2018 Sheffield DocFest Festival Report

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Festival Report

Festival Overview

Sheffield Doc/Fest celebrated its 25th edition in June 2018 with a six-day Festival celebrating the art and business of documentary and non-fiction storytelling, and a focus on new talent, new ideas and new ways of seeing. The Festival comprised six programmes: Films; Alternate Realities interactive and immersive story forms; Special Events including live performance; Talks by on-screen talent and makers; Marketplace and Talent training; Networking, Parties and Social. Within the programme, Doc/Fest 2018 included 3 World Premiere commissions, featured over 200 titles with 188 Film main programme shorts and features and 55 free screenings reaching audiences in the heart of the city, 27 interactive and immersive projects, plus 12 special events and 87 talks and industry sessions.

With our core aim to diversify the Festival’s composition of makers, industry gatekeepers and audiences, Doc/Fest reports a more diverse and more inclusive range of filmmakers and speakers contributing to the programme in several key areas of representation including BAME, LGBTQ+ and those with disabilities. We also report a more diverse and more inclusive range of audiences enjoying the festival in several key areas of representation including gender, BAME, LGBTQ+ and those with disabilities. In this first year of recording, we have strong representation of audiences who consider themselves to be from a disadvantaged background.

Affirming the Festival’s position as an internationally recognised event on the global stage, the programme included a record number of Film premieres including 39 World Premieres, 18 International Premieres, 26 European Premieres and 75 UK Premieres. The Festival opened with the World Premiere of A Northern Soul, directed by Yorkshire filmmaker Sean McAllister, representing one of the Festival’s focuses of celebrating regional talent of global standing.

Doc/Fest 2018 attracted 3,444 individual industry delegates, compared with 3,397 in 2017, an increase of 1.4%, who attended from 55 countries. In addition, the festival drew 25,597 physical public admissions over the six days, up 7.26% from 2017 and representing an increase of 16% in the number of tickets sold compared with 2017. Enhanced digital engagement via Instagram Stories achieved 65,334 digital reach, 67% of whom were under the age of 35. The combined physical and digital attendances in 2018 were 124,138, up from 72,146 in 2017.

"UK's most high-profile showcase of documentaries new and old” - The Guardian

Festival Overview

As part of Doc/Fest’s aim to celebrate diversity of those contributing to the programme, progressive LGBTQ+ representation was present throughout Festival, including talks from Munroe Bergdorf, live performance events such as Linn da Quebrada, World Premiere films and parties including the publicly accessible Shakedown party in partnership with Boiler Room. Following surveying the Festival audience, 14% of the industry delegate audience identified as LGBTQ+ (up from 9% in 2017) and 15% of the public audience identified as LGBTQ+ (up from 11% in 2017).

Representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic audiences was strong across Festival audiences, speakers, filmmakers and artists this year. 17% of the industry delegate audience identified as BAME (up from 14% in 2017), and 13% of the public audience identified as BAME (up from 11% in 2017).

The Festival continues to welcome a large number of young audiences, with 35% of industry and 26% of public audiences being under 30. The Festival saw an increase of audiences with disabilities, with 3% of industry audiences (up from 2% in 2017) and 9% public audiences (up from 8% in 2017) who said that their day-to-day activities are limited because of a health problem or disability.

Doc/Fest has once again seen that a majority of Festival audiences are female, with 52% of industry and 58% of public audiences self-identifying as female. In the Festival programme, female representation was strong with 53% of the Film programme crediting a female primary producer and 38% with a female director; in the Alternate Realities programme, 42% of the makers were female; in the Talks programme, 51% of the speakers were women, up by 3% from 2017. 60% of the industry Decision Makers attending the festival were women, up by 2% from 2017.

Doc/Fest strives to ensure that arts and culture are made accessible to all, irrespective of postcode, income, disability, or other seeming barriers. When surveying the Festival audience, 12% of public audiences considered themselves to be from a disadvantaged background. A returning initiative run for the second year, From Door to Doc is a community outreach programme supported by Wellcome, for harder to reach audiences to experience the Festival for just £1.

In 2018 Doc/Fest partnered with IntoFilm, a British educational charity that runs film-based programmes for children aged 5 to 19 years, to screen the opening night film A Northern Soul to 15 local pupils with a private Q&A with director Sean McAllister and producer Elhum Shakerifah.

“A big thank you for offering the opportunity to host a schools screening with you. It was a wonderful opportunity for students to access the Festival, watch a genre they may not engage with usually, and meet/speak with filmmakers – truly inspirational for them.” - Bex Wolfendale, Project Manager, IntoFilm

Festival Overview

Marking Doc/Fest’s growing reputation as an essential place for live and immersive events, this year’s Special Events line-up featured 12 cross-platform storytelling experiences. 5 events were World Premieres, 1 European Premiere and 3 were UK Premieres. Live performance events included Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth) performed live following the UK premiere of Stuart Swezey’s Desolation Center; beatboxer and vocal artist Reeps One presented the World Premiere of his new live show Reeps One presents: We Speak Music Live; Singaporean vocal loop artist Weish accompanied the UK premiere of Sundance Award-winning Shirkers; a vibrant night from São Paulo pop star Linn da Quebrada, following the screening of Kiko Goifman and Claudia Priscilla’s Teddy Award-winning Tranny Fag and Warp Records artist GAIKA performed a new live score responding to Khalik Allah’s Black Mother

Immersive experiences included artists Iain & Jane Pollard’s DOUBLETHINK with actor George Mackay (World Premiere commission), The MOMENT by Richard Ramchurn and Threads: Redux by Richard DeDomenici, with local Sheffield people taking part in the filming.

