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Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016 Awards

SHEFFIELD DOC/FEST AWARD CEREMONY

The Sheffield Doc/Fest Awards Ceremony, which awards jury prizes in film, interactive and virtual reality categories, were announced on Tuesday 14 June, 22.30hrs BST at The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, hosted for the first time by Doc/Fest fan, KG Tha Comedian.

Says Liz McIntyre, CEO & Festival Director, Sheffield Doc/Fest: “I am so proud tonight to be celebrating an extraordinary year of brilliant creativity and originality across the film and Alternate Realities programmes; an awe-inspiring display of talent, both home grown and from around the world.”

CREATIVE LEADERSHIP AWARD supported by COACHING FOR LEADERS to honour an individual’s essential contribution to the international documentary industry was awarded to Sheila Nevins, President of HBO Documentary Films, who has brought innovative and passionate stories to millions of film and television audiences.
Linda Aspey, Founder of Coaching for Leaders says: ‘Creative Leaders sense a great opportunity and bring diverse individuals together to create something unique, often ground breaking.  Throughout her incredible career, Sheila Nevins is someone who has laid out the big ideas and inspired teams to produce works that’s truly outstanding. Together with her intellect, curiosity, bravery and humour, Sheila Nevins is truly deserving of Doc Fest’s first-ever creative leadership award.”

AWARD FOR UNSUNG HERO IN FACTUAL TV supported by CHANNEL 5
to honour a vital, under-the-radar contribution to factual television, was awarded to Jan Tomalin, Managing Director of Media Law Consultancy who has expertly advised almost all of the UK’s top documentary makers, companies and broadcasters on the trickiest editorial matters imaginable – and won the day.
Guy Davies, Commissioning Editor, Channel 5 says, “Awards in our industry are richly deserved by talent on both sides of the camera – but Channel 5 wanted to look beyond the obvious. There’s a whole load of people whose contributions are essential, critical even – but often underplayed and unsung. People who make the trickiest productions possible when they could easily fall apart.

Quite simply many of the most challenging and important programmes of the last twenty years would not have got on air were it not for this winner’s creativity, tenacity, awesome knowledge…and nerve. The UKs best producers and directors simply love her and trust her. She’s a one off”.

TIM HETHERINGTON AWARD supported by DOGWOOF and presented by Dogwoof, Sheffield Doc/Fest and the Tim Hetherington Trust is awarded to TEMPESTAD directed by Tatiana Huezo (Mexico, 2016)
Special Mention: HOOLIGAN SPARROW
The award carries a £1,000 cash prize.

Judith Hetherington says: “Tempastad documents contemporary human rights abuses against women and is an extraordinary piece of filmmaking with tension, empathy, curiosity and information. All related with steely, uncompromising words and visual poetry… It experiments with the documentary format whilst maintaining a strong personal relationship with its subjects. It’s astounding”.

The DR CLIFFORD SHAW AUDIENCE AWARD SUPPORTED BY CURZON HOME CINEMA – named in honour of Dr Clifford Shaw who was a great cinephile and supporter of Doc/Fest and the Sheffield film community and passed away in 2015, goes to Presenting Princess Shaw directed by Ido Haar (Israel, 2015). The award was collected by Samantha Montgomery, aka Princess Shaw.

STORYTELLING AND INNOVATION AWARD supported by WELLCOME TRUST celebrates compelling stories inspired by science, research and collaborations, told through innovative filmmaking is awarded to NOTES ON BLINDNESS directed by James Spinney, Peter Middleton (UK, France, 2016 an “beautiful, immersive and innovative films” says Lucy McDowell, Project Manager, Broadcast, Film and Games, Wellcome Trust.

WHICKER’S WORLD FUNDING AWARD
WINNER: ALEX FOR BURMA’S LOST ROYALS
RUNNER UP: AMERICAVILLE – ADAM JAMES SMITH

The top prize is the Funding Award of £80,000 to under-30s looking to make their first full-length documentary is awarded to Alex Bescoby for Burma’s Lost Royals which centres around a forgotten monarchy and an intriguing quest that threatens to tear a family apart.

Valerie Kleeman said: “Alan would‘ve loved this story of the Burma Royals, he would have jumped at the chance to have made it himself. I look forward to viewing the finished film.”
Roger Graef added: “Burma’s Lost Royals is a royal story with a twist, a strong and timely dimension and the revelation of their hidden existence. This is documentary journalism that is both urgent and significant for our understanding of a country at a crossroads.”

