What to do Sheffield: Idris Elba and Michael Sheen among stars at Sheffield DocFest 2024

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The UK’s leading documentary festival will take place in Sheffield from June 12-17

Acting legends Idris Elba and Michael Sheen are among the stars lined up for the UK’s leading documentary festival, opening in Sheffield this week.

Sheffield DocFest 2024 will take place at venues around the city between Wednesday, June 12 and Monday, June 17, with 109 film screenings during those six days.

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Some of the highlights of Sheffield DocFest 2024, taking place from June 12-17Some of the highlights of Sheffield DocFest 2024, taking place from June 12-17
Some of the highlights of Sheffield DocFest 2024, taking place from June 12-17 | Sheffield DocFest 2024

Luther actor Idris Elba, the executive producer and narrator of Erased: WW2’s Heroes of Colour joins the creative team to discuss the new series, while Michael Sheen will join hosts Dan Ashby and Lucy Taylor to discuss the upcoming podcast series Buried: The Last Witness.

The festival will also feature an appearance by boxing great Frank Bruno, in discussion with the creators of Four Kings, about the early 90s ‘golden era’ of British boxing, and the world premiere of Kevin Macdonald’s latest film Klitschko: More Than a Fight.

Below are just some of the highlights awaiting documentary lovers.

Nat Geo Spotlight: Idris Elba & the Creative Team in Conversation on New Series Erased: WW2’s Heroes of Colour

Hear from key members of the production team about the challenges and successes of the project, as well as their overall journey in telling more authentic stories. The talk will take place at the Crucible Theatre on June 15, from 10.30am.

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The Trouble With Mr DoodleThe Trouble With Mr Doodle
The Trouble With Mr Doodle | Sheffield DocFest 2024

Mr Doodle creates The Doodle Dome - Tudor Square, June 12-16

The internationally-renowned artist Mr Doodle will cover a 12ft-tall, 20ft-wide clear dome with his quirky drawings during the festival.

He’ll be doodling from 10am to 3pm each day from June 12-14, and on June 15 and 16, from 9am to 9pm each day, the public will be able to step inside the dome to admire his completed work.

The live drawing event is being held to tie in with screenings of The Trouble With Mr Doodle documentary.

How to Survive a Dictator: North Korea with Munya Chawawa

Munya Chawawa will present the second part of his series on the world's most authoritarian leaders, this time focussing on Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader of North Korea.

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Combining Chawawa’s trademark satire with archive footage and interviews, the film presents a unique perspective on what it means to be North Korean and to experience the limits to freedom that we so easily take for granted.

This event, at the Crucible Theatre, on June 13, from 12pm, is an exclusive preview of this upcoming Channel 4 series, followed by a conversation with Munya Chawawa.

Klitschko: More Than a FightKlitschko: More Than a Fight
Klitschko: More Than a Fight | Sheffield DocFest 2024

Klitschko: More than a Fight

This new documentary from Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald traces boxer Vitali Klitschko’s remarkable journey from the ring to becoming Mayor of Kyiv, and his struggle to hold the city together in the face of the Russian onslaught.

Sheffield City Hall will host the world premiere on Wednesday, June 12, from 6.15pm, and there will be a Q&A with Kevin Macdonald and his co-director Edgar Dubrovskiy.

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There will be another screening and Q&A at The Light cinema on Saturday, June 15, from 10am.

VR Cinema - Site Gallery, Studio 1, June 12-17

You can don a digital headshot at Sheffield’s Site Gallery to immerse youself in a virtual reality world.

Viewers are invited to dive into an ocean journey of magical realism, touch the fading memories of a retired Brazilian playwright, witness the resilience of an empowering Mexican artist, travel through a daughter's encounters with her father's aphasia, meditate in depictions of early life in the womb and explore idealised safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ communities of East Africa. The VR Cinema is a non-ticketed exhibition which isfree to all.

An Army of WomenAn Army of Women
An Army of Women | Sheffield DocFest 2024

An Army of Women

This compelling documentary places us at the heart of the battle against a justice system which systematically fails to address rape cases in Austin, Texas.

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In the face of the alarming reality that fewer than one percent of reported rape cases result in felony convictions in the US, this timely film introduces us to a group of women embarking on a journey of activism and healing.

They have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the Austin police department and district attorney for mishandling sexual assault cases.

Two screenings, followed by Q&As with director Julie Lunde Lillesæter and protagonists Jennifer Ecklund, Elizabeth Myers and Hanna Senko, will take place at Curzon Sheffield on June 14, from 8.30pm, and at the Showroom on June 15, from 3.30pm.

Podcast Live: The Last Witness with Michael Sheen

Actor Michael Sheen and Buried: The Last Witness hosts Dan Ashby and Lucy Taylor will offer the audience the opportunity to listen and discuss their upcoming series and findings, moderated by BBC Radio 4 commissioner Daniel Clarke.

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In 1967, a young man saw something so disturbing in a farmer’s field that he vowed to pursue the truth. In the years that followed, he says he was derided in parliament and hounded into witness protection. What did he know?

Buried: The Last Witness is the untold account of one of the world’s first-ever whistleblowers on forever chemicals.

In this documentary environmental thriller, BBC Radio 4's award-winning Buried hosts Dan Ashby and Lucy Taylor team up with the actor Michael Sheen – who in a surprise twist, recorded the witness’s final testimony – to follow a trail of chemicals from a 1960s cold case, to a present-day environmental disaster.

It will take place at the Crucible Theatre on June 14, from 3pm to 4.30pm.

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Strike: An Uncivil WarStrike: An Uncivil War
Strike: An Uncivil War | Sheffield DocFest 2024

Strike: An Uncivil War

This year marks 40 years since the Battle of Orgreave, the bloodiest day of the longest and most violent industrial dispute in British history, on June 18, 1984, at the Orgreave Coking Plant in South Yorkshire.

The events of that day are recounted by those who lived through them in this documentary, which also examines the subsequent attempts to lay the blame for the violence at the feet of the strikers.

The director Daniel Gordon will be joined for a conversation with journalist Morag Livingstone and musician Jon Mclure, frontman of Reverend and The Makers, at the Crucible Theatre on June 16, from 10.30am.

Four Kings

A riveting series focusing on the careers of four leading Black British boxers - Frank Bruno, Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank and Lennox Lewis - the rivalry that existed between them and the challenges they faced.

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It examines the rise of each boxer from the late 1980s through to the early 2000s, charting their journeys and the prejudices they encountered; it highlights how the success they achieved was all the more remarkable because of the obstacles they overcame.

An exclusive preview of the first two episodes of this upcoming Prime series, followed by a conversation with the creators and boxer Frank Bruno, will take place on June 15, from 5pm, at the Crucible Theatre.

For the full Sheffield DocFest 2024 programme, and to book tickets, visit: https://www.sheffdocfest.com

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