The Alternate Realities programme, showcasing the best in non-fiction interactive and immersive storyworlds , was housed for the first time at Trafalgar Warehouse, a distinct 1930s industrial building located in the heart of Sheffield – expanding the ambition, reach and impact of Alternate Realities. This year the Alternate Realities Exhibition featured 27 VR and interactive projects from 64 makers.

87 industry and public Talks & Sessions featured 247 speakers with BSL interpretation increasing to 8 events. Highlights from the public Talks programme included in-conversation sessions and masterclasses from Matthew Heineman, Sir Trevor McDonald, Mary Beard OBE, Khalik Allah, Jamal Edwards MBE, Vicky McClure, Guy Martin, Munroe Bergdorf and Mark Cousins.

Within the Marketplace, 332 executives, distributors, commissioners, funders, advisors and buyers across documentary and digital media attended for business from across the UK, the rest of Europe and the world, creating a highly successful platform for deals and other business, for all durations of single films and series, and for all platforms from digital, to broadcast to theatrical. The Festival delegate survey revealed that 77% of industry delegates have said that they made new meaningful business contacts at this year’s Festival.

According to the Festival delegate survey, 92% of industry delegates will return to the Festival in 2019, taking place 6-11 June.

“I have been travelling to festivals for the last 20+ years and this was one of my most memorable festival experiences and without doubt the best Doc/Fest I have attended.”
- Jason Wood Artistic Director: Film at HOME Manchester

Festival Audiences

The Festival engaged with 25,597 public attendances, many of whom returned for multiple events throughout the Festival period, plus 65,334 digital reach, via social media platforms Facebook and Instagram live video feeds.

New and existing outreach and marketing initiatives resulted in reaching a fuller range of new diverse audiences, including those from areas of low engagement. Of the public audiences attending the Festival this year, 58% identified as female, 26% were under 30, and 58% came from Yorkshire. 15% identified as LGBTQ+, 12% considered themselves to be from a disadvantaged background, and 9% of audiences’ dayto-day activities are limited because of a health problem or disability.

Festival Audiences Came From International 6% Rest of UK 28% Rest of Yorkshire 7% Prefer Not To Say 8% Sheffield 51% Age of our Festival Audience 80+ 2% 60-79 16% 45-59 28% 31-44 29% 16-30 26%

Industry Audiences

This year Doc/Fest welcomed 3,444 industry delegate from 55 countries for inspiration, networking and business across all platforms from digital, to broadcast to theatrical. The Festival delegate survey revealed that for 48% of delegates, 2018 was their first Festival, whilst 19% had been to the Festival five or more times previously. The number of delegates increased by 1.4% from 2017.

At 40%, independent filmmakers and producers were the largest sector in attendance at the Festival. 82% of Festival industry delegates found Doc/Fest a good place to do business. 92% say that they will return in 2019. 92% of Festival industry delegates said that Sheffield Doc/Fest was good value for money. 92% of Festival industry delegates are likely to recommend Sheffield Doc/Fest to friends and colleagues.

Industry Audiences Came From International 30% National 59% Local 11% Industry Sector of Delegates Other 22% Press 2% Students 6% Educator/Trainers 5% Film Festival/Exhibitor 4% Funders & Broadcasters 13% Distributors 8% Independent Filmmaker 40%

Film Programme

The 2018 Film programme celebrated a record number of premieres, Q&As and screenings across Sheffield, displaying vital and singular visions of reality, with deep audience interaction. The programme centred on the core focus of discovery, with a majority of World Premieres coming from emerging short form directors or first time feature documentary directors, in line with Doc/Fest’s strategy to nurture new and emerging talent for artistic and industry benefit.

The main programme selection reflected the shift to include more global representation of non-fiction storytelling and storytellers. Complementary strands highlighted a flourishing scene of female led creative and political documentary including from Lebanon, whilst this year's retrospective curation 'Electric Avenues' explored radical works of street documentary largely from artists and filmmakers of the global South and diaspora, including Atteyat El Abnoudy, Ephraim Asili, Apichatpong Weresatakhul, Pengau Nengo and Akosua Adoma Owusu. The national New/UK shorts programme celebrated plural and challenging perspectives on contemporary Britain from exciting new British talents, as part of our drive to give a platform to and nurture home grown talent.

The presence of protagonists from numerous titles including The Silence of Others and post-screening live performances from Thurston Moore, Weish and Linn da Quebrada made possible shared cinema experiences with non-fiction film, and the chance to embrace in the flesh the world witnessed on screen. High-level community engagement included a weekend of music and cinema events at Abbeydale Picture House, embedded local Q&A hosts and a lit Shakedown after-party with Boiler Room, which was also popular with public audiences.

In 2018 the film programme Grand Jury Award was made an Academy Award qualifying award in additional to Doc/Fest’s Short Doc Award.

The Free Screen on Howard Street offered free public access to over 200 films at 55 programmes of curated shorts, feature length documentaries and the premiere of a uniquely produced 12-hour archival film, Arena: Night and Day.