The runner’s up prize of £10,000 is awarded to Adam James Smith for Americaville – on the pursuit of Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in a Chinese replica of an American town, right down to lessons in cooking with Jello.

Roger Graef said: “Americaville is a precious and idiosynchratic story that tells us much about China and its ambivalent attitude to the US.”

Jurors
Valerie Kleeman – Founder / UK
Liz McIntyre – CEO & Festival Director, Sheffield Doc/Fest / UK
Roger Graef – filmmaker / UK
Mak CK – filmmaker / Singapore and Mexico

Films
Burma’s Lost Royals
Inga of The Amazon
Americaville
Mukesh
Lessons from My Father

WHICKER’S WORLD VETERAN’S AWARD
WINNER: FLUECHTLINGE – REFUGEE

The £4,000 winner of the award for veteran first-timers over the age of 50 goes to Keith Earnest Hoult, for Fluechtlinge – Refugee.

The judges were impressed that he made this entirely self-funded film as ‘a simple tale of ordinary people helping other ordinary people at their time of most desperate need’.

Keith a fan of Alan Whicker’s ‘gentle approach’ to interviewing was inspired to create a ten-minute film about Syrians seeking refuge in a disused airport used for the Berlin Airlift. When he witnessed his friend’s wife Caroline trying to help refugees against a growing backlash he ‘felt the urge to film it if only for her family to reflect on later in life’. Keith learnt his filmmaking skills at the SAE Institute after redundancy and divorce turned his life upside-down. Judges were impressed that he made this entirely self-funded film as ‘a simple tale of ordinary people helping other ordinary people at their time of most desperate need’.

The runner up prize of £1,000.00 goes to Reporter /Presenter Norman Fowler for The Truth About Aids: Producer Smita Patel / Editor Hugh Levinson for BBC World Service.

Films
Fluechtlinge – Refugee
The Truth About Aids

WHICKER’S WORLD AUDIO AWARDS
WINNER: LITTLE VOLCANOES
RUNNER UP: THE DHAMMAZEDI BELL

The winner of the first prize Whicker’s World Audio Award of £4,000 goes Little Volcanoes, recorded, written and produced by Catherine Fitzgerald, sound mix by Matt Thompson and Mike Woolley. A Sky Arts online commission. 

Catherine follows the rhythms of a day at Pilgrims Hospice, Margate, from early morning, meeting Claudia the cat at the end of the night shift to the nurse’s final “goodnight” to her patient. We hear conversations with patients as they talk about their illnesses; the things and people they love, and find out that people are Little Volcanoes.

Alan Hall said: “The gathering and compiling of materials in Little Volcanoes is particularly artful. The artifice is very well hidden, though the use of sound is highly accomplished and people are treated with an open sensitivity. It gives you an insight in to a world that most of us haven’t previously inhabited.”

Rikke Houd added: “All the components work well together, Catherine gathers up all these small scenes and puts them together in a way that makes the listener feel that every moment has been cared for. You can definitely hear that carefulness. It’s extremely well woven together.”

The runner’s up award of £1,000 goes to The Dhammazedi Bell. Produced by Francesca Pancetta for BBC Radio 3.

Jurors
Rikke Houd – Independent producer / Denmark
Kim Normanton – BBC Radio / UK
Jane Ray – Artistic Director Whicker’s World Foundation / producer / UK
Misha Glenny – Writer and broadcaster / UK
Alan Hall – Falling Tree Productions / UK

Projects
Lore’s Story
The Dhammazedi Bell
Shoah in Jerusalem
Little Volcanoes
Johnny O: The Pirate’s Story

GRAND JURY AWARD supported by Screen International & Broadcast
Winner: CAMERAPERSON
Special Mention: THE SETTLERS
The Grand Jury Award carries a prize of £2,000

The Sheffield Doc/Fest Grand Jury Award, supported by Screen International & Broadcast which honours one film that best displays excellence in style, substance and approach to documentary filmmaking goes to Cameraperson directed by Kirsten Johnson (US, 2016).

On behalf of the jury Nino Kirtadze said: “A work that´s both expansive and intimate, formally ambitious and morally humble. Though this filmmaker has travelled the world to tell others stories, her real bravery with this film is when she makes the decision to turn the camera on herself, questioning her own ethical choices and exposing her own personal fragilities. A film unlike any other, intuitively constructed to reflect ideas and choices and emotions, rather than a standard narrative thread, it invites the viewer to contemplate and feel these experiences along with her.” 

