Sheffield Doc/Fest gets firmly Behind The Beats in 2016
From a modern day exploration of historical Scottish folk songs to a child’s-eye view of Mumbai via Bollywood, Doc/Fest brings unique musical interpretations of global stories to the heart of Sheffield in 2016. With the film programme featuring 2 International, 1 World, 3 UK premieres and a Grand Jury Award nominee, John Lennon’s unearthed Bermuda Tapes receiving their UK premiere in the AR Interactive Exhibition, and not to mention a (Strike A Pose!) party or two, this year’s Behind The Beats strand hits all the right notes at Sheffield Doc/Fest.
Presenting Princess Shaw directed by Ido Haar
Grand Jury Award / UK premiere / Israel / 2015 / 80 min
Talented but isolated, New Orleans care worker Samantha spends her spare time uploading a cappella videos of her original songs to YouTube, to a smattering of viewers. Unknown to her, in a far away kibbutz, Israeli mash up artist Kutiman is composing his next viral sensation – with Samantha as the star. Following them both, director Ido Haar brings us a gratifyingly heart-warming fairy tale from the digital age.
Where You’re Meant To Be directed by Paul Fegan
United Kingdom / 2016 / 75 min
Paul Fegan’s debut feature documentary is a warm-hearted journey through Scottish landscape, culture and music. Featuring Scottish cult-pop raconteur Aidan Moffat (formerly of Arab Strap), the film takes a road trip through time and space with 79-year-old force of nature Sheila Stewart, who believes Scotland’s oldest songs should be performed in their pure form. Moffat takes an invigorating trip around Scotland surrounding himself with Scottish folk tales, folk songs and folk singers.
Special Event: live performance by Aidan Moffat + special guests
Following the screening of Where You’re Meant To Be, Aidan Moffatt will be joined on stage by some very special guests for a live musical performance.
The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble directed by Morgan Neville
UK premiere / United States / 2016 / 96 min
What is the social role of music? Putting aside the classical repertoire that propelled his fame, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma has spent the last two decades assembling musicians for his Silk Road Ensemble. Drawing from the personal biographies of four international musicians, Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) chronicles a musical experiment that also unveils the difficult realities of exile and migration.
The Autistix directed by Dean Puckett
United Kingdom / 2015 / 9 min
Jack, Luke and Saul are The Autistix, the UK’s premier autistic rock group. The boys are a tight-knit friendship group, expressing themselves through rock and roll in a way that they struggle to off the stage. Can they impress the crowds as they go on tour for the first time, and build up to their biggest gig so far, Autism’s Got Talent?
A Todo Color directed by Randy Valdes
International premiere / United States, Cuba / 2015 / 86 min
Cuba, 1990s. Amidst economic, political and social strife, young people turned to music as a source of salvation. In this rousing music doc with some fabulous concert scenes, some of Cuba’s leading artists look back at their formative years. As the government banned the export of art, many were forced to flee to pursue their vision; others stayed behind to fight the system from within.
Don’t Look Back directed by D.A. Pennebaker
United States / 1967 / 96 min
When Don’t Look Back came out in 1967, it set the standard for music documentaries in the years to come. Following a precocious 23-year-old Bob Dylan on his UK tour, D.A. Pennebaker’s ground-breaking film is an assemblage of backstage gossip, eavesdropped conversations, and up-close concert footage. With its audio painstakingly restored, some of its most memorable scenes now take on completely new meaning.
Two Trains Runnin’ directed by Sam Pollard
International premiere / United States / 2015 / 80 min
In the eve of the civil rights movement, two separate groups of bright-eyed, white college kids set off to the segregated South in hopes of finding their blues idols Son House and Skip James. Intersecting their stories is a parallel one about the harsh racist realities of 1960s America. Acclaimed director Sam Pollard examines the violence of racism through the legacy of black-country blues.
Lyari Notes directed by Miriam Chandy Menacherry and Maheen Zia
Youth Jury Award / UK premiere / United Kingdom, Canada, Finland, India, Netherlands, Pakistan / 2015 / 70 min
In Pakistan’s Karachi, rebellion against religious fundamentalism is taking shape in different ways. Rock guitarist Hamza Jafri and his wife Nida Butt co-run the Music, Art and Drama School, a haven for children in a city where the arts are seen as “sinful”. Filmmakers Maheen Zia and Miriam Chandy Menacherry follow a close-knit group of girls as they cope with their violent everyday through friendship and music.