“One of the largest and most significant celebrations of non-fiction filmmaking in Europe” - Huck
188 Films 2052 Submissions 26 European Premieres 18 International Premieres 39 World Premieres 75 UK Premieres

Film Programme

Top 10 Films Rated by the Doc/Fest Audience

Minding The Gap (dir. Bing Liu)

Under The Wire (dir. Chris Martin)

On Her Shoulders (dir. Alexandra Bombach)

A Woman Captured (dir. Bernadett Tuza-Ritter)

Three Identical Strangers (dir. Tim Wardle)

Into The Okavango (dir. Neil Gelinas)

A Thousand Girls Like Me (dir. Sahra Mani)

Grenfell (dir. Ben Anthony)

The Dread (dir. Pablo Aparo)

Out (dir. Denis Parrot)

17% Europe 30% Asia 10% US 22% UK 21%
Film Country of Production Rest of World
is a vulnerable space where you jump
and try
Increasingly, filmmakers have to take these jumps alone, especially when you’re
So thank you for
with us” - Elhum
to make sense of something
telling a story that goes against the grain.
A Northern Soul

Special Events

Linn da Quebrada, following the screening of Kiko Goifman and Claudia Priscilla’s Teddy Awardwinning Tranny Fag. Singaporean vocal loop artist Weish accompanied the UK Premiere of Sundance Award-winning Shirkers Warp Records artist GAIKA performed a newly commissioned live score responding to Khalik Experimental composers, musicians and a sci-fi writer joined filmmaker Amy Cutler to re-invent the heroes, villains, sounds and spaces of nature broadcast. Thurston Moore performed live following the UK Premiere of Stuart Swezey’s Desolation Center

Alternate Realities Exhibition

A world leading programme of interactive, augmented reality and virtual reality experiences, Doc/Fest’s Alternate Realities programme is supported by Arts Council England through Doc/Fest’s newly acquired National Portfolio Organisation funding.

The Alternate Realities exhibition comprised two complementary themes exhibited over two floors at Trafalgar Warehouse: The World Unknown to You featured virtual and augmented reality, video games and digital installations that took the audience into the lives of others. The floor above entitled Better Known Truths, supported by DDD60 project, housed a communal space in which synchronous virtual reality shows brought audiences together to experience 360º documentaries from around the world.

The Exhibition was free and open to all, engaging diverse audiences, particularly attracting young people. Audiences were able to experience first-hand accounts of unknown and under reported global issues in Yemen Skies of Terror and The Journey, reflect on new and altered perspectives in Porton Down and Manic VR and examine treasures from the Natural History Museum with Sir David Attenborough in Hold the World.

The winners of the Doc/Fest Alternate Realities VR and Interactive Awards this year both displayed a commitment to diverse makers as well as recognising innovation in approach to storytelling: the winner of the Alternate Realities VR Award was Michelle Gabel and Michaela Holland’s Face to Face (USA, 2018), a compelling installation based on the life of Michelle Fox, who wears a facial prosthetic due to a near fatal gun injury; while the winner of the Alternate Realities Interactive Award was Richard Butchins’ The Voice of the Unicorn (Japan/UK, 2018), a provocative exploration of the art of the non-verbal that challenges how we see and understand language, disability, art and alienation.

“It was truly an honor to be showcased amongst such great work and have the opportunity to meet inspiring artists working in the field. Great programming. What an awesome festival with a lovely team. A beautiful way to bring Manic VR into the world.”

- Kalina Bertin, Manic VR, Canada

did more to
this year than the entire
industry could muster ” - Upload VR 27 Projects 6 European Premieres 7 International Premieres 8 World Premieres 6 UK Premieres 17 Number of Countries Represented
validify VR’s artistic potential

Festival Awards


Grand Jury Award supported by Screen International & Broadcast The Silence of Others (Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar)

Art Doc Award supported by MUBI Music When the Lights Go Out (Ismael Caneppele)

Tim Hetherington Award supported by Dogwoof Kinshasa Makambo (Dieudo Hamadi)

Environmental Award Wild Relatives (Jumana Manna)

Illuminate Award supported by Wellcome América (Erick Stoll, Chase Whiteside)

Short Doc Award supported by Canon Black Sheep (Ed Perkins)

New Talent Award

Minding the Gap (Bing Liu)

Youth Jury Award supported by Yorkshire Building Society Amal (Mohamed Siam)

Doc Audience Award supported by Curzon Minding the Gap (Bing Liu)

Alternate Realities VR Award Face to Face (Festival Commission) (Michelle Gabel, Michaela Holland)

Alternate Realities Interactive Award The Voice of the Unicorn (Richard Butchins)

Alternate Realities Audience Award Grenfell: Our Home (Jonathan Rudd)

Doc/Dispatch Prize supported by Deutsche Welle Notes from Dunblane: Lessons From A School Shooting

The Doc/Fest Awards recognise great films and great filmmakers and project creators. This year's winners were chosen by an exciting and diverse group of local, national and international jurors who offered plural perspectives on the value non-fiction film, from authors, to artists, musicians and critics.

Talks & Sessions

The 2018 Talks & Sessions programme covered a range of pertinent industry topics with insights from over 200 leading directors, producers, funders and commissioners and talks with star filmmakers and on-screen talent from across the documentary world.

Industry sessions included: funding and commissioning for features, broadcast documentary and short form content; diversity in the industry; new forms and platforms for music documentary; authentic vs extractive storytelling; making prison factual; British Asian representation; new storytelling approaches to poverty; the industry’s response to bullying and harassment; the art of writing about non-fiction film and documentary in the time of big data, dark PR and whistleblowing and a post-Brexit industry discussion.

New talent participating in Talks & Sessions included radio presenter and first-time documentary maker Mim Shaikh, winner of the 2017 BBC Northern Docs Pitch Ryan Gregory and BAFTA Breakthrough Brits Directors Lucy Cohen (Kingdom of Us) and Ed Perkins (Garnet's Gold, Black Sheep).

