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Doc/Fest in Tudor Square
Doc/Fest in Tudor Square

Council pledges support for festival of film

12 June 2017

It’s the UK’s biggest festival of documentaries, and is currently underway in Sheffield with guests including Louis Theroux, Sir Lenny Henry and Maxine Peake.

And now, Sheffield City Council is pleased to announce that it has signed a new three-year funding agreement with Doc/Fest, an event which brings in more than £1.2m to Sheffield each year.

Now in its 24th year, Doc/Fest is not only an internationally significant festival of documentaries, but is also Sheffield’s biggest conference, taking place across 30 venues and attracting around 3,500 delegates each year from around 60 countries.

More than 30,000 members of the public also enjoy the eclectic range of films, talks and other events on offer at Doc/Fest, viewing upwards of 180 documentaries over six days.

Councillor Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “I am delighted to confirm that we as a council will support Doc/Fest for another three years.

“Not only is it an event that has grown increasingly important to the business community here in Sheffield and internationally, but hosting the festival adds to our reputation as a cultural and creative destination, enhancing Sheffield’s appeal to visitors, businesses and those who may wish to move to Sheffield to work.

“I look forward to seeing the festival continue to grow and thrive over the next three years, and hope that it becomes even more popular with Sheffielders, delegates, and our international visitors.”

This year’s Doc/Fest once again features a huge line-up of documentaries and big-name talent, both home-grown and from around the world, including a record number of world, international, EU and UK premiere titles.

As well as returning regulars such as Louis Theroux and Stacey Dooley, special guest speakers attending the festival for the first time include Lenny Henry, June Sarpong, Peter Greenaway, “Years and Years” frontman Olly Alexander, Walter Murch, Adam Curtis and Ian Hislop.

This year’s film programme features a record 183 documentary features and shorts, being shown at venues including the Showroom, the new Light cinema on The Moor, and outdoor pop-up free screens in Tudor Square and Howard Street.

But there’s more to it than just films. The Alternate Realities programme, supported by Arts Council England, will allow audiences to touch, swipe and play their way through sensory worlds – such as seeing the world through the eyes of a baby, or climbing a canopy in the Amazon rainforest.

Other eclectic events include a virtual reality experience, “Doom Room”, at Theatre Delicatessen, in which audiences are blindfolded and transported to the afterlife, and a night of frights at Abbeydale Picture House, when the old cinema will be transformed into a cavern of thrills for the screening of Florian Habicht’s Spookers.

Music fans, meanwhile, will enjoy the UK premiere of “Can I Be Me”, the Whitney Houston documentary, at Sheffield City Hall, which will be followed by a Q&A with director Nick Broomfield and a live performance by Michelle John, who previously performed as one of Whitney’s backing vocalists.

Away from the scheduled events, Doc/Fest also includes a marketplace at Cutler’s Hall – the MeetMarket – where typically over £7,000,000 of deals are done each year.

And Doc/Fest includes an all-year programme of screenings, training, workshops, mentoring and networking, as well as internships and volunteering opportunities for young people, ensuring that people from Sheffield and beyond can be involved after Doc/Fest ends on Wednesday 14 June.

Liz McIntyre, CEO and director of Sheffield Doc/Fest, said: “Sheffield City Council’s generous support and commitment to Doc/Fest, as a city cultural and business highlight, is highly valued.

“I am thrilled that the partnership between Doc/Fest and the council is continuing for a further three years. We all greatly look forward to the future together.”

For a complete programme of all the events involved in Doc/Fest, or to buy tickets, visit the website at https://sheffdocfest.com