Sheffield Doc/Fest celebrates its 20th year with an impressive line-up of documentaries, sessions, and interactive programming – along with the hugely successful MeetMarket in the Doc/Fest marketplace – over five intense days from 12 to 16 June. On Tuesday 11 June, the new Crossover Market will take place for the first time, and Doc/Fest delegates can take part in TEDx Sheffield.
Festival director Heather Croall said, “Sheffield Doc/Fest at 20 is an exciting place to be. Since I arrived seven years ago the festival has grown exponentially and we’ve done that by making sure we stay ahead of the curve. At Doc/Fest we always strive to broaden the term documentary to deliver a programme that celebrates the form across all platforms. This year I am particularly proud that the Interactive programme is the strongest ever, and can be seen right across the festival in speakers, sessions, docs, in The Crossover Lounge and the first ever Crossover Market. And throughout Doc/Fest we will present a live music and film events with some of the most exciting musicians around – I can’t think of a better year!”
June 12: Opening Day and Night:
The Crossover Interactive Summit, curated by Mark Atkin, focuses on Transformers, people who want to change the world and have moved from one platform to another to do so: filmmakers creating apps, doc producers moving to social platforms, app designers making hardware and video game developers making physical objects. The day will bring together international speakers including Kat Cizek from Highrise, who will give the keynote speech.
The Crossover Interactive Summit is followed at 6pm by the World Premiere of The Big Melt in The Crucible Theatre, a celebration of A Century of Steel with a soundtrack from Sheffield’s Jarvis Cocker working with his long-time collaborator Martin Wallace. The Big Melt plays tribute to 100 years of steel on film through an evocative fusion of music and moving pictures with a soundtrack played by Jarvis Cocker and special guest musicians, bringing a new meaning to the term Heavy Metal. Commissioned by BBC Storyville and BBC North in Association with the BFI using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
The Doc/Fest 20 Opening Night Film is the UK Premiere of Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer, which tells the story of three young women –Nadya, Masha and Katia – members of the feminist art collective Pussy Riot – who were arrested on charges of religious hatred after they staged a satirical performance in a Moscow cathedral. The screening will be followed by a Skype interview with Katia who was released in October 2012. Nadya has just recently been denied early parole – her and Masha are serving a two-year prison sentence in a Penal Colony.
To complete the opening night triptych, Doc/Fest audiences will be treated to a special 20th Anniversary first – a screening in a cave! Located in the Peak District’s Devil’s Arse (Europe’s largest cave opening), the event will include a screening of Nick Ryan’s The Summit about the notorious quest to reach the peak of K2 in 2008.
Sessions and Speaker highlights:
There is a line-up of big-name guests from the worlds of TV, film, radio and music in the 80-strong Doc/Fest Sessions and Masterclass programme, co-presented by Documentary Campus. The legendary This American Life presenter Ira Glass will make his first ever UK appearance to talk about his award-winning radio documentary programme; broadcaster Melvyn Bragg will give his take on the role of arts on television; the controller of BBC Two, Janice Hadlow will be in conversation with Sue Perkins, The Best of BUG: The Evolution of Music Video will have its Sheffield debut, hosted by Adam Buxton; Sheffield legend Michael Palin will join Miranda Sawyer to discuss his documentary journeys to all corners of the earth; Alan Yentob will talk with Nick Fraser about his incomparable career; this year’s Channel 4 interview is with one of the most powerful women in broadcasting, Jay Hunt; the BAFTA Masterclass is with John Battsek who will talk about documentary producing; and on Sunday Kim Longinotto will give a Masterclass on the advantages and pitfalls of working with a sound recordist. And finally, everyone’s favourite newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald will chair the ITV Panel – The Art of Access – From Palace’s to Prisons.
A number of high-profile filmmakers will also attend the festival, including renowned American film editor and sound designer Walter Murch, who worked extensively with Francis Ford Coppola, and will give a Masterclass following the World Premiere of his new documentary Particle Fever, which tells the inside story about the discovery at the Large Hadron Collider of the Higgs Boson.
In addition to The Big Melt, Doc/Fest will present a further four live music and film events. Classical musician James Rhodes will play live following a Q&A and World Premiere of Notes from the Inside, directed by Ursula Macfarlane. The English folk group, The Unthanks, will play their new live score to Richard Fenwick’s archival-based film Songs from the Shipyards; the up-and-coming corduroy-clad duo Public Service Broadcasting will play in the East End Bar to a backdrop of BFI archive footage, and returning for a second year British Sea Power will play live to Penny Woolcock’s From The Sea To The Land Beyond, which just won Best Use of Archive Footage on Digital/Non-TV at the Focal International Awards 2013.
The Film Programme:
The 120 strong film programme is organised across films in competition as well as thematic strands.
