and James Rogan hosted by comedian Josie Long.

Headline speakers:

Two ‘In Conversation’ events: filmmaker John Akomfrah, talking to BBC presenter Francine Stock on Saturday 6 June (Akomfrah as the subject of this year’s retrospective in the film programme); filmmaker Nino Kirtadze who has directed five films which centre on issues related to Georgia And Russia and the relationship between the two will be in conversation on 7thJune. Her film Don’t Breath is in the film programme.


Three filmmaker masterclasses are: BBC Film Programme’s Danny Leigh will talk with Jeanie Finlay about her work and distribution strategies, and unpick methods and motivations with Joshua Oppenheimer whilst Brett Morgen will talk about his critically acclaimed work during a session with Chris Wilson, Head of Popular Factual at 7 Wonder.

Other headline speakers include: Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell, stars of ITV's Long Lost Family, who will share insights into delivering some of the most emotionally powerful scenes on television; historian and BBC TV presenter Lucy Worsley (The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain (2014) and Dancing Cheek To Cheek: An Intimate History of Dance (2014)), who brings history to life; Jolyon Rubinstein, Heydon Prowse and Joe Wade, creators and presenters of BBC Three's The Revolution Will Be Televised will talk to Owen Jones about their BAFTA winning TV series. BUG, the BFI’s ever-popular big screen extravaganza of music video and online creativity, returns to Sheffield Doc/Fest with another special show.

77 Documentary Campus’ Conference Sessions:

BBC One ControllerCharlotte Moore will talk to Doc/Fest Chairman Alex Graham about her priorities for the channelfor theBBC Interview; filmmaker Dan Reed will talk to Deputy Chief Creative Officer Ralph Lee about his award-winning body of work including Escortsfor the Channel 4 Interview; Kim Shillinglawwill talk about her ambitions for the future of factual on BBC Two and BBC Four.

Commissioning Panels on Monday 8th include: Specialist Factual chaired by Emma Read (Emporium Productions); Documentary chaired by Ruth Pitt; Arts chaired by Will Gompertz (BBC); Factual Entertainment chaired by Alex Graham; and Alternative Platforms chaired by Charlie Phillips (The Guardian).

BBC Newsnight editor Ian Katz will discuss with Storyville editor Nick Fraser about his introduction of a short form documentary element to the programme and the relationship between nightly current affairs, short form content and documentary. The short form will also be scrutinised in Make It Short: The Rise of the Short Form Docwhich will look at how explore hownew funding and distribution opportunities are fuelling the success of short-form docs. In Documentaries for the Next Generationthe panel will consider how attention spans are shrinking and how many young people are choosing YouTube and games over traditional viewing on TV.

Women will take centre-stage in Women In Industrychaired by Cat Cooper with Deborah Zimmerman (Women Make Movies), Jeanie Finlay (director Orion: The Man Who Would Be King), Corrina Antrobu (Bechdel Test Fest) and Leslee Udwin (director India’s Daughter).

Two sessions look at the future for the next generation of filmmakers: and the BFI session Getting A Foot in the Door: Next Steps for Young Filmmakers, chaired by Charlie Lyne will give insight into the lifecycle of a film from development to distribution, and top tips on how to help first time filmmakers to get noticed, and how to get a film seen and The Future of Documentary Exhibition, chaired by Charlie Phillips will look at how new collaborations with newspapers and VoD platforms will play an important part in featuring new formats and opening up new ways of story-telling, financing, development and distribution.

Delegation sessions from South Africa and the Ukraine: My Film, Your Moneywill explore the influence of European and North American funders on filmmakers from Africa and Latin America; and Keep Calm and Shoot in Ukrainewill explore the Ukrainian cinematographic landscape of the past ten years, as well as the current (co)-production and funding situation.

New projects and films from Ukraine will be presented.

Interactive at Sheffield presented by Crossover

The session and marketplace focus on 6th and 7th June is Interactive at Sheffield presented by Crossover Labs with the Crossover Summit, Crossover Market, Interactive Exhibition featuring 16 projects at the Millennium Gallery, and Virtual Reality Arcade featuring nine virtual reality projects at the Site Gallery feature nine of the most cutting edge artistic and factual work made for this exciting new platform, including a new commission, and five Interactive sessions in the conference.

Crossover Summit

The day-long series of talks exploring the outer edges of documentary returns to Sheffield Doc/Fest on Saturday 6thJune. Beginning with interactive documentary compered by Catherine Allen, app producer at London-based Touchpress who won a BAFTA for Disney Animated,followed by a VRfternoon run by Nonny de la Peña– “godmother of virtual reality”.

