Programme highlights for Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019
The city's world-class Sheffield Doc/Fest will return next month with an incredible programme of films and documentaries.
The event is a world-leading festival celebrating the art and business of documentary and non-fiction storytelling across all forms.
Highlights for the 2019 festival, which takes place over six days from 6-11 June, include:
- FILM Asif Kapadia’s Diego Maradona opens the festival, plus BAFTA Masterclass;
- FILM Spotlight strand includes Ai Weiwei, Werner Herzog, Jeanie Finlay, Nick Broomfield, Waad Al-Kateab, Ursula Macfarlane;
- ALTERNATE REALITIES free digital art exhibitions featuring 28 immersive, interactive experiences and live performance;
- Accessible & Affordable Festival: return of From Door To Doc, The Light Free Screen on Howard Street and Doc/Fest Exchange on Tudor Square;
- Celebration of Northern Stories including world premiere of Sheffield-based filmmaker about Woodseats Working Men’s Football Club;
- Northern feminist film collectives featured in Focus/Shapes That Move;
- TALKS include Sir Bradley Wiggins, Stacey Dooley, Chidera Eggerue (aka The Slumflower), Paul Greengrass, Nick Hornby;
- LIVE MUSIC performances include Summer Camp, Kate Nash and Bo Ningen;
- LIVE EVENTS: Justice Syndicate from the Newcastle-based fanSHEN company; performance from Manchester natives House of Ghetto, voguing collective;
Melanie Iredale, Interim Director, Sheffield Doc/Fest said: “This year’s Doc/Fest celebrates local talent, internationalism, creativity and discovery; looking at the world with new eyes and giving a platform to a multitude of voices and ideas. I am so excited today to be unveiling a line-up of 180+ Films and 28Alternate Realities projects – from over 50 countries around the world, and over 50 per cent of which are made by women.
"Live Events will feature music to voguing to social experiment; guests ranging from Asif Kapadia to Ai Weiwei to The Slumflower to Werner Herzog to Stacey Dooley. Artist Charlotte Jarvis will grow ‘female’ sperm! Only at Doc/Fest”.
Luke W. Moody, Director of Film Programming, Sheffield Doc/Fest added: “On the big screen we take and show risk that inspires, share difference that connects, exhibit possibilities that propel. These true stories leak sweetness, brood on injustice and thump with rhythm of the present. Alongside celebrating masters of non-fiction cinema we place particular emphasis on new talent and images of youth: spirited energies, hearts and voices calling for change, for inclusion, for a better world that is theirs to inherit.”
The festival opens on Thursday, June 6 at City Hall with the much anticipated Diego Maradona, a wild and irreverent look at one of the world’s most iconic sportsmen, both on and off the pitch, during his infamous time in Naples.
Made by the Academy and BAFTA-winning team behind Amy and Senna, the screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Asif Kapadia. Asif Kapadia will also give the BAFTA Masterclassthe following day, when he will discuss his own career and inspirations, his filmmaking practise, and his personal connection to his work.
In the film programme, the world premiere of The Campaigners by Sheffield’s own Jamie Taylor takes its audience inside the changing room of the local Woodseats Working Men’s Football Club; Todd Douglas Miller’s Apollo 11 featuring never-before-seen footage – sourced by Sheffield-based NASA archive expert Stephen Slater – goes straight into the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission, as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin embark on a historic trip to the moon; Radical Broadcasts, a programme specially commissioned for Sheffield Doc/Fest celebrates the work of television director and Yorkshire-native Mike Dibb, co-creator of John Berger’s revolutionising Ways of Seeing, the festival tagline. Mike Dibb will attend the festival.
The Alternate Realities digital art programmes of powerful interactive and immersive experiences include two free exhibitions, Subconscious Sensibilities at Site Gallery, and Converging Sensibilities in the VR Cinema at Sheffield Hallam’s Performance Lab. The Site Gallery exhibition includes Interactive Portraits: Trans People in Japan, a game created by Sheffield-based artist Zoyander Street, as playful representation of transgender people from Japan, using the nostalgic style of early gaming to create a connection with its contributors and the Alternate Realities commission, Spectre by the Manchester-based artist & researcher Barnaby Francis (aka Bill Posters) and Dr. Daniel Howe engages audiences with a personalised journey that tells a cautionary tale of computational propaganda, technology and democracy, curated by an algorithm, and powered by visitor data.
This year’s Live Events programme includes a collaboration between Newcastle-based fanSHEN, computational artist Joe McAlister and neuroscientist Dr Kris De Meyer. The Justice Syndicate is a piece of playable theatre drawing on a jury format, where a top surgeon is accused of a serious crime and asks twelve participants to fill in the gaps and deliver the ‘verdict’, while Deep in Vogue presents a colourful perspective on the vogueing subculture in Manchester, including a live performance from House of Ghetto.