The jury also gave special mention to The Settlers directed by Shimon Dotan. Kirtadze commented, “We wanted to give a special mention to a film that stood out in the competition, a psychological spiral in storytelling that drags you deeper and deeper into the history of this very delicate issue blending together a personal and political story.

The film amazed the jury by its methodical research and incredible access gained over years of filming, it provides a brutally honest portrayal of the settler movement in Israel and as events continue to unfold will be as relevant in 10 years time as it is today.”

Jurors
Eric Hynes – MOMI/Indiewire / USA
Nino Kirtadze – Director / France
Sean McAllister – Ten Foot Films / UK
Marie Nelson – PBS / USA
Barbara Truyen – VPRO / Netherlands

Nominated Films
Bobby Sands: 66 Days
Brothers
Cameraperson
City 40
The Confession
Jim: The James Foley Story
The Land of the Enlightened
Notes on Blindness
Presenting Princess Shaw
The Settlers
Tempestad
Sour Grapes

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD supported by Discovery Communications
Winner: SEED: THE UNTOLD STORY
Special Mention: DEATH BY DESIGN
The Environmental Award carries a prize of £2,000.

The 2016 Sheffield Doc/Fest Environmental Award, supported by Discovery Communications, awarded to the documentary that best addresses or raises awareness of the environmental challenges faced by the world, goes to SEED: The Untold Story directed by Jon Betz, Taggart Siegel (US, 2016). Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel collected the award and received a £2,000 cheque presented by ….
On behalf of the Environmental Jury Ryan Harrington said: “It was beautifully crafted and creatively and emotionally finds a way to make the audience care about preserving the biodiversity of our planet”.

The Jury also gave a special mention to Death by Design directed by Sue Williams, “We would like to give a special mention to Death by Design for its daring journalism which truly motivates the viewer to change their consumerism/habits.”

Jurors
Ryan Harrington – Discovery Channel, Animal Planet & Science / USA
Leonard Retel Helmrich – Director/Cinematographer / Netherlands
Jerry Rothwell – Director / UK
Kate Townsend – BBC Storyville / UK
Melanie Wallace – NOVA WGBH TV/PBS / USA

Nominated Films
The Age of Consequences
Born to be Free
Death By Design
Footprint
Freightened – The Real Price of Shipping
Kivalina
SEED: The Untold Story
There Will Be Water
Zud

ALTERNATE REALITIES INTERACTIVE AWARD
WINNER: NEW DIMENSIONS IN TESTIMONY
SPECIAL MENTION: WALDEN, A GAME

The winner of the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016 Alternate Realities Interactive Award – one of only a few such awards in the documentary world – is New Dimensions in Testimony created by Heather Maio and produced by Stephen Smith for USC Shoah Foundation (USA 2016).

Speaking on behalf of the jury, Shanida Scotland said, “This is not a story, nor a database of video clips. It’s an invitation to have a real and deeply personal conversation with the recording of someone else. The simplicity and fundamental user friendliness make you forget the complexity of the technology and filmmaking beneath it.”

Jurors
Nico Daswani – World Economic Forum / Switzerland
John MacFarlane – POV Digital / USA
Francesca Panetta – The Guardian / UK
Shanida Scotland – BBC / UK
Caspar Sonnen – IDFA / Netherlands

Nominated Projects
#Hacked: Syria’s Electronic Armies
Antariksha Sanchar – Transmissions in Space
Avatar Secrets
The Enemy
John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes
New Dimensions in Testimony
A Polish Journey
This War of Mine: The Little Ones
Trick or Treat : Bhai-O-Scope
Two Billion Miles
Undoing Time
Walden, a Game

ALTERNATE REALITIES VR AWARD
WINNER: NOTES ON BLINDNESS: INTO DARKNESS
SPECIAL MENTION: HOME – A VR SPACEWALK EXPERIENCE

The Alternate Realities VR Award celebrates the ever-growing number of high-quality virtual reality documentaries in what has now become a new creative and experiential storytelling genre.
The winner of the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016 Alternate Realities VR Award is Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness created by Arnaud Colinart, Amaury La Burthe, Peter Middleton, James Spinney.
On behalf of the all-female jury Ingrid Kopp said, “VR at its best allows us into an otherwise inaccessible world. A visual piece about blindness seems a paradox but through imaginative interactivity and storytelling we experience it as an expansion of senses, a new way of being in the world. John Hull’s testimony enriches our lives. It’s a work we want to savor and return to. The Award goes to Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness.”