Speakers include: Ram Davineni, co-producer of The Russian Woodpecker (screening in the film programme), who is also showing Priya’s Shakti in the Millennium Gallery; Nigerian author Nadia Denton on youth, mobiles and interactivity in Africa; Mel Woods from the University of Dundee on how to bring serendipity back into our lives, a panel discussion exploring the overlap of games and neuroscience with neuro-gamer Karen Palmer (whose SyncSelf 2 installation is featured in the Millennium Gallery), Thrill Engineer Professor Brendan Walker who studies brain activity to create thrill-park rides; neuroscientist Erinma Ochu and David Khonsari, former game developer from Rockstar who will talk about Empathy Games and his game 1979 Revolution.

Nonny de la Peñawill talk about immersive journalism and introduce her latest project Kiya.UN advisor Gabo Arora, creator of Clouds Over Sidra, will talk about VR, presence and advocacy. Director Richard Nocklestalk about VR for indies and what young production companies need to know.

As part of the Ideas & Science strand, supported by the Wellcome Trust: Thomas Wallner from Deep Inc. (Digital Entertainment Every Platform) will explore the new storytelling language of VR, looking at editing and narrative in 360 degrees. Alchemy, the company behind David Attenborough’s new Oculus Rift experience will speak about the audiences role VR storytelling. May Abdalla and Amy Rose of Anagram who brought Door Into the Dark to Doc/Fest last year (which just won the Storyscapes Award at the Tribeca Film Festival), will bring us The Reality Reality Show.

Oscar Raby will explore what VR offers for artists and how interactive projects can be exhibited.

Five panels offering advice and insight into the craft of interactive documentary: Making Multiplatform Magic looks at best practice and what works online,Is the Future of Cinemas and Festivals in Interactive Content?asks how you exhibit arts and interactive?; Interactive Filmmaking 101 puts interactive filmmaking platforms to the test ; Creatinga Visual Journeylooks at what happens when cinematic docs become interactive, and in the Financing and Commissioning Crossmedia panel we hear from some of the people who fund multiplatform.

(See separate Interactive at Sheffield press release for full details.)

Ideas & Science, supported by the Wellcome Trust
Ideas & Science will highlight controversy and bring experimentation to the heart of Doc/Fest, bringing together innovative storytelling across genres, platforms and live events.

Five sessions include: Jon Snow, Ingvil Giske (prod: Good Girl) and Teresa Camou (dir: of Sunu) will explore how to turn controversial topics into compelling documentaries in Making Waves, Courting Controversychaired by Sophie Heawood; comedian Robin Inceand friends on unthinkable and quirky commissions in Final Frontiers 101;agony aunt, psychotherapist, author and TV presenter Philippa Perry in conversation with fellow agony aunt, journalist and celebrated author Virginia Ironside inSex, Lies and Love Bitesand Science Commissioning Panellooks at how the latest talent, trends, technology is pushing the boundaries of science programming, and how programme-makers can make their ideas stand out from the crowd. Other sessions include: Sound of the Cosmos: The Making of...comedian Chella Quint and the collaborators of Sounds of the Cosmos(which features in the Special Events programme) for a behind the scenes look at the art, science and audiovisual design of bringing a breathtaking voyage to the outer limits of the universe to life.

(See separate Ideas & Science press releases for full details.)

ArteFact, supported by Arts Council England:

ArteFact supported by the Arts Council England includes two new artist commissions from Heather Phillipson and Oscar Raby who are both producing new, immersive works, plus a programme of documentaries made by artist-filmmakers including Omer Fast, Bill Morrison and Nelly Ben Hayon.

Three sessions supported by the Arts Council England: Meet the Artist-Filmmakers: Working across Gallery and Cinema Settingsincludes Nelly Ben Hayoun and looks at how exciting work in this liminal space gets made; Meet the Arts Commissioners: Producing for Broadcast and for Galleries, Penny Woolcock asks TV execs and gallery commissioners how work gets funded for different screens and spaces;Online Platforms for the Arts: Put out to Pasture or a Place for Innovation?,Matte Locke, founder of Storythings and ex-multiplatform commissioner at Channel 4, asks representatives from the BBC’s Get Creative, The Space and Channel 4’s Random Acts about the state of arts content made for the web.

At Site Gallery, Virtual Reality Arcade Oscar Raby (previous winner of the Interactive Audience Award for Assent) will present Hola World, commissioned by Site Gallery and Doc/Fest, while at Castle House, a disused department store in the city centre, British visual artist Heather Phillipson will present FINAL DAYS a site-specific video and sculptural installation commissioned by Sheffield Doc/Fest in partnership with the University of Sheffield and Serpentine Galleries, and supported by Arts Council England.