The Doc/Fest Awards will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on Sunday 16 June and include nine categories: the Special Jury Award, Sheffield Innovation Award, Sheffield Green Award, Sheffield Youth Jury Award, Student Doc Award, and new for 2013 the Sheffield Shorts Award and the inaugural Tim Hetherington Award presented by Dogwoof and Doc/Fest. The EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Film, presented at Doc/Fest for the second year by the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, will also be announced. The Inspiration Award, which is now in its fifth year, will be presented to Nick Fraser, Editor of BBC Storyville.
This year’s strands include Behind the Beats, The Habit of Art, This Sporting Life, Queer Screen; Resistance, Cross-Platform, First Cut, Best of British, Euro/Doc, Global Encounters, New York Times Op-Docs and Shorts.
A new strand, Films on Film, screens an iconoclastic feature film together with the doc about that film. Titles include The Exorcist (Director’s Cut) plus The Fear of God: 25 Years of The Exorcist, introduced by its writer and presenter Mark Kermode, and Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal Apocalypse Now plus Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse with the film’s renowned editor and sound designer Walter Murch. Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, The Wrath of God will run alongside his classic documentary My Best Fiend, which explores his tempestuous relationship with actor Klaus Kinski, whilst John Waters’ Female Trouble is shown with I Am Divine.
The Doc/Fest Retrospective this year is dedicated to Shohei Imamura. Known mostly for his fiction films (The Eel, Vengence is Mine) Imamura also made several timeless documentaries that tread the line between documentary and fiction. Regarded as one of the leaders of post-war Japanese cinema, Doc/Fest will present A Man Vanishes, Karayuki-san, the making of a Prostitute, In Search of Returned Soldiers, Malaysia and In Search of Returned Soldiers, Thailand.
Doc/Fest will also screen Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme’s landmark 1963 film essay Le joli mai, which has recently been restored, having been unavailable for many years.
This year’s feature programme includes 15 World premieres (11 short film World premieres), 12 UK premieres (4 short film UK premiers), 5 EU premieres (3 short film EU premieres), and 2 International premieres (2 short film International premiers). A record 14 films screening at Doc/Fest were developed and funded through MeetMarket.
Among the feature World Premieres are UK filmmaker Fred Burns’ entertaining Basically, John Moped, about the proto-punk scene of the 1970s. Including interviews with current and ex-Johnny Moped members, including Chrissie Hynde (who was sacked twice) and Captain Sensible (who will attend screening with filmmaker), the film also features archive footage from the Roxy club in Covent Garden, shot by the legendary Don Letts. Yorkshire filmmaker John Lundberg unveils an intricate web of post-war intrigue in Mirage Men. The film follows Paul Benowitz, who reported sightings of UFOs to the US Air Force, a call which destroyed his family and eventually landed him in an insane asylum. In The Secret Life of Uri Geller – Psychic Spy?, filmmaker Vikram Jayanti investigates the many hints dropped by controversial spoon-bender Uri Geller about his secret life as a psychic spy for intelligence agencies on three continents over 40 years. Uri Geller and Vikram Jayanti will attend the screening. And Toby Amies’ The Man Whose Mind Exploded about Drako Oho Zahar Zahar – his wonderful past and extraordinary present, will also receive its World Premiere at Doc/Fest.
Sebastian Junger’s homage to his good friend, Which Way is the Front line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington (EU Premiere), shows how the photographer captured an intimate understanding of wartime aggression through his photography by genuinely befriending the soldiers and rebels he followed. Marina Zenovich’s Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic (International Premiere) looks at the legendary comedian’s life and legacy, including exclusive access to widow Jennifer Lee Pryor and the Pryor Estate.
In other highlights: Greg Camalier’s Muscle Shoals takes us to the small Alabama town with an amazing output of memorable recordings; Jeanie Finlay’s The Great Hip Hop Hoax follows Scottish rappers Billy Boyd and Gavin Bain who reinvent themselves as West Coast Homeboys after they were signed by Sony. Andy Heathcote and Heike Bachelier introduce us to a rebellious English farmer Steve Hook, with his unruly herd of 55 spirited but stress-free cows, sells raw milk direct to customers while delivering the occasional polemic about supermarkets, TB, and the benefits of raw milk in The Moo Man.
For the second year running, a handful of highlights will additionally play at the BFI Southbank in London over the weekend of 15/16 June, including Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, which screens as part of Yoko Ono’s Meltdown; Lucy Walker’s Crash Reel in which the acclaimed documentarian delves into the world of U.S snowboarder Kevin Pearce’s recovery and attempts to regain his former sporting life following his near fatal injury at the Montreal Olympics; John Akomfrah’s The Stuart Hall Project, which traces how a very bright young Rhodes scholar from colonial Jamaica became one of Britain’s most eminent thinkers; and Kim Longinotto’s Salma about a young Muslim girl in a South Indian village was kept locked in a small room for 25 years and forbidden to study. Salma started writing poetry on scraps of paper, which she managed to sneak out of the house and eventually found their way into the hands of a publisher. Salma will attend Sheffield Doc/Fest, followed by BFI Southbank, and will give poetry readings in both cities.
For a full rundown of films and events visit www.sheffdocfest.com