Sheffield Doc/Fest is something I look forward a huge amount every year. Today, someone described it to me as ‘not only a festival, it’s the party everyone wants to go to’, which is entirely appropriate. What makes the festival special is that, in addition to its incredible 130+ films programme, there are 60+ industry sessions which always leave you with invaluable knowledge and advice and absolutely no free time. There is also the huge MeetMarket, for projects looking for co-production. The atmosphere, in general, is inclusive and, ultimately, a lot of fun. Oh, and you can even see the Cinema Eye award winners announced while rollerskating!
The festival opens with Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, with Joan there in person. What follows is a film programme that includes 15 World Premieres and work from Kim Longinotto, Patricio Guzman, Sophie Fiennes, Laura Poitras and David Guggenheim. To sweeten the deal there are even new shorts by Werner Herzog and Tim Hetherington snuck into the programme.
Festival programmer Hussain Currimbhoy described the Doc/Fest programme as “a chance for doc audiences to have a moment of respite from the rest of the world. This is a time to get together and share some amazing films that give you special insight into what is happening right now in the world. You are not going to get a lot of these films on tv or online, so I hope they are seen in the cinema within a real, authentic festival experience happening around them. If these films, from all over the world, don’t make you see our world a bit differently, I dunno what will!”
I’m particularly thrilled that there will be a retrospective of Indian filmmaker Anand Patwardhan‘s work which has been curated by Mark Cousins and also can’t wait to see Katerina Cizek’s interactive 360° documentary Out My Window.
Other films to look out for are Florent de la Tullaye and Renaud Barret’s Benda Bilili!, Michael Madsen’s Into Eternity, Tamra Davis’ Jean Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, Jeff Malmberg’s Marwencol, Robin Hessman’s My Perestroika, Andrei Ujica’s The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu, Doug Block’s The Kids Grow Up, and John Gianvito’s Vapor Trail (Clark).
For the full programme click here.
(Image above from George Gittoes’ The Miscreants of Taliwood)