The ArteFact film strand includes: hot from its world premiere at SXSW, artist, filmmaker and self confessed space-addict Nelly Ben Hayoun’s Disaster Playground (international premiere) which investigates future outer space catastrophes and the procedures to manage and assess the risks; Test Dept’s DS30a political collage of sound and image, originally commissioned by AV Festival, marks 30 years since the 1984-85 miners’ strike; Omer Fast’s 5,000 Feet is the Best based on two meetings with a Predator drone operator, recorded in USA, 2010; and sourced from original 35mm nitrate footage shot during the first World War Bill Morrison’s Beyond Zero: 1914 - 1918 pieces together a unique visual exploration from footage that has never before been viewed by modern audiences. Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov created the score, commissioned and performed by the Kronos Quartet.

The International Film Programme:
The international film programme curated by Director of Programming & Industry Engagement Claire Aguilar comprises a record 150 feature & short docs from 35 countries, including 31 world premieres, 13 international, 19 EU, and 40 UK premieres. New works by Sean McAllister; Parvez Sharma; Jeanie Finlay; Brett Morgen; Stanley Nelson; Kirby Dick; Brian Hill; Morgan Neville; Nino Kirtadze; Matthew Heineman andMarc Silver plus Adam Curtis’ archival triumphBitter Lake, the first time it’s been screened in a cinema setting; and the BFI National Archive 2K restoration of the British edition of the legendary 1935-1951 cinema newsreel The March of Time (famously parodied at the start of Citizen Kane).

Films and Interactive projects in Competition:
The Doc/Fest Awards’ Ceremony hosted by comedian Jeremy Hardy will be held on 10th June at the Crucible Theatre.

In competition for the Grand Jury Prize are: Parvez Sharma’s A Sinner in Mecca (EU premiere), the journey of a gay, devout Muslim as he makes a Hajj pilgrimage despite the many potential dangers; Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning film The Russian Woodpecker (UK premiere) directed by Chad Gracia which follows Ukrainian artist Fedor Alexandrovich and his collaborators as they set out to uncover the truth behind the nuclear disaster in his hometown of Chernobyl; the UK premiere of Portraits of a Search (UK premiere), the tale of Mexican mothers desperately searching for their missing children in the midst of the on-going drugs war directed by Alicia Calderón Torres; the deeply personal Good Girl (UK premiere), directed by Solveig Melkeraaen as she recalls her past experiences with depression whilst continuing her battle with the disease; Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguards of the Revolution (international premiere), takes us through the turbulent short life of the Black Panthers in a film rich in both archive and first person testimony; damning expose on sexual assault at American university campuses directed by award-winning Kirby Dick, The Hunting Ground (international premiere); Matthew Heineman’s thought-provoking Cartel Land (UK premiere) which sees everyday citizens become vigilantes in the fight against Mexico’s drug cartels; The Confessions of Thomas Quick (world premiere), Brian Hill’s documentary about a Swedish man with mental health issues who admitted to murdering 39 people but then retracted his confession and was freed 23 years later; Sean McAllister’s latest film, A Syrian Love Story (world premiere), which focuses on two revolutionaries over the course of four years as they fight for freedom and their homeland; A Young Patriot (international premiere) directed by Haibin Du, which follows an idealistic teenager in China as he develops into a young adult, goes to college and volunteers as a teacher whilst the society around him begins to grow restless; after sixty years, a group of elderly women still continue their tradition of meeting for tea once a month to reminisce in award-winning Chilean documentary Tea Time (UK premiere) directed by Maite Alberdi; and Jeanie Finlay returns with Orion: The Man Who Would Be King (UK premiere), the story of Elvis sound-alike Jimmy Ellis and his sudden catapult in to the limelight.

Members of this year’s Grand Jury are: Kaleem Aftab (journalist), John Akomfrah (Smoking Dog Films), Ruby Chen (CNEX), Sigrid Dyekjaer (producer), Alexandra Hannibal (Tribeca Film Institute).

Eight films will be in competition for the Sheffield Environmental Award: Addicted to Sheep (world premiere) directed by Magali Pettier, a year in the life of a tenant farmer and his family in the North East of England as they try to breed prize-winning sheep; Jerry Rothwell’s How To Change The World (EU premiere), the history of green movement pioneers and Greenpeace founders featuring rare archive footage; Rob Moss and Peter Galison’s part observational doc, part graphic novel Containment(UK premiere) which focuses on nuclear waste and what can be done to contain it; Landfill Harmonic (EU premiere) directed by Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley, the story of Paraguayan youth group The Recycled Orchestra who repurpose waste to create musical instruments; Mexican documentary Sunu (world premiere) which explores the lives of maize producers and the culture surrounding the farmers, directed by Teresa Camou Guerrero; Emmy Award-winning director Robert Kenner’s latest film Merchants of Doubt, a revealing look at the world of spin and punditry within the American science industry; Licence to Krill (world premiere), a beautiful study of the keystone species of all life in the Antarctic and beyond directed by David Sington; andMasaaki Miyazawa’s debut feature In Between Mountains and Oceans (EU premiere), a rare insight into Japan’s forests and the culture surrounding them.