Sonita directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Youth Jury Award / Germany, Iran, Switzerland / 2015 / 91 min
A talented rapper at 15, Sonita (IDFA, Audience Award 2015) is already an indomitable force. Her dream of living abroad is about to come true just as her family intend to marry her off. As an undocumented Afghan refugee living in Tehran, she must now overcome numerous personal and bureaucratic hurdles. Filmmaker Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami is also confronted with a dilemma: should she interfere to help her?
Miss Sharon Jones! directed by Barbara Kopple
United States / 2015 / 94 min
Just as she hits her career-defining peak, “the female James Brown” funk and soul front woman Sharon Jones is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She resolves to get better, taking refuge away from New York and her concerned band mates. Oscar-winning director Barbara Kopple documents the singer’s rocky recovery process, touching on how she found success in later life.
Monterey Pop directed by D.A. Pennebaker
United States / 1969 / 78 min
Pre-dating Woodstock by 2 years but with just as stellar of a line-up, Monterey Pop (shot by Don’t Look Back’s D.A. Pennebaker) documents the 3-day music festival in 1967 San Francisco. Featuring Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, and a legendary performance by Ravi Shankar, the film captures lightning in a bottle at the apex of 1960s rock music.
City of Dreams: A Musical directed by Sam Benstead and Brian Hill
World premiere / United Kingdom / 2015 / 77 min
City Of Dreams: A Musical is a dizzying and unique musical extravaganza. Set in a school in Dharavi, Mumbai, the biggest slum in Asia, it combines observational footage of the children’s daily lives, with songs reflecting their hopes and dreams. This is the very first Bollywood style documentary musical. But this is not a depressing examination of extreme poverty; it’s an uplifting celebration of human spirit and endeavour.
Strike a Pose directed by Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan
UK premiere / Belgium, Netherlands / 2016 / 83 min
Madonna’s “Blond Ambition” tour was accompanied by the controversial documentary “Truth or Dare”. Perhaps to the majesty’s chagrin, the breakout stars were her seven backup dancers, six of whom were gay. After having lived through the LGBT sea change of the 1990s, where are they now? Strike a Pose brings the legendary crew back together for the first time in over 20 years.
Alternate Realities: Interactive Exhibition:
John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes
UK premiere / Michael Epstein, Mark Thompson / USA / 2013
John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes takes us on a boat with Lennon as he travels to Bermuda with his son Sean, a journey of renewed creativity which resulted in his Double Fantasy album.
Talks and Sessions:
Talking to BBC Radio 4 Film Programme presenter Francine Stock, renowned filmmakers and Academy Award-winners D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus will discuss their latest film Unlocking the Cage, as well as look back over a body of work spanning 40 years. This will be a chance to hear from two filmmakers widely regarded as luminaries of cinema vérité. Supported by BBC Storyville. Unlocking The Cage, directed by D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus, Monterey Pop & Don’t Look Back directed by D.A. Pennebaker, are all screening at the festival.
Doc/Fest Exchange In Tudor Square Supported By Wellcome Trust:
Broadcaster Karen Gabay and Victoria Williamson, a specialist on the psychology of music, exchange ideas around the healing power of music.
Part of a series of daily talks at Doc/Fest Exchange on Tudor Square.
Ground control to Major Tom: feast your eyes and ears as the BFI’s sell-out music video show, BUG, returns to Sheffield Doc/Fest for a Bowie musical extravaganza. Hosted by the brilliant comedian Adam Buxton, this is Adam’s love letter to the Thin White Duke, originally put together to coincide with the V&A’s ‘David Bowie is Making a Scene’ and Buxton’s own BBC6 music documentary on the legendary pop star. Adam Buxton Presents a BUG Special: David Bowie Live promises to bring you out of your City Hall seats and up to the star man waiting in the sky.
Special Event: Vogue, Strike a Pose Party!
To celebrate the voguing theme at this year’s Doc/Fest the Saturday night party
“Vogue, Strike a Pose!”, will include Vogue performers from the renowned House of Lady Di, London based Vogue House plus an accompanying DJ. These incredible performers have graced the global stage and travel extensively to judge Kiki Balls. Alongside competitions, they host monthly open sessions where they welcome both experienced ‘voguers’ and newcomers to the scene and encourage freedom of expression, respect and love of voguing. So, if you didn’t come to party, don’t bother knocking on the door!