And in the Talks programme, Lancashire based cycling legend Sir Bradley Wiggins will give the Channel 4 interview talking about his new documentary Bradley Wiggins: Tour De Flight – seven years after winning the Tour De France, he’s preparing to break a very different kind of record, peddling his way across the English Channel from England to France in a human-powered aircraft.
Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019 Film Programme:
This year's programme includes 42 documentaries, 57 per cent of which are directed by women will compete across the festival’s official competition categories including Grand Jury, International, Tim Hetherington, Art, New Talent, Short and Youth Awards.
Titles competing for the Grand Jury Award, which display excellent in style, substance and approach to documentary filmmaking, are:
- A Dog Called Money (UK premiere) in which award-winning photographer Seamus Murphy investigates the creative process behind British musician PJ Harvey’s album The Hope Six Demolition Project
- For Sama (UK premiere), an intimate, visceral film about the female experience of war told as a message from a young Syrian mother Waad al-Kateab (co-directing with Edward Watts) to her daughter, documenting al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth
- Midnight Traveler (UK premiere) Afghan filmmaker Hassan Fazili, his wife and two daughters capture on mobile phones the dramatic journey they embark on after Hassan receives a Taliban death sentence;
- Mike Wallace Is Here(European premiere) Avi Belkin offers an engaging look at the life and career of legendary CBS 60 Minutes newsman Mike Wallace, showing how he redefined broadcast journalism with his hard-hitting interview style;
- Midnight Family (UK premiere) by Luke Lorentzen, a father and his sons spend almost every night operating their private ambulance in Mexico City, having their priorities as first responders compromised due to financial pressures.
Films competing for the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019 International Award will be considered by jury members director/producer Inadelso Cossa, documentary filmmaker Samara Chadwick and director of Kosovo’s DokuFest Nita Deda. They are:
- Kristof Bilsen’s MOTHER (World premiere) focusing on Pomm who takes care of Europeans with Alzheimer’s in Thailand while being separated from her own children
- The Amazing Johnathan Documentary (European premiere) filmmaker Ben Berman navigates the ‘smoke & mirrors’ world of the subversive magician John Edward Szeles AKA Amazing Johnathan, who in 2014 was given a year to live, but is still alive and kicking
- BLOCK(International premiere) by Victoria Alvares and Quentin Delaroche, Brazilian truckers on strike during a country-wide blockade in 2018 hope military intervention will bring a solution. But when the army finally arrives to end the crisis, nothing goes quite as expected
- The Black Tree (International premiere), co-directed by Máximo Ciambella and Damián Coluccio, the ancestral legends of the Argentine Qom community and their threatened present fuel the powerful, natural and austere images
- Earth (UK premiere), Austrian documentarian Nikolaus Geyrhalter (Homo Sapiens) observes people in mines, quarries and at large construction sites engaged in a constant struggle to take possession of the planet as several billion tons of earth are extracted annually
- The Human Epoch (UK premiere), co-directed by Jennifer Baichwal (Manufactured Landscapes), Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky, traverses the globe showing the devastating impact of our lives on Earth as scientists argue we are in a new epoch, the Anthropocene
Films competing for the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019 Tim Hetherington Awardsupported by Dogwoof will be considered by jury members BFI Head of Cinema and Events Gaylene Gould, filmmaker Faras Fayyed and founder of Modern Films Eve Gabereau. They are:
- Raúl O. Paz Pastrana’s Border South (World premiere) showing two men who follow the migrant trail running from southern Mexico to the US border: Gustavo, a Nicaraguan in search of a better life, recovering from being shot by Mexican police, and anthropologist Jason who is examining the trail’s grisly remains
- Colombian director Victoria Solano’s Sumercé (World premiere) follows agricultural educator Rosita, veteran activist Don Eduardo and rising political leader César Pachón as they fight their government over the country’s access to fresh wate
- Julien Elie’s Dark Suns (UK premiere) offers an exploration of the complex police and gangs network behind the disappearance of thousands of Mexican men and women since the 1970s
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- Eliza Capai’s Your Turn (UK premiere), three students fight over the right to speak and to share their point of view regarding the largest student struggle of the century and the recent political context in Brazil
- One Child Nation (UK premiere; Sundance 2019 U.S. Grand Jury Documentary Prize winner), co-directed by a first-time mother Nanfu Wang (Hooligan Sparrow) and Jialing Zhang, breaks open decades of silence on China’s one-child policy through interviews with both victims and instigators.