Jurors
May Abdalla – Anagram / UK
Annika Gustafson – BoostHgb / Sweden
Siobhan Sinnerton – Channel 4 / UK
Ingrid Kopp – Tribeca Film Institute / South Africa
Francine Stock – Broadcaster/Critic/Writer / UK

Nominated Projects
6×9: A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement
Across the Line
Collisions
Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel
Home – An Immersive Spacewalk Experience
Home : Aamir
In My Shoes: Dancing With Myself
Invisible
Mars 2030
Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness
Origins
We Wait

YOUTH JURY AWARD
Winner: SONITA

The 2016 Sheffield Doc/Fest Youth Jury Award goes to Sonita, directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami (Germany, Islamic Republic of Iran 2015).
Speaking on behalf of the Youth Jury of five of the UK’s brightest and most passionate documentary lovers aged between 18 and 22 Maxine Sibanda said, “During the deliberation process, our criteria eventually centred on how effectively the winner portrayed the various struggles, experiences, trials and tribulations involved in ‘growing up’.
With all of us now entering adulthood ourselves, leaving behind our youths,  the film hits particularly close to home.
All of these films no doubt portrayed their concept with heart, soul and intelligence in abundance, but we settled eventually on an unanimous winner, the brilliant ‘Sonita’.
Empowering, compelling, sensitive and stylistically rich all at once Sonita is an inspiration to us all regardless of age, race, class or nationality.

Jurors
Hannah Binney
Simone Dembitzer
Ross McDonnell
Maxine Sabinda
Kristofer Thomas

Films
Flotel Europa
Lyari Notes
Snow Monkey
Sonita
Storyboard P, a stranger in Sweden

SHORT DOC AWARD
Winner: I’M NOT FROM HERE

The winner of the 2016 Sheffield Doc/Fest Short Documentary Award – which now qualifies for the 2017 Academy Awards, is I’m Not From Here directed by Giedrė Žickytė, Maite Alberdi (Chile, Denmark, Lithuania, 2015).
The spokesperson for the Short Doc Award Jury, Kathleen Lingo said, “Like a work of great literature this film has a high level of sophisticated storytelling technique to investigate fate, memory and the meaning of home. The Jury remarked on the cinematic quality of both the camerawork and dramaturgy that effectively, and with a great creative vision evokes the magic of quotidian moments.”
Jurors
Sergi Doladé – Medimed / Spain
Klara Grunning-Harris – Swedish Film Institute / Sweden
Seetha Kumar – Creative Skillset / UK
Kathleen Lingo – New York Times / USA
Al Morrow – Met Film / UK
Shane Smith – Hot Docs / Canada
Michał Szcześniak – Filmmaker / Poland

Films
Brillo Box (3¢ off)
Bunkers
Extremis
Gatekeeper
I’m Not From Here
Johnny Physical Lives
Recorded Absence
Silent Voices
Toucan Nation
When You Awake

STUDENT DOC AWARD
Winner: MY ALEPPO

The 2016 Sheffield Doc/Fest Student Doc Award, made by filmmakers from film schools and universities around the world, goes to My Aleppo directed by Melissa Langer (US, 2015)
Speaking on behalf of the Student Doc Award jury Benjamin Huguet
Said, “While confronting the refugee crisis, My Aleppo takes a step aside, offering an intimate portrait of a Syrian family. The film doesn’t victimize its protagonists but rather shows them as they work to build a new home in South Africa.

Served by beautiful observational cinematography, the camera tracks its characters very closely as they contemplate their domestic computer screen, helpless and anguished, watching the destruction of their home country and the dreadful fate of those who remain.

This interrogation of images within the new family home allows the audience to put itself in the position of its protagonists and to get a glimpse of what these people are going through – making the film a profound emotional journey for its audience and a documentary of unique value.”