Members of this year’s Sheffield Environmental Award jury are: Rehad Desai (Uhuru Productions), Pat Ferns (Ferns Productions Inc), Jeanie Finlay (Glimmer Films), Margret Jonasdottir (SagaFilm), Francesco Giai Via (CinemAmbiente, Environmental Film Festival).

The Doc/Fest Youth Jury is composed of five 18-22 year olds from across the country who have nominated the Youth Jury shortlist and will announce the winner at the Awards Ceremony. The films are: Marc Silver’s 3½ Minutes(international premiere), which examines the tragic shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis in the US; Luke Meyer’s Breaking A Monster (EU premiere) chronicling the journey of teen metal band Unlocking the Truth, whose 13-year-old members signed to Sony for millions of dollars;Little People, Big Dreams(UK premiere), an observational documentary by Mak CK filmed in China’s fairytale amusement park Dwarve’s Empire; Jake Witzenfeld’s Oriented(world premiere) about 3 gay Palestinians living in Israel in the run up to the 2014 Israeli-Gaza conflict; and Speed Sisters (EU premiere) in which director Amber Fares follows five determined women rising up the ranks of the motor-racing scene in the West Bank.

Members of this year’s Youth Jury are: Nyasha Duri (18), Tom Draper (21), Jade Jackman (20), Maia Kelly (21) and Michael Muyunda (22).

Fifteen short documentaries have been selected from this year’s shorts programme to compete for the Short Doc Award. The shortlist includes Dear Araucaria (UK premiere), a journey into the world of legendary John Graham a.k.a Araucaria, creator of The Guardian’s cryptic crossword for over 55 years who revealed his cancer status through the puzzles; plus three world premieres; The Public Life of Manick G., an exploration of the boundaries we encounter with our online lives; intimate portrait Pink Boy which focuses on the relationship between a gender-creative young boy and his adoptive mother; andRELISH, the study of Sheffield’s devotion to Henderson’s Relish and its elevation to a somewhat iconic status is also included in the line-up. As an Oscar-qualifying festival for the Academy Awards category of Best Documentary Short, the winner of the Short Doc Award at Doc/Fest will go on to qualify for the 2016 Academy Awards.

Members of this year’s Short Doc Award jury are: Peter Taylor (Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival), Eva Weber (filmmaker), Derek Richards (Creative Skillset), Will Massa (British Council) and Ailsa Ferrier (Curzon Home Cinema, UK).

A jury will select a winner from ten shortlisted films for The London Film Academy Student Doc Award. The documentaries in the running for the prize include: the world premiere of Esta Vida (This Life), an uncompromising portrait of a group of young girls trying to navigate through life; a tale of two lost souls seeking to become heroes in Perfection is Forever; the inspiring Australian film Ballsy about a Bondi surfer; and Luchadorawhich explores the Mexican sub-culture of female Lucha Libres.

Members of this year’s London Film Academy Student Doc Award jury are: Rebecca Ellis (Little White Lies), Yen Yau (Into Film/ The Grierson Trust), Simran Hans (film journalist), Jordan McGarry (Vimeo), and Daisy Gili (London Film Academy).

In competition for the Interactive Award, Katerina Cizek’s final instalment in the Highrise series, Universe Within: Digital Lives in the Global Heights;personalised web series about privacy and the web economy Do Not Track; PBS POV Hackathon-winner #POETASTR; action/adventure documentary game 1979 Revolution; Priya’s Shakti, the augmented reality comic book which deals with sexual violence; collection of very short and startlingly innovative titbits Interactive Haiku; Clouds Over Sidra, a virtual reality journey through a Syrian refugee camp; and That Dragon, Cancer, a videogame in which Ryan and Amy Green share their family’s intimate journey coping with their five-year-old son’s terminal cancer diagnosis.

Members of this year’s Interactive Award are: Oscar Raby (VRTOV), Mandy Chang (ABC Australia), Bill Thompson (BBC), Catherine Allen (Touchpress) and Jon Kingsbury (Knowledge Transfer Network).

About Doc/Fest:
Sheffield Doc/Fest is the UK's premier documentary and digital media festival. It is the place to see world and UK premieres of the best creative documentaries from the cinema, television and online arenas, and to hear from and meet filmmakers at Q&A sessions. Highlights of the film programme are honoured with an award programme including the Sheffield Grand Jury, Innovation, Environmental, Interactive, Youth Jury, Inspiration, Student Doc, Short Form and Audience Awards. In 2014, 3,263 full festival pass holders attended the Festival and it attracted over 26,700 members of the film-loving public.

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