Top 10 Sessions rated by Industry Delegates:

Chicken & Egg Pictures' Accelerator Lab Pitch
The Whickers Pitch
Documenting Grenfell: a Problem in Plain Sight?
Breaking Into Prisons
The Real Stories Special Relationship Pitch
Doc/Question Time: Big Data, Dark PR & Whistleblowing
Onwards & Upwards: The Future of Documentary Shorts
Freedom to Play: Pros & Cons of Filmmaking as Research
Channel 4 First Cut Pitch
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation x Guardian Pitch

Talks & Sessions

Talks highlights included an intimate lecture with filmmaker Mark Cousins, masterclasses with Academy Award-nominated director Matthew Heineman and acclaimed street photographer and filmmaker Khalik Allah, as well as talks with engineer and TV adventurer Guy Martin, comedian and activist Mark Thomas and celebrated academic and feminist writer Mary Beard OBE. BAFTA and RTS award-winning independent documentary filmmaker Molly Dineen joined the panel discussion Whose Story? Authentic Voices in Storytelling.

The programme also featured model and transgender activist Munroe Bergdorf discussing the making of her documentary What Makes a Woman?, actor Vicky McClure discussing her documentary exploring dementia, and Sir Trevor McDonald discussing crime documentary and his career. Highlights of the free Exchange: Head Space programme included SBTV founder Jamal Edwards MBE, podcast producer Brian Reed (S-Town, This American Life), actor George MacKay and filmmakers and artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. Alastair Campbell talked about coping with depression, the topic of a forthcoming BBC documentary.

Desert Island Docs: Mark Thomas

The BBC Interview: Mary Beard

Top 6 Talks rated by Industry Delegates:
Khalik Allah: Exploring a New Film Language
The Channel 4 Interview: Guy Martin
The ITV Interview: Sir Trevor McDonald
Vicky McClure: Dementia & Music

Festival Summits

Doc/Fest is firmly established as an essential forum for Summits, with four very well attended new and returning Summits on offer in 2018.

New to the Festival this year, the Live Cinema Summit explored the evolving field of live cinema, those film screenings augmented by live performance or immersive elements, including site-specific locations, technological intervention and digital participation. The two-day Summit, presented by Live Cinema UK, included panel sessions with international filmmakers, artists and academic experts in the field of live cinema; behind the scenes artist and producer talks reflecting Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018’s live Film and Alternate Realities events.

The Alternate Realities Summit brought together the world’s leading immersive and interactive artists, academics and opinion leaders for a day dedicated to learning, diversity and unity. The Alternate Realities Summit comprised a curated a programme of keynote talks, artist spotlights, lightning talks and and demonstrations. Hosted by cultural curators, Sharna Jackson and Emma Cooper, and supported by Arts Council England, the day showcased the work and ideas of artists and experts who brought genuine enlightenment to the room. With an even more diverse selection of speakers and subjects than in previous years, the contributors were drawn from the world of humanitarian endeavour, global news, game development, virtual reality artistry and theatre. Keynote speakers included Zahra Rasool from Al Jazeera, Ruthie Doyle from Sundance Film Festival and William Uricchio, Director of MIT’s Open Doc Lab.

Hosted by SBS Content Consultant Krishan Arora, and presented by Documentary Campus, the Craft Summit explored the craft of documentary – both the techniques and the tech that goes into non-fiction film and programme making, from shorts to features. The creative minds behind many of the films in this year’s programme explored how they have developed their craft, the creative choices they make and the tools and workflows they use.

The Sales & Distribution Summit began with the popular ‘101’ session for delegates relatively new to the industry, and included a case study on the distribution strategy for Unrest (last year’s Doc/Fest Illuminate Award winner and 2016 MeetMarket alumni) from producer Lindsey Dryden. The Sales & Distribution Summit featured a panel on Distribution for VR hosted by Screen International before a cohort of executives from international sales and distribution companies took turns at presenting themselves to filmmakers followed by networking

Exchange: Head Space on Tudor Square

The highly popular Exchange: Head Space was a public programme of special talks, films and activity taking place in pop-up venues in Sheffield’s Tudor Square for fullest audience engagement and inclusion, and with a focus on the topic of mental health. Over the six day Festival, the programme was free and open to all during the daytime, with modestly priced ticketed films each evening.

Exchange activity included the World Premiere Festival commission DOUBLETHINK, an immersive video installation by renowned artists and filmmakers Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard (20,000 Days on Earth), featuring actor George MacKay (Pride, Sunshine on Leith), and with a score composed by Warren Ellis (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds). Audiences were also invited to escape to different realities by entering the Alternate Realities Portal, a 360º projection venue which will transport audiences to virtual and alternate worlds.

Exchange guest speakers included SBTV founder Jamal Edwards MBE, vocal artist Reeps One, BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Mim Shaikh, director Claire Simon, S-Town host and creator Brian Reed, actor George MacKay and the filmmakers and artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, who spoke about the inspirations and experiences behind their work. Alastair Campbell’s talk about depression was one of the talks packing the Exchange Dome with new and returning audiences.

Exchange: Head Space included some complimentary refreshments for all. There was also a bar offering nonalcoholic and alcoholic drinks, and local food stalls throughout the day and evenings, including for those Festival-goers fasting during the Festival period.

Marketplace & Talent

The Marketplace & Talent Programme continued to offer extensive opportunities for national and international filmmakers and producers – both emerging and established – to unlock funding for new projects, forge industry partnerships, obtain mentoring and advice and catch up on the latest trends and developments facing documentary makers today.

Sheffield’s glorious Cutlers’ Hall was again the industry hub for the Marketplace. Here, careful match-making culminated in the MeetMarket and Alternate Realities Market, where 88 projects took over 1,650 pre-arranged meetings with industry Decision Makers over two days. Meanwhile the Sky Arts Lounge, also in Cutlers’ Hall, was abuzz with hundreds more meetings taking place between industry and filmmaker delegates.