Jurors
Jemma Desai – British Council / UK
Sylvia Harvey – University of Leeds / UK
Benjamin Huguet – Director / UK
Matimba Kabalika – BFI / UK
Kyoko Miyake – Director / UK

Films
Burnout
Continental Drift
Eye for an Eye
Grey Area
Joan
Klavierkunst
My Aleppo
PULSE
Saving Sungei
Tarikat
Transit Zone

AUDIENCE AWARD WINNERS

Throughout the Festival audiences have been voting for their favourite documentary short, Alternate Realities Interactive Project and Alternative Realities VR project. The winners are:

Short Documentary:

Tarikat directed by Jasmijn Schrofer (Netherlands, Turkey 2015)

Alternate Realities, Interactive:

New Dimensions in Testimony, created by Heather Maio and produced by Stephen Smith for USC Shoah Foundation (USA 2016

Alternate Realities, VR project:

Home – An Immersive Spacewalk Experience created by Kate Barlett and Tom Burton.

The Sheffield Doc/Fest award winners each received a bespoke trophy designed by Caithness Glass.

Doc/Fest 2016 – Women

Leveling the playing field at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016

The stories of women feature heavily across the film, Alternate Realities, Talks & Sessions and Doc/Fest Exchange programme at this year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest; some are ordinary, some extraordinary, often are an inspiration to us all. The festival has a strong history of supporting female filmmakers and this year is no exception – with Festival support also extending for the first time to all delegates with children – details of childcare facilities available during Doc/Fest can be found on our website: https://sheffdocfest.com/view/childcare

Films:

The 160 strong Doc/Fest Film Programme, curated by Claire Aguilar, includes:

 Golden Girl directed by Susanna Edwards

Women in Docs/ International premiere/ Sweden / 2016 / 97 min

Frida Wallberg was the best female boxer alive. WBC World Champion and career undefeated, she was one of the most feared fighters in the world. Yet during her final fight, she suffered a life-changing blow. Rushed to hospital after a dangerous brain haemorrhage, Frida’s world changed in an instant. Her struggle to recover is to be her toughest fight yet.

 Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise directed by Rita Coburn Whack and Bob Hercules

Women in Docs/ EU premiere/ United States / 2015 / 114 min

An icon of American politics and culture, Maya Angelou was an inspiring, didactic writer whose life spanned some of the most pivotal moments in the 20th century. This filmic biography by Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack faithfully follows her life’s dizzying trajectory and features personal anecdotes from the Clintons, Lou Gossett Jr. and Oprah Winfrey.

Plaza de la Soledad directed by Maya Goded

UK premiere/ Mexico / 2016 / 84 min

A group of ageing prostitutes chat energetically in a square called ‘solitude’ (soledad). Observing and narrating their relationships over the course of two decades, acclaimed photographer-turned-filmmaker Maya Goded is a trusted confidante to many of these women. The film unpicks the recent lives of five who have been in the game for years, but nonetheless remain resolutely hopeful.

Presenting Princess Shaw directed by Ido Haar

Grand Jury Award/ UK premiere/ Israel/ 2015/ 80 min

Talented but isolated, New Orleans care worker Samantha Montgomery 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. The screening on Saturday 11 June will be followed by a performance by Samantha Montgomery, aka Princess Shaw.

Serena directed by Ryan White

United States / 2016 / 90 min

Shot verity-style, Serena focuses on the external pressures and vulnerabilities Williams faces in her quest to achieve four Grand Slams in a row (a “Serena Slam”), and her losses at the 2015 US Open and 2016 Australian Open. The film also looks at Williams’ life off the court with her family and inner circle of coaches, trainers and friends.

Care directed by Deirdre Fishel

Women in Docs/ World premiere/ United States/ 2016/ 65 min

With an intimate and empathetic eye, Care follows three American home care workers and their elderly clients, revealing the beauty and complexity of hands-on care and the profound connections it engenders. The film also exposes the failures of the U.S. eldercare system, which has care workers earning poverty wages and elderly clients struggling to pay for the care they need.

Miss Sharon Jones! directed by Barbara Kopple

Women in Docs/ 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.

No Home Movie directed by Chantal Akerman

Belgium, France / 2015 / 115 min

Chantal Akerman documents the life of her mother Natalia Akerman, a Polish immigrant and Auschwitz survivor. Focusing on conversations between Akerman and her mother, and using a home movie format to document small family moments, the film ends a few months before her mother’s death and before Akerman took her own life in October 2015.

Cameraperson directed by Kirsten Johnson

Grand Jury Award/ United States/ 2016/ 102 min

For 25 years American cinematographer Kirsten Johnson has roamed the globe for some of the doc world’s biggest directors, including Michael Moore and Laura Poitras. In this thoroughly engrossing film she refashions some of her footage into a kaleidoscope musing on her profession. Innovative and thought provoking, Cameraperson proves a masterclass in empathetic filmmaking, a must see for anyone forging a career on filming the lives of others.

