Sheffield Doc/Fest Announces Full Line-up
Oscar-winner Laura Poitras’ “Risk” (pictured) will compete for the Grand Jury Award at this year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest, which will see fellow Oscar-winner Andrea Arnold serving on the jury. Nick Broomfield and Louis Theroux will headline a packed program for the 24th Sheffield Doc/Fest, which announced its full line-up Thursday.
“American Honey” director Arnold will serve on the festival’s jury, which selects the winner of Doc/Fest’s Grand Jury Award from a selection of seven films in the program, alongside British journalist and broadcaster Paul Mason and Indian documentary director Anand Patwardhan. The award honors a film that best displays excellence in style, substance and approach to documentary filmmaking.
The festival awards 10 prizes in total. British actor and presenter Reggie Yates will join the jury to judge the New Talent Award as well fronting new initiative Doc/Dinner, which is aimed at new and emerging black, Asian and minority ethnic filmmakers aged between 18 and 25.
Films competing for the Grand Jury Award will include Poitras’ “Risk,” which sees the Oscar-winning director of Edward Snowden documentary “Citizenfour” turn her focus to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’ “Dina”; “Cartel Land” director Matthew Heineman’s “City of Ghosts”; Gethin Aldous and Jairus LcLeary’s “The Work,” which goes inside an intense group therapy retreat inside Folsom Prison; Raed Andoni’s “Ghost Hunting,” which saw its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February; and David France’s “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson,” which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.
“The Work” and “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” will see their international premieres in Sheffield. The other five competing titles all see their U.K. premieres at the festival.
“In a media climate of fake news, post-truths and murky political agendas, these films are our navigators between information and perspective, evidence and opinion, proof and wild possibility,” said Luke Moody, director of film programming at Sheffield Doc/Fest.
Both Broomfield and Theroux have garnered attention and controversy with their recent documentaries about Whitney Houston and the Church of Scientology, respectively. The two filmmakers will feature in conversation together for this year’s BBC Interview. Broomfield’s “Whitney: Can I Be Me,” which played at last month’s Tribeca Film Festival, will also receive its U.K. premiere as part of the festival with the director taking part in an extended Q&A following the screening. Theroux’s “My Scientology Movie” was released in the U.K. last July and became the biggest documentary hit of the year grossing £1.1 million ($1.35 million) for distributor Altitude.
Oscar-winning editor and sound designer Walter Murch will return to the festival to speak at the Doc/Fest Craft Summit. Murch, who took part in a masterclass event at the festival’s 20th anniversary iteration in 2013, will headline the newly introduced craft summit discussing the art of editing and sound design. Other participants in the summit include writer and script doctor Fernanda Rossi; cinematographers Shaul Schwartz and Richard Ladkani; directors Jihan El-Tahri, Julia Dahr and Ben Steele; and “Risk” producer Charlotte Cook.
Maverick filmmaker Greenaway’s participation in a festival talk had previously been announced in April. Participants in other talks include British actor Lenny Henry; Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani; conductor Charles Hazlewood; YouTube sensation Elijah Quashie; and Patwandhan.
The program includes a total of 182 documentary features and shorts, including 35 world premieres, 21 international premieres, 24 European premieres and 73 U.K. premieres. The festival will open with the world premiere of Daisy Asquith’s “Queerama,” which was also previously announced. The closing film will be the BBC’s “Jo Cox: Death of an MP,” about the U.K. Labour politician who was killed last June.
Doc/Fest director and CEO Liz McIntyre says this year’s program looks to shine a light on stories of fightback and offer a celebration of the human spirit. It includes a number of new strands including Doc/Vision for bold new cinematic works; Doc/Dispatch for in-the-moment films; Focus/Industry for works-in-progress; and a late-night Docs ’til Dawn program.
The U.K.’s leading documentary festival Sheffield Doc/Fest runs from June 9-14. The full program is available here: https://sheffdocfest.com/