Numerous talent development initiatives were offered that were integrated into industry gatherings. Future Producer School culminated its programme with match-made meetings during the Festival. Meet the Execs, run in partnership with EDN, provided pitch-training and workshops with executive producers.

332 Decision Makers

830 Marketplace Participants £10.5M

Total value of deals anticipated by delegates as of June 2018

Industry experts were available for impromptu drop-in consultation and advice via the Switchboard, to help navigate the Festival programme. Festival delegates were connected with the international industry via the Marketplace Round Tables which this year included sessions on funding, co-productions, audio docs & podcasting, shorts, festivals and Alternate Realities. A new initiative for budding, young and new entrant filmmakers, ‘Want to Work in Film?’ with experts from BFI Network and Creative England, attracted members of the public during the Festival weekend keen to find out more about the industry.

Doc/Fest was delighted to partner with the International Documentary Association on a special ‘filmmakers only’ session called Here’s How It Really Happened where two leading producers shared the nitty-gritty financial details of their recent projects with a group of filmmaker delegates. Doc/Fest was also very pleased to connect 20 emerging filmmakers with leading commissioners at Doc/Dinner. Doc/Dinner, this year supported by Canon, was MC’d by Mim Shaikh and included commissioners from the BBC, Channel 4, The Guardian and VICE plus Doc/Dinner founder Reggie Yates. Following the connection made at Doc/Dinner between filmmaker Cherish Oteka and VICE/i-D commissioner Eloise King at Doc/Dinner 2017, Cherish has two short films in development with VICE and i-D.

Marketplace & Talent: MeetMarket

MeetMarket, Sheffield Doc/Fest’s flagship pitching opportunity, connected 64 new documentary projects from 19 countries with industry Decision Makers from around the world. The array of stories and subjects was impressive and wide-ranging and saw highly experienced production teams pitch alongside new and emerging talent. The pitching teams comprised both returning teams and those new to the table. Within the first month following the 2018 edition, Doc/Fest was already hearing positive reports of new deals and collaborations being forged in Sheffield 2018; the Marketplace & Talent team will continue to track projects and support the makers through their fundraising and production stages.

This year, eight finished films selected for the 2018 Film Programme had previously taken part in MeetMarket: Amal, Bruce Lee and the Outlaw, The Eyes of Orson Welles, The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid, No Greater Law, Over the Limit, Time Trial and the Oscar qualifying The Silence of Others, Winner of Doc/Fest’s 2018 Grand Jury Award.

64 MeetMarket Projects 1256 Matchmade Meetings

"I've been to 5 major international marketplaces with previous films and the meetings at Sheffield are by far the most diverse and global. The meetings are expertly organised and of the highest quality." - MeetMarket participant

"This was an invaluable market to be part of. It was our first film market, and took our sales plan to new heights. The support from the Festival team was amazing, and I couldn't recommend it more to filmmakers.” - MeetMarket participant

Marketplace & Talent: Alternate Realities Market

As new forms of documentary storytelling emerge and evolve with the development of digital technologies, Doc/Fest’s Alternate Realities Market continues to offer an unrivalled opportunity for creatives to find supporters and collaborators for digital, interactive and virtual reality projects.

24 teams pitched to a range of industry Decision Makers from organisations offering funding, distribution, partnerships and exhibition to non-fiction works exploring new media. Companies that participated in this year’s Alternate Realities Market included Google, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Artangel, ARTE, BBC, The National Film Board of Canada, The National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, SXSW and the Tate, among others. Two completed projects from previous Alternate Realities Markets – Vestige and The Real Thing – were showcased for public audiences in this year’s Alternate Realities Exhibition.

24 Alternate Realities Market Projects 427 Matchmade Meetings

“Fantastic opportunity to meet a huge range of interested, enthusiastic and generous figures from throughout the industry.” - Alternate Realities Market Participant

Marketplace & Talent: Live Pitches

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018 featured a wide ranging programme of pitch events, for opportunities at all levels, offering hundreds of thousands of pounds in funding and in-kind support for development, production and placements. Designed to create a pipeline of new, emerging and established talent for a sustainable industry and exhibition, pitch events act as a forum for talent to present to Decision Makers and industry audiences, and also, act as an essential forum for Decision Makers and funders to meet new talent and hear new ideas for their platforms.

The Channel 4 First Cut Pitch The BBC Northern Docs Pitch Korean Pitching Day Chicken & Egg Accelerator Lab Pitch Joseph Rowntree Foundation & Guardian Pitch Boiler Room Pitch Real Stories Special Relationship Pitch How to Pitch Your Academic Idea

Marketplace & Talent: International Delegations

Every year Sheffield Doc/Fest welcomes international delegations of talented and aspiring filmmakers, content creators, and those with a passion for documentary, to attend the Festival and to be able to take full advantage of opportunities to connect with buyers, funders and the further international documentary market for potential co-productions and commissions.

This year, delegations came from 10 wide ranging countries, coordinated by a variety of film and cultural bodies. Doc/Fest maintains these relationships each year with UK and international partners to help support new, emerging and established talent at the Festival by providing them with support through one-to-one mentoring and help with access to market and networking opportunities.

In 2018, delegations were welcomed from Chile, Jordan, Ireland, Scotland, the Nordic countries, Palestine, South Korea, USA, Canada and South Africa.

Networking & Social Events

BFI Film Hub North Reception Too Beautiful Premiere Drinks University of Stirling Factual TV Drinks Meet The Filmmakers Drinks supported by Molinare Scottish Delegation Drinks South African Delegation Drinks Festival Pass Holders have access to all networking and social reception events across the six-day Festival. In 2018 the Festival hosted over 40 networking breakfasts, brunches, receptions and parties.