Tempestad directed by Tatiana Huezo

Mexico / 2016 / 105 min

Miriam, a working mother who never appears on camera, makes her way across Mexico after being released from a cartel-run prison town. Counter posing her harrowing account is that of Adela’s, the spirited matriarch of a circus family whose daughter has been missing for years. Documentarian Tatiana Huezo poetically explores the haunting significance of homecoming for the two women.

Daddy’s Girl directed by Melisa Üneri

Women in Docs/ UK premiere/ Finland/ 2015/ 52 min

Daddy’s Girl is a tragicomic breaking-up story between a Turkish father, living in Finland, and his 26-year-old half-Finnish daughter. Their symbiotic relationship begins to deteriorate when the daughter moves to Turkey to start a life of her own. This is a story about rebellion, growing up and letting go.

National Bird directed by Sonia Kennebeck

UK premiere / United States, Afghanistan / 2016 / 92 min

Lisa Ling regrets the 121,000 lives she spied on electronically in a two-year period for the US Air Force. She’s now trying to make amends by visiting bombing victims in Afghanistan. National Bird follows Ling and two other whistle-blower veterans wracked with guilt about the secret US drone war, and the many civilian casualties that continue to be denied by the powers that be.

Alternate Realities – Virtual Reality Arcade, Site Gallery & The Space:

The free-of-charge Alternate Realities exhibitions curated by Mark Atkin feature 26 virtual reality and interactive projects.

In My Shoes: Dancing with Myself

Jane Gauntlett, Andrew Somerville / United Kingdom / 2015

The true story of Jane, friends, strangers and epilepsy – told in virtual reality. Part of the In My Shoes first-person documentary project, performer Jane Gauntlett fuses film, theatre, technology and empathy in an ever expanding library of interactive experiences to recreate real-life experiences.

United Nations VR Film Launch
The UN has pioneered the use of virtual reality to raise awareness of global issues, including those faced by women. Join our mass viewing of their latest VR film, about gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where factions fight over the country’s mineral resources. After the viewing, director Gabo Arora will be interviewed by Francine Stock of BBC Radio 4’s The Film Programme. In partnership with Brink Institute.

Talks & Sessions:

The Absolutely Adventurous Joanna Lumley in Conversation

PARTICIPANT: Joanna Lumley

Doc/Fest and ITV are thrilled to welcome a true legend to this year’s festival: Joanna Lumley OBE. The celebrated actor, documentarian and campaigner comes to Sheffield to talk about her esteemed and exciting career in TV and film. Her documentary work has included epic journeys to discover diverse cultures and continents and intimate portraits of pop icons from Elvis to will.i.am. Born in Kashmir, Joanna began her professional life as a model, before moving into acting, including unforgettable performances in The Avengers and Absolutely Fabulous. This will be a rare opportunity to hear her discuss her experiences on films such as Joanna Lumley’s Trans-Siberian Adventure, the Northern Lights and Nile, as well her future documentary work.

This event will be British Sign Language Interpreted. Supported by ITV.

In Conversation with HBO’s Sheila Nevins

A powerhouse in the documentary world, Sheila Nevins has shepherded scores

of the genre’s best films over many years and, as President of HBO Documentaries, is one of the US’s most powerful documentary executives. Sheila talks with Nick Fraser about some of the many hits in a career that has garnered nearly thirty Emmy awards.

 Female Trailblazers: New Ways of Working in Media

PARTICIPANTS: Rachel WexlerKristen JohnsonSophie Mayer , Lucy Baxter

There is a new vanguard in our media culture. A growing pool of talented and experienced women, tired of waiting for the film and TV industry to reach the 21st century, are driving it forward themselves. The voices of working mothers, and female perspectives in general, are being lost in the current industry climate. The women on this panel are forging ahead with new business models and new ways of working that suit their lives, their choices and their careers.

Honest Truths: The Ethical Challenges of Filmmaking

PARTICIPANTS: Angus MacQueen, Kirsten Johnson, Nanfu Wang

Any filmmaker who sets out to make a documentary faces multiple challenges, not the least of which is a set of ethical issues inherent in the process. To film or not to film? How close to a subject is too close? How far is too far? Sometimes lines are crossed and sometimes boundaries are set beforehand. These documentarians share their experience on recent projects and how they handled a variety of ethical issues that occurred.

