Sheffield Doc/Fest‘s 23rd edition begins tomorrow, Friday, June 10. The popular six-day event draws filmmakers and industry to South Yorkshire for a lineup featuring over 100 new and recent feature docs, plus retrospective work, shorts, and industry programming. In addition to presenting the UK bows of some of the standout titles that have debuted elsewhere over the past year, the event also showcases notable new titles, such as the highlights noted below:
The fest’s various competitions include the Grand Jury award, which includes the world premiere of Ashish Ghadiali’s THE CONFESSION, a profile of a man’s experience of modern-day jihadism; the Youth Jury award, which features the debut of Matthew D’Arcy’s STORYBOARD P, A STRANGER IN SWEDEN, a portrait of a Brooklyn street dancer abroad; and the Environmental award, with world premieres such as Per Liebeck’s THERE WILL BE WATER (pictured), about an engineer’s quest to transform salt water into energy; Gayane Petrosyan’s BORN TO BE FREE, an investigation into the black market trade in sea mammals; and Valentina Canavesio’s FOOTPRINT, a global consideration of the unprecedented impact of humanity on the world’s resources.
Special Events this year include Louise Osmond’s VERSUS: THE LIFE AND FILMS OF KEN LOACH (pictured), an overview of the British auteur’s career, followed by a special conversation with Loach; and Paul Fegan’s WHERE YOU’RE MEANT TO BE, an ethnomusicological exploration of Scotland.
Other UK-made programming is featured in the Best of British strand, with such world premiere titles as: Cassie Quarless and Usayd Younis’ GENERATION REVOLUTION, about the emerging activist scene of Brits of color; Claire Ferguson’s DESTINATION UNKNOWN, on the resilience of Holocaust survivors after WWII; Benjamin Wigley’s PAA JOE & THE LION (pictured), about a Ghanaian man who specializes in creating fantastical coffins; and James Bluemel’s EXODUS: BREAKING INTO EUROPE, a chronicle of the migration crisis from the perspective of the refugees.
Strands offering a panorama of the world include the European-made Euro/Doc and the globetrotting Global Encounters. Selections from the former include Roy Cohen’s MACHINE OF HUMAN DREAMS, which follows a man’s quest to develop AI; and François Ruffin’s MERCI PATRON!, which follows laid-off factory workers’ efforts to save their home; while the latter section includes the world premieres of: Deirdre Fishel’s CARE (pictured), on home health care workers for the elderly; Chris Kelly’s THE CAUSE OF PROGRESS, about the impact of the land-rights movement in Cambodia; Richie Mehta’s INDIA IN A DAY, a crowdsourced representation of a single day in the Indian subcontinent; Mohamed Jabaly’s AMBULANCE, the filmmaker’s immersive chronicle of a Palestinian paramedic team in Gaza; Jean Carper’s MONSTER IN THE MIND, an investigation into the myths and truths of Alzheimer’s; and Silvia Venegas and Juan Antonio Moreno’s ENOUGH, ALREADY, a portrait of the displaced Saharawi people.
Among the event’s many other thematic strands are Outdoor Adventure, which features the world premiere of Sean O’Cualain’s CRASH AND BURN, about the career of the Muhammad Ali of car racing; as well as Jérome Prieur’s BERLIN 1936, THE FINAL ILLUSION, an in-depth look at the controversial host city of the 1936 Summer Olympics; the migration stories of No Place Like Home, such as Elke Sasse’s #MYESCAPE, which profiles migrants from Afghanistan, Eritrea, and Syria; and the music docs of Behind the Beats, featuring work like the world premiere of Sam Benstead and Brian Hill’s CITY OF DREAMS: A MUSICAL (pictured), which musically transforms the experiences of schoolchildren in a Mumbai slum; and Randy Valdes’ A TODO COLOR, a re-examination of the pivotal role music played in 1990s Cuba while the country was wracked with uncertainty.