Festival Press

Press attendances and coverage for the 25th edition ranged from local to national to international, from public to industry, digital to print to broadcast.

The 25th edition of Sheffield Doc/Fest attracted a record 171 international, national and local journalists anticipating a distinct and innovative programme, a place to discover new talent and new audiences, and find and break industry news. Ahead, during and beyond the Festival, journalists reported about the Film, Alternate Realities, Special Events, Talks & Sessions and Marketplace & Talent programmes.

The World Premiere reviews and news stories of the opening night film A Northern Soul in The Guardian, Screen Daily, Cineuropa, Deadline and local media set much of the tone and narrative for the Festival; a recognition that Doc/Fest is an agenda-setting Festival, a Northern success story which celebrates authentic voices, embraces innovative storytelling, and a Festival where conversations begin.

“A Documentary Film Festival like no other” - The Pool

Screen International, and also Broadcast’s documentary special, featured comment pieces by CEO & Festival Director Liz McIntyre about Doc/Fest creating pathways for a new wave of storytellers and reflecting how the industry can change for fullest representation. Broadcast also featured a comment piece by Doc/Fest Board member Derren Lawford about how online documentaries have come of age. Screen International’s June/July edition looked at the documentary landscape observing, “the once dreaded D-word is no longer dirty but cool”

From March 2018 onwards, the Festival released news about its 25th edition, focussing on international collaborations and commissions across the Film and Alternate Realities programmes, and the line-up of Northern and other regional talent in Talks & Sessions. The three Festival commissions attracted critical praise and comment from local, national and international media: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard were interviewed in Now Then magazine and BBC Radio 4’s Film Programme about DOUBLETHINK; Alternate Realities commission Face to Face was reviewed in The Guardian, Filmmaker magazine and the Sheffield Telegraph; Sight & Sound and Exposed magazine wrote about the world premiere performance of GAIKA’s live score to Black Mother

Festival Press

The Alternate Realities Exhibition received high praise in Upload VR, The Guardian, Sight & Sound, i-Docs and Filmmaker magazine. Francine Stock and Caitlin Benedict reported extensively from the exhibition for the BBC Radio 4 Film Podcast and Programme and interviewed Alternate Realities Curator Dan Tucker. Dan Hett, project maker for The Loss Levels was interviewed for i-News.

“I’m standing around a group of creators doing the most important work in VR yet” – Upload VR

CEO & Festival Director Liz McIntyre was interviewed for BBC News Online, Sheffield Telegraph, Sheffield Star and Sheffield Live to mark the 25th edition. Talking to Francine Stock for the BBC Radio 4 Film programme, Doc/Fest Grand Jury spokesperson Mark Cousins observed that, “it’s a very good year for documentary storytelling from what I’ve seen”. Director of Film Programming Luke W Moody was interviewed for Sight & Sound, which also gave in depth coverage to the Festival programme online and in the magazine.

Festival films in competition were reported extensively in The Guardian, Screen Daily, BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, Huck, The Skinny, Artforum, Filmmaker Magazine, Sight & Sound, Aesthetica magazine, BBC Radio Sheffield, Daily Mail, Morning Star, and the Arts Shelf.

Artforum reported, “some remarkable movies passed through South Yorkshire in the course of six days”.

The World Premiere of The Insufferable Groo was covered by Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline magazine; The Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin was written about in The Guardian, Vice Motherboard, Screen Daily and kuow.org; What is Democracy was reviewed by The Guardian, Screen Daily and Exposed. An interview with the filmmakers of The Cleaners was featured on VICE.

Festival themes of identity, sexuality, race and mental health were picked up in Diva magazine, Huck, Alt Africa, TMRW magazine, Gay Star News and Dirty Movies. The Hollywood Reporter and Pink News reported from the talk Munroe Bergdorf: What Makes a Woman

Highlighting 10 stand-out moments from Doc/Fest sessions, Televisual reported, “at the Channel 4 First Cut pitch we saw diversity in action, with four finalists out of five being women”.

The Mirror newspaper carried reports from talks by Vicky McClure about dementia, and Alistair Campbell about mental health. Deadline and China Special Zone Daily reported from the Jamal Edwards and Jolyon Rubinstein talk in Exchange: Head Space, supported by Wellcome. In the industry sessions Screen Daily, Broadcast, C21, Deadline, Realscreen and Televisual reported news from the Not Another Diversity Panel, Times Up: The Industry Response to Bullying & Harassment, Distribution for VR, Music Docs: New Forms and Platforms and the Commissioning Panels. Deadline magazine reported from MeetMarket in Cutlers’ Hall, including interviewing Head of Marketplace & Talent Patrick Hurley.

And finally, following a noisy local press campaign inviting local participation, Richard DeDomenici’s Threads: Redux took place on the streets of Sheffield, including with Magid Magid, Lord Mayor of Sheffield and Doc/Fest contributor, and premiered at The Leadmill, as featured in The Guardian.


The Doc/Crew Volunteers programme, supported by Yorkshire Building Society, welcomed a record 482 volunteers to the Sheffield Doc/Fest team. We worked with local community gatekeepers throughout the year such as Drink Wise, Age Well, Sheena Amos Youth Trust, Shift Media, Longley Park Sixth Form College and a number of local and national university partners.

The programme attracted both local and national participants to one of the UK’s biggest volunteer programmes. The programme proudly demonstrated its diversity by welcoming volunteers from ages 17 to 84. 64% of volunteers identified as being female, 25% were from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups and 9% self identified as having a disability.

