Major Sheffield festival set to get further funding

A world-leading film festival held in Sheffield will get funding from the council for another three years.

By Lucy Ashton
Thursday, 12th September 2019, 11:43 am
Updated Thursday, 12th September 2019, 12:23 pm
Sheffield Doc Fest 2018 with the then Lord Mayor Magid Magid and director Liz McIntyre
Sheffield Doc Fest 2018 with the then Lord Mayor Magid Magid and director Liz McIntyre

Sheffield Doc/Fest brings 3,500 delegates to the city each year from 60 countries and is seen as a major boost to tourism and the city’s economy.

The council’s Cabinet looks set to agree sponsorship of the event for £450,000 over three years between 2020 to 2022.

Officers say it will ensure the festival stays in Sheffield as well as helping organisers to plan ahead and develop it.

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Emma France, marketing manager in tourism and trade at the council, says: “Doc/Fest is a world-leading – and the UK’s premier – documentary festival and conference, celebrating the art and business of documentary and all non-fiction storytelling.

“In 2020, it will be the 27th Doc/Fest. Its analysis and our monitoring of hotel bookings demonstrate that it brings almost 3,500 delegates to Sheffield each year from around 60 countries to view upwards of 180 documentaries over a six-day period, including 36 world premieres.

“Spread over a proposed 30 venues, it provides a valuable contribution to Sheffield’s cultural offer. Audience figures included 28,000 members of the public last year in addition to the delegates and it has a national and international reputation.

“The festival includes a marketplace, the Meet Market, where typically over £7m of deals are done and Doc/Fest also has a year-round programme of training, workshops, mentoring and networking as well as internships and volunteering opportunities for young people.”

Officers say the funding will help it to maintain a programme of international significance.

The report adds: “In an environment of reduced funding from national bodies, such as the UK Film Council, and uncertainty in the context of Brexit, it will support Doc/Fest to unlock further funding from outside the UK to directly benefit local filmmakers and audiences, as well as providing the resources to secure commercial funding.

“Sponsoring Doc/Fest ensures that the festival, which brings in almost £1,750,000 delegate spend per year to the city, takes place.

“In addition, the sponsorship contributes to Doc/Fest’s ability to develop its programme so that the festival continues to maintain and develop its international standing.

“Hosting the festival adds to the city’s reputation as a cultural and creative destination, enhancing its appeal both to visitors, businesses and those who may wish to move to Sheffield to work.

“Doc/Fest is one of Sheffield’s largest and most high-profile events, and is used as a showcase to encourage other conferences to come to Sheffield.”