Films competing for the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019 Art Award supported by MUBI will be considered by artist and filmmaker Deborah Stratman, producer Leah Giblin and creative director Amar Ediriwira. They are:
- Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s Mother, I Am Suffocating. This Is My Last Film About You (UK premiere), a symbolic social-political voyage of a society spiralling between religion, identity and collective memory
- No Data Plan (UK Premiere), an unusual travelogue from filmmaker Miko Revereza, as an unnoticed passenger crossing America on an Amtrak train; filmed over 20 years, celebrated German experimental filmmaker Ute Aurand’s Rushing Green with Horses (UK premiere) is a collection of private moments, at home and at play with family and friends
- The Hottest August (UK premiere),filmmaker Brett Story’s (The Prison in Twelve Landscapes) journey to all five boroughs of New York City in the blazing heat of August, 2017, asking people their thoughts and hopes for the future, following Donald Trump’s assumption of the presidential post
- While We Are Here (UK premiere) exploring the relationship between two migrants in New York, Lebanese Lamis and Brazilian Wilson, delicately crafted by the filmmaking duo Clarissa Campolina and Luiz Pretti
- Fordlandia Malaise (UK premiere) from Susana de Sousa Dias, telling the past and the present of Fordlandia, the town founded by Henry Ford in the Amazon rainforest in 1928, through the stories of folklore and spirits told by the locals.
Films competing for the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019 New Talent Award will be considered by Film London Talent executive Mathieu Ajan, screenwriter and director Shola Amoo (The Last Tree) and filmmaker/producer Chloe Gbai. They are:
- Imogen Putler and Monika Baran’s Cool Daddio: The Second Youth of R. Stevie Moore (World premiere) a tragi-comic musical odyssey to discover the greatest unknown icon, a man who recorded over 400 albums in his bedroom and influenced a generation of musicians
- About Love (World premiere), Archana Atul Phadke’s loving observation of shifting household dynamics and the female status in South Bombay, through the eyes of of women in her own family
- Talking About Adultery (World premiere), Bara Jichova Tyson’s exploration of what it means to be in a committed relationship
- A group of friends from Bucaramanga, the home of Colombia’s most violent football supporters, make a risky journey to an away match in Andres Torres’ The Fortress (International premiere);
- Ezequiel Yanco’s La Vida En Común (UK premiere) shot in an indigenous community in the north of Argentina where hunting is a rite of passage
- Mariam Ghani’s What We Left Unfinished (UK premiere), the incredible true story of five unfinished films from the communist era in Afghanistan (1978-1991).
Films competing for the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019 Youth Jury Award are:
- Baracoa (UK premiere), a closely observed blend of doc and fiction from Pablo Briones and The Moving Picture Boys, following two Cuban boys, timid Lionel and volatile Antuan, roaming through their dying industrial town in the final, lazy days of summer
- Jawline (UK premiere) Liza Mandelup charts 16-year old Austin’s strive for social media stardom with adolescent hopes to change the world
- Bettina Perut and Ivan Osnovikoff’s Los Reyes (UK premiere) zooms in on the eponymous skatepark in Santiago de Chile through the eyes of two dogs
- Elizabeth Sankey’s Romantic Comedy (UK premiere) examines how Hollywood dictates what love looks like and who deserves it, considering the rules of the game and how the formula has transformed over time
- Jeanie Finlay’s Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth (European premiere) documents one trans man’s pioneering quest to fulfil the age-old desire to start his own family
- Pia Hellenthal’s boundary pushing performative documentary Searching Eva (UK premiere), looking for the real Eva behind the young Italian’s online-built life.
Films competing for the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019 Short Award are:
- Garrett Bradley’s America (UK premiere)
- Jenn Nkiru’s BLACK TO TECHNO (UK premiere)
- Bassam Tariq’s Ghosts of Sugarland (European premiere)
- Stroma Cairns’ If You Knew (World premiere)
- Xavier Marrades’Misericordia (European premiere)
- Wild Berries (International premiere) directed by Marianna Vas, Hedda Bednarszky and Romulus Balazs.
Notable world premieres playing outside Doc/Fest’s official competition include:
- Solidarity, British artist and filmmaker Lucy Parker’s debut feature (presented as Blacklist at the 2018 Sheffield Doc/Fest Rough/Ready programme) about blacklisting in the UK construction industry where thousands of workers were denied employment for involvement in trade union activism
- Arthur Cary’s War in the Blood, following two British patients through ground-breaking ‘first-in-human’ trials for a treatment described as the beginning of the end of cancer, and asking how much hope can the doctors give their patients when they are effectively going into these trials as human guinea pigs
- Olivier Magis’ Another Paradise which documents the struggle of a small community expelled from the Chagos Islands by the British authorities fifty years ago to return home
- Claudia Marschal’s In our Paradise is a family saga recounting the trials and tribulations of two determined sisters as they battle between France and Bosnia towards their fantasised paradise
- Danny, co-directed by Canadian artist Aaron Zeghers and Lewis Bennett, is a hilarious and heartbreaking found-footage film about disease, mental illness and the meaning of life based on videos made by Danny who started filming after being diagnosed with leukemia in 1993.
Additional world premieres include:
Jaak Kilmi and Gints Grube’s My Father the Spy, the personal spy story of the Cold War investigated by Leva, a CIA and KGB double agent’s daughter
- Myles Painter’s Sunrise with Sea Monsters which follows a wandering desktop hard drive in a quest to explore the new methods and technologies being developed to store and preserve human knowledge for the future.
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