Documentaries - Sheffield Doc/Fest


This year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest programme of industry talks and sessions continues to explore a range of topics relevant to the film community...

Here is their Press Release:

“Seismic shifts for the media landscape”

Sheffield Doc/Fest tackles film community’s challenges in its virtual programme. Live Q&As with directors from the 2020 film programme spotlight the art of filmmaking. With its panel A Time To Breathe: Addressing Racism in the Film and TV Industry, Doc/Fest aims to create space for Black filmmakers and follows up on its recent Black Lives Matter statement and pledge to address inequality in the resourcing, expression and distribution of Black British films.

Says Nigel Fischer, Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Head of Talks & Sessions, “The Coronavirus outbreak has seen a worldwide lockdown, many industries including film and TV put on hold, and arts and cultural events and institutions cancelled and closed. Yet, we have also seen extraordinary resilience, community spirit and support from all parts of our industry. There is no doubt that the global pandemic will bring about seismic shifts for the media landscape, but how these will manifest themselves or what this may mean for the future of film as an artform is, as yet, unknown. We’re aiming to explore these questions and more throughout our series of virtual panels and group discussions.”

The virtual programme spanning across summer months welcomes speakers from across the globe to discuss the current state of the filmmaking community and what the future may hold. Subjects include mental health and wellbeing, fostering new and radical methods of collaboration and film production, challenges in both programming and reception of film, rebuilding the industry post-pandemic or opportunities for making new work in the current climate.

A moment to reflect on how the future can feel more equal than the present

Coming up live on Friday 26 June at 11 am, with recording available to all Digital Industry Passholders, is the panel discussion A Time To Breathe: Addressing Racism in the Film and TV Industry with filmmakers George Amponsah, Adeyemi Michael, Dionne Walker, Cherish Oteka, Cassie Quarless and BFI Talent Executive Mathieu Ajan, chaired by Derren Lawford.

Says Derren Lawford, Creative Director of Woodcut Media and Sheffield Doc/Fest Trustee, ”It’s only been a month since George Floyd’s life was taken by a US police officer, but the ripples and responses have been rapid. YouTube has pledged $100m to support black creators; Sky created a £30m racial injustice fund; Channel 4 declared themselves an anti-racist organisation and the BBC has committed £100m to making its content more diverse and inclusive. There have been a slew of open letters signed by thousands of Black people in the film and TV industry and their allies from other communities demanding meaningful, substantive change. All this against the backdrop of a global pandemic that is still disproportionately affecting Black and Asian people and other minorities across the globe. This timely session gives Black filmmakers, producers and execs in the industry a moment to reflect on how all of this is affecting them, their peers and their community and how the future can feel more equal than the present.”

Details of the Virtual Sessions programme can be found on Sheffield Doc/Fest’s website. All virtual sessions are available to Digital Industry pass holders to watch live on Zoom or recorded on the festival’s Doc/Player platform until 31 August. Doc/Fest will follow these events with a programme of streamed talks with filmmakers and on-screen talent and industry panel sessions, which will take place in Sheffield venues from October - November 2020, details to be announced at a later date, subject to safe conditions.

Live Q&As with directors from the 2020 film programme spotlight the art of filmmaking

The programme of live Q&As with directors from the 2020 film programme of Doc/Fest is shedding light and another perspective on the art of filmmaking. All films are available to watch on Sheffield Doc/Fest Selects until 10 July and on Doc/Player until 31 August, and the Q&As are free and open to all.

Today, June Ra'anan Alexandrowicz, director of The Viewing Booth will discuss his film and take questions from the audience for a live Q&A, joined by the festival director Cíntia Gil. Director, screenwriter and editor, Ra'anan Alexandrowicz is known for the documentary The Law in These Parts (2011), which received the Grand Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival, a Peabody award, and numerous other prizes and screened at Doc/Fest in 2012. The Viewing Booth explores the relationship between viewer, documentary footage, and filmmaker and reflects on how we look at images. Unique in its form and structure, the film turns its camera away from the world and towards the protagonist’s eyes — allowing us to follow her experience as she negotiates images that challenge her worldview. Live Q&A registration link here.

Second in the live Q&A programme, taking place on 30 June is a conversation with Melissa Herman, director of We’re Still Here, world-premiering at Doc/Fest and filmed over four years as developers - hand in glove with councils and housing associations - knocked down estates to build housing that ordinary people can’t afford. Melissa Herman is a documentary and participatory filmmaker who made films for Save the Children, schools and other organisations working for change, about overcrowded housing, living as a young refugee, air pollution and a magical story tree. We're Still Here is her second feature documentary.

A third live Q&A will take place on Thursday 2 July. Filmmaker Lynne Sachs, in conversation with Festival Director Cíntia Gil, will discuss 6 films that form her Director’s Focus within the Ghosts & Apparitions strand and her upcoming international premiere of Film About A Father Who, screened as part of Doc/Fest in October. Lynne Sachs’ films explore the notion of translation as a poetic and political tool for widening the world. Together with the focus, Doc/Fest presents Sachs’ video lecture My Body, Your Body, Our Bodies: Somatic Cinema at Home and in the World, a fascinating journey through her themes and work.

Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Selects VOD platform also features almost 20 pre recorded conversations with filmmakers, free to watch in the bonus content section.

Find out more and how to watch the documentaries and talks/panels on offer here.