Hooligan Sparrow directed by Nanfu Wang and Cameraperson directed by Kirsten Johnson are screening at the festival.

New Genderation: Has Factual Kept Up With the Revolution in Gender and Sexuality?

PARTICIPANTS: Jes Wilkins, Twiggy Pucci Garcon, Fox Fisher, Zoe Davis

Documentaries about the LGBT community have broken into the mainstream recently. Films like My Transsexual Summer, Gay and Under Attack and Girls to Men have told a diverse range of stories. While some of these were celebrated, others were accused of being voyeuristic and exploitative. So what is the attitude of broadcasters, programme-makers and the film industry towards gender identity and sexuality, and is there any diversity behind the camera?

Writing with Light: The Art of Cinematography

PARTICIPANTS: Petra Graf, Maya Goded, Kirsten Johnson, Nick Read

The harmony of photography and story has been the goal of professional cinematographers throughout cinema history. But how is the perfect marriage of image and narrative achieved and what choices do the director and cinematographer make to best visually express the story? A panel of distinguished documentary filmmakers will discuss the creative and practical process and offer valuable insights into the dramatic choices directors and cinematographers make.

Plaza de la Soledad directed by Maya Goded, is screening at the festival. Cameraperson directed by Kristen Johnson, is screening at the festival.

Doc/Fest Exchange In Tudor Square Supported By Wellcome Trust:

Creative Exchange… ideas behind Miss Sharon Jones!

Broadcaster Karen Gabay and Victoria Williamson, a specialist on the psychology of music, exchange ideas around the healing power of music.

Digging Deeper… Doc/Fest Alternate Realities: Virtual Reality

Emma Cooper of Rocket looks into the making of the groundbreaking virtual reality project In My Shoes with creator Jane Gauntlett.

Part of a series of free-of-charge conversations and creative exchanges inspired by extraordinary talent, groundbreaking films and interactive and virtual reality storytelling.

 

Doc/Fest 2016 – Tech and Innovation

Experimenters, Innovations and Artificial Intelligence at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016

Sheffield Doc/Fest in June is the place to be for anyone interested in where tech is taking the story. A focus on Artificial Intelligence and virtual reality at the Alternate Realities Summit on Sunday 12 June includes the world’s most social android Bina48, the brand new human archiving project, New Dimensions in Technology from USC Shoah Foundation, plus the Summit audience will be the first in the world to view the latest United Nations VR Film via a synchronised viewing on the Festival’s own custom cardboard viewers. A wealth of interactive and VR projects to excite early adopters will be available to try at two free-of-charge Alternate Realities Exhibitions across three venues: the Interactive Exhibition at the Millennium Gallery – including a prototype of an Augmented Reality documentary – and the UK’s leading Virtual Reality exhibition at Site Gallery, The Space and at Union St café a site-specific installation of Jane Gauntlet’s In My Shoes: Dancing with Myself .

For folk preferring to explore the tech world through traditional storytelling, the Film programme includes the EU Premiere of Death by Design while the subject of whistleblowing is explored across film and public talks, as the festival hosts the first UK screening of National Bird. In the world premiere of Toucan Nation an abused toucan gets a new 3-D printed beak and in the Environmental Jury There Will Be Water sees British Engineer Bill Watts create fresh water from seawater.

This brave new world is the focus of a number of free-of-charge talks at the festival’s brand new hub, Doc/Fest Exchange in Tudor Square, supported by Wellcome Trust, and industry panel discussions in the Talks and Sessions programme.

And while audiences are immersed and amazed by the Alternate Realities and Film programmes, the next generation of projects created by geeks and artists will be given life in the Marketplace at the Alternate Realities Market.

Alternate Realities:

Curated by Mark Atkin the Alternate Realities programme allows audiences to experience how virtual reality, games and artificial intelligence are changing how stories are told. Open to the public and Festival delegates for the whole Festival, the programme kicks off on Friday 10 June, with the free-of-charge Interactive Exhibition at the Millennium Gallery and the Virtual Reality Arcade, both supported by Arts Council England. The debate around the issues raised by the Alternate Realities programme is the focus of Sunday’s all-day Summit where audiences can get up close and personal with the creative teams behind the projects.

