Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017 Overview

The 24th Sheffield Doc/Fest

June 9-14

More than 100 new and recent documentaries screen at this popular South Yorkshire event, which brought on BRITDOC’s Luke Moody as its new Director of Film Programming late last year.

The fest kicks off with Daisy Asquith’s QUEERAMA (pictured), assembled from LGBT images from the BFI archive; and closes with Toby Paton’s JO COX: DEATH OF AN MP, which explores the murder of the British politician a year ago.

Sheffield’s programming is organized in several thematic strands. Doc/Expose offers investigative work, including: Mohammed Naqvi’s INCH’ALLAH DEMOCRACY, a personal film about exiled Pakistani leader General Musharraf; Geeta Gandbhir and Asad Faruqi’s ARMED WITH FAITH (pictured), in which the filmmakers embed themselves with a bomb squad on the Afghan-Pakistani border; Nora Niasari’s ANTÚNEZ HOUSE, a microcosmic look at the impact of the 2010 Chilean earthquake; and Nicholas Hampson and Stephen Robert Morse’s WILDERS, a portrait of the “Dutch Donald Trump.”

Doc/Think presents new perspectives on a range of issues, and includes: Angus Macqueen and Rachel Lob-Levyt’s OINK (pictured), which explores humankind’s relationship with pigs; Rupert Russell’s FREEDOM FOR THE WOLF, a globetrotting look at freedom; Janet Tobias’ UNSEEN ENEMY, about the destructive potential of epidemic contagions like Ebola and Zika; Kate O’Callaghan and Patrick Farrelly’s JAHA’S PROMISE, about a Gambian activist against female genital mutilation; and Gina Hara’s GEEK GIRLS, which looks at fangirls and the abuse they face.

Explorations of love and friendship appear in Doc/Love, such as: Jose Alvarez’s THE GAZE OF THE SEA, in which a Mexican woman gathers stories about a fishing boat crew lost at sea; Ben Steele’s LOVE AND HATE CRIME (pictured), about a man convicted of a crime of passion; Ayse Toprak’s MR GAY SYRIA, which looks at a pageant that underscores the danger facing sexual minorities in Syria; and Sandra Luz López Barroso’s ARTEMIO, following a California-born boy in his mother’s native Mexico.

The arts take center stage in Doc/Rhythm, including: Sky Neal and Kate McLarnon’s EVEN WHEN I FALL (pictured), following former child slaves as they form a Nepalese circus; Cori McKenna’s BRUK OUT!, about a dancehall competition in Jamaica; Denis Sneguirev and Philippe Chevallier’s MADA UNDERGROUND, about alternative youth culture in Madagascar; and Yony Leyser’s QUEERCORE: HOW TO PUNK A REVOLUTION, which looks at the origins of Bruce LaBruce and GB Jones’ radical queer alternative to mainstream gay culture.

Doc/Visions puts the spotlight on innovative work, and includes: Bart Simpson’s BRASILIA: LIFE AFTER DESIGN (pictured), a meditation on life in the planned urban utopia; Teresa Griffiths’ LEONORA CARRINGTON – THE LAST SURREALIST, which gives the under-appreciated artist her due; Luke Fowler’s ELECTRO-PYTHAGORUS: A PORTRAIT OF MARTIN BARTLETT, on a composer who pioneered the use of microcomputers in his work; and Hannah Catherine Jones (AKA Foxy Moron)’s THE OWEDS, a multidisciplinary performance/video projection exploring contemporary mythology.

Other strands include Doc/Adventure, which includes Jens Lengerke and Anita Mathal Hopland’s look at death-defying Russian and Ukrainian urban explorers, ON THE EDGE OF FREEDOM; and Focus/UK, which presents work like Carol Salter’s portrait of a Chinese mortician-in-training, ALMOST HEAVEN; and Morgan Matthews’ intimate portrait of his emotionally estranged father, THE RISE AND FALL OF GEOFFREY MATTHEWS (pictured).


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