The Doc/Crew volunteer programme continues to strengthen its legacy by providing references, development opportunities and further opportunities to its alumni. Many volunteers will progress to Festival trainee or entry level staff roles for the 2019 Festival.

482 volunteers 55% are students 42% from Sheffield

"Genuinely had the best time volunteering at Doc/Fest with Doc/Crew! Met so many wonderful people, learnt loads, watched some amazing films and heard some amazing speakers! First time volunteering and I know it will most definitely be the first of many! Bring on next year!"


Chris Speddings, Marketplace Volunteer

From Door to Doc

From Door to Doc is a community outreach programme run by Sheffield Doc/Fest and supported by Wellcome that strives to enable citizens of Sheffield and the surrounding areas, who wouldn’t normally be able to access the Festival, to come and enjoy a Festival experience for just £1.

Doc/Fest 2018 was From Door to Doc participants’ first documentary film festival. The £1 supervised package comprised return travel, a film, a tour of the Alternate Realities Exhibition, Exchange Talks and refreshments.

This year, 80 individuals from Sheffield and the surrounding areas took part in From Door to Doc. The Festival engaged with the participants through an open call, and by working with local community groups such as Ben’s Centre, Crisis Skylight South Yorkshire, and SAGE Greenfingers Sheffield.

From Door to Doc attracted a diverse group of participants for this year’s programme, with 58% female, 3% attendees identified as transgender, 43% noting that they are receiving Job Seekers Allowance or Incapacity Benefits; 29% consider themselves to have a disability; and 25% under the age of 30.

“A million thanks for a fantastic trip to Doc/Fest for our SAGE members last Friday. I've now either seen in person or heard from all the members who attended and they are still buzzing about it! It's been interestingif not surprising - to find out that the vast majority of our group were visiting the Showroom for the first time. The film has provoked a lot of thought and interest, and a couple of our members went back to the VR exhibition at Trafalgar Warehouse after the trip was officially over as they wanted to explore it further. All in all a resounding success, and a very good turnout on the day in comparison with other trips we've organised.”

All Year Programme

In addition to its showcase June Festival, Doc/Fest has an increasing All Year programme and community for year-round engagement and support, rolling out its Festival programmes nationally and internationally, and offering network events in between Festivals for legacy and community engagement.

Sheffield Doc/Fest year round screening activity July 2017 to May 2018 has included a weekend showcase of short and long form documentary at Bertha DocHouse in London, and a year-long audience building partnership with Hull Independent Cinema. Taking place during Hull's Year of Culture 'Hull on Film' included a satellite screening, performance and Q&A of Nick Broomfield's Whitney: Can I Be Me live from Doc/Fest 2017 and sold out screenings at Vue cinema in Hull in partnership with Yorkshire Film Archive (pictured) reaching over 500 audience members.

In 2017 Doc/Fest partnered with British Council and venues across Latin America to deliver an ambitious international tour, comprising a curated selection from the 2017 Alternate Realities exhibition to DocMontevideo in Montevideo, Uruguay, DocSP in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Noviembre Electronica in Buenos Aires, Argentina over the Autumn period. Called Realidades Alternativas, the tour attracted audiences of 14,509, many of whom engaged with interactive and virtual reality documentary for the first time, extending Doc/Fest's profile internationally, and resulting in more submissions to the Marketplace, Film and Alternate Realities programme from Latin America.

All Year Programme

Doc/Fest's Future Producer School had its fifth edition in 2017-2018. Run in partnership with Bungalow Town Productions, and supported by Creative Skillset, fifteen emerging producers from around the UK were selected to take part. The programme began with a residential lab the Peak District in November involving presentations from BBC Storyville Commissioner Mandy Chang, Dogwoof’s Head of Acquisitions and Distribution Oli Harbottle, VICE’s Global Executive Editor Eloise King and producer Sara Stockman of Sonntag Pictures. The participants received 1:1 mentoring from Bungalow Town’s Jez Lewis and Rachel Wexler, and the programme culminated with meetings and round-tables with international Decision Makers at Doc/Fest including Netflix, Sundance Institute, BBC, Doc Society, ESPN, Cinereach and Tribeca Film Institute. The participants from all editions of the programme remain in touch via an active, growing alumni network.

Sheffield Doc/Fest has presented at numerous other festivals across the globe, on juries and industry and public including speaking engagements, ranging from speaking with students, at industry organisations, at public engagements and hosting film Q&As.

Doc/Fest has increased its networking and social year-round engagement, including an industry party at IDFA in Amsterdam, in partnership with Tribeca Film Institute and producing a panel session on women in VR followed by a networking reception at the European Film Market Berlinale in February 2018, welcoming an audience of 200.

Doc/Fest once again brought the creative community of Sheffield together six months out from the Festival at its New Year Drinks Reception in January 2018, as part of what is now annual fixture for local filmmakers, partners and stakeholders.

Doc/Fest is proud to have celebrated its 25th edition of a Festival and All Year programme, continuing to ask

Economic Impact

Accommodation Food & Drink Transport Other Items Festival Delegates Spend in Sheffield 2018 £1,746,077 Total Delegate Spend in Sheffield June 2018 A large injection of local spend comes from Festival delegates visiting Sheffield to attend Doc/Fest. Based on a survey sent to 3,444 delegates that attended this year’s Festival, the economic impact on the City from delegates was calculated, below. For every £1 Sheffield invests into Doc/Fest, Festival delegates spend £7.05 within the City. £733,676 £540,864 £178,592 £292,943

Festival Team

Board of Directors

Alex Graham, Chair (Two Cities Television)

Barbara Lee (Sky)

Brian Woods, Deputy Chair (True Vision)

Derren Lawford (Woodcut Media)

Helen Scott (Clear Focus Productions)

Honorary President

Nick Fraser (Yaddo)

Advisory Commitee

Adam Gee (Littledot)

André Singer (Spring Films)

Andy Glynne (Mosaic Films)

Ashok Prasad

Carol Nahra

Carolyn Payne (National Geographic)

Cat Cooper (Elfin Productions)

Catherine Allen (Limina)

Charlie Phillips (The Guardian)

Christina Burnett (Wide Eye Pictures)

Danny Horan (BBC)

Dick Fontaine (NFTS)

Festival Team

Aisha Jan (Marketing Assistant FEDs Trainee)

Alay Paun (Events Coordinator)

Ian Wild (SMEC)

Jo Clinton-Davis (ITV)

Madonna Benjamin (Channel 4) Mary Burke (British Film Institute)

Patrick Holland (BBC)

Peter Armstrong (Harbottle & Lewis)

Sharna Jackson (Seahorse)

Shirani Sabaratnam (Freelance)

Elizabeth Wood (Bertha DocHouse)

Emily Renshaw-Smith

Iyare Igiehon (S.O.U.L.)

James Quinn (Big Wheel Film & Television)

Jan Bednarz (Buzz Films)

Jolyon Rubinstein

Leila Monks (Antidote Productions)

Liesel Evans (Century Films)

Liz Mermin

Lucy Baxter (Mandrake Films)

Martin Rosenbaum (Lone Star)

Matimba Kabalika (BFI Network)

Aleksandra Dimitrijevic (Production Coordinator)

Alex Lancastle (Operations Assistant)

Alex Szabo-Haslam (Publications Layout Design Assistant)

Anthea Okereke (Hospitality Assistant)

Annabel Grundy (Alternate Realities Summit Producer)

Beth Prior (Alternate Realities Programme Assistant Trainee)

Bethany O'Brien (Events Runner Trainee)

Bianca Manu (Exchange Session Producer)

Brett Nielson (Outreach Assistant Trainee)

Carmen Thompson (Digital Marketing Coordinator)

Cassie Fletcher (Assistant Accountant)

Chloe Patrickson (Marketing & Publications Coordinator)

Corrigan Lowe (Marketplace Sessions Assistant)

Dan Tucker (Alternate Realities Curator & Executive Producer)

David Chang (Festival Photographer)

Ed Brooks (Alternate Realities Production Assistant)

Ed Weller (Alternate Realities Production Assistant)

Elaine Wong (Alternate Realities Market Producer)

Elizabeth McIntyre (Festival Director & CEO)

Elisabeth Pelosof (Marketing Runner Trainee)

Ellie Irwin (Hospitality Coordinator)

Erinma Ochu (Exchange Curator)

Fiona Outram (Finance Manager)

Freya Bell (Events Runner Trainee)

Hannah McHaffie (Programme Coordinator)

Helen Wright (Volunteers Coordinator)

Helena Dolby (Festival Photographer)

James Lowe (Festival Graphic Designer)

Joe Barker (Publications Assistant Trainee)

Joe Cutts (Alternate Realities Producer)

Joe Newberry (Volunteers Assistant)

John Farrar (Exchange Producer)

Karolina Lidin (Marketplace Executive Producer)

May Abdalla (Anagram)

Nick Crossland (Joi Polloi)

Oli Harbottle (Dogwoof)

Pegah Farahmand (Disney)

Rachel Wexler (Bungalow Town)

Rajesh Thind (Open Circuit)

Roger Graef (Roger Graef Prod.)

Simon Chinn (Red Box Films)

Simran Hans (Observer)

Sue Sudbury (Sequoia Films)

Taghi Amirani (Amirani Films)

Victoria Noble (Discovery)

Kate Boddy (Press Assistant)

Katrin Schmiedel (Film Programme Assistant Trainee)

Krishan Arora (Craft Summit Curator & Producer)

Lena Moss (Events Assistant)

Lena Nitsch (Administrative & Executive Assistant)

Lisa Brook (Events & Marketing Consultant)

Lisa Hutchinson (Production Runner Trainee)

Luke W Moody (Director of Film Programming)

Lucy Bailey (Exchange Site Coordinator)

Maeve Armstrong (Box Office Manager)

Manon Euler (Marketplace & Talent Coordinator)

Maria Stoneman (Head of Operations & HR)

Mat Steel (Head of Production)

Matt Sturdy (Video Coordinator & Editor)

Mathy Selvakumaran (Marketplace & Talent Assistant Trainee)

Melanie Iredale (Deputy Director)

Monika Klavins (Photography Coordinator)

Natasha Harish (Registration Assistant)

Nia Childs (Events Manager)

Nigel Fischer (Head of Talks & Sessions)

Nikki Aslatt (Festival Publicist)

Noor Hanif Rodin (Operations Runner Trainee)

Oli Gots (Festival Publicist)

Olivia Parkin (Hospitality Runner Trainee)

Oriana Franceschi (Talks & Sessions Assistant)

Owen Jones (Distribution Assistant)

Patrick Hurley (Head of Marketplace & Talent)

Paul Hayes (Showroom Production Coordinator)

River Ferris (Marketing Manager)

Samantha Armstrong (Assistant Accountant)

Sarah Dawson (Film Programme Manager)

Sarah Harvey (Head of Press)

Sarah Howe (Alternate Realities Programme Coordinator)

Sukayna Najmudin (Delegate Centre Assistant)

Sylvia Bednarz (Director of Partnerships & Development)

Vicki Rolley (Box Office Coordinator)


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