Alternate Realities Summit:

The Alternate Realities Summit on Sunday 12 June presents a day of intriguing panels and playful presentations from the leading voices in interactive factual storytelling and virtual reality and brings together experts from documentary film and broadcast, theatre, journalism, engineering and neuroscience.

The Sunday morning will focus on artificial intelligence and kick off with Love, War + Robots, an interview between transmedia producer and director Ramona Pringle, whose work focuses on the intersection of technology and the human condition, and the android Bina48 – the world’s most advanced social robot. Science Fiction Prototyping: Artificial Intelligence and Storytelling will see Sheffield Robotics demonstrate the importance of intelligent machines in the future of storytelling; Dr Stephen Smith of USC Shoah Foundation will showcase New Dimensions in Testimony, ground-breaking natural language processing software that allows audiences to have a “virtual encounter” with the recorded image of Holocaust survivor, Pinchas Gutter, who responds in real time, powered by complex algorithms providing realistic conversation.

The VRfternoon session on Sunday will open with Jessica Brillhart, Principal Filmmaker for VR at Google talking about The Future of Virtual Reality; in 360° Sound for a 360° Experience: Dynamic Binaural Audio in VR audio engineers will demonstrate how cutting-edge spatial audio is being used to create richer and more immersive VR experiences, and it will talk about the role of sound in VR storytelling and how to start designing dynamic binaural audio; in VR & Journalism: Opportunities and Challenges the panel of experts will examine the invaluable experiences of VR journalist pioneers and explore how this fledgling medium will impact on the industry; at the United Nations VR Film Launch the audience will be the first to view the UN’s latest VR film, about gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo,  in a mass VR viewing. After the viewing, director Gabo Arora will be interviewed by Francine Stock of BBC Radio 4’s The Film Programme. VR: The Machine to Make us More Human?, including representatives from British Council, Arctic Shore, Harmony Institute and World Economic Forum, brings together research in neuroscience and academia, and interrogates the idea of VR as the ‘ultimate empathy machine’. Creating VR is more like staging theatre than shooting film. In All The World’s A Stage, four VR producers with a background in theatre – Toby Coffey, National Theatre, Tom Burton, BBC, Catherine Allen, producer, and May Abdalla, Anagram – will discuss what we can learn from producing drama when making VR. In Interactive Theatre, Technology & Empathy & In My Shoes: Waking in Slough, Jane Gauntlett will talk about her mission to describe the indescribable and empathise with the inexplicable, based on her experience as an artist with epilepsy through a performance of the first In My Shoes piece that she made: Waking in Slough, which uses VR and theatre to tell a true story to great effect.

On Sunday evening, audiences (and nerds) can continue the themes of the Summit with:

A Night of Surveillance: The Supernerds Experience

A thrilling live experience designed to make you think twice about your online footprint. Producer and presenter Georg Tschurtschenthaler gives insights into the original production of the interactive part-theatre, part-TV show Supernerds, before providing us with a playful demonstration of just how easy it is to hack phones and tap into private data. Based on the transmedia project Supernerds from gebrueder beetz filmproduktion.

 Alternate Realities: Interactive Exhibition at Millennium Gallery:
The Alternate Realities Interactive Exhibition at Millennium Gallery, running all week, includes 14 immersive media projects allowing a depth of experience far beyond the limitations of the flat screen. The exhibition is divided into three distinct areas: art installations, interactive documentary experiences, and games for grown-ups.

 One of the much discussed ideas around VR is its ability to evoke an empathetic response from the participant to the subject, but what is empathy? The Empathy Station will combine neuroscience and virtual reality to uncover unconscious biases and collect data on whether VR really is “the machine that makes us more human”. The data collected at the station will be used in the creators’ panel on the nature of empathy during the Summit VRfternoon.

Tonje Hessen’s iSynx is a personal AI operating system that revolutionizes your life, and Sharon Daniel’s Undoing Time is a multi-media installation of prison industry products linked to an archive of interviews reflecting on what it means to ‘do time’.

Within interactive documentaries, Avatar Secrets, made by Ramona Pringle (who will be in conversation with Bina48 in the Summit), explores the complexities of human connection in the networked world; also part of the Summit USC Shoah Foundation’s New Dimensions In Testimony permits audiences far into the future to have a ‘virtual conversation’ with a Holocaust survivor about his life experiences;

Michael Epstein and Mark Thompson’s immersive journey John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes recreates the summer of 1980, where Lennon found inspiration for the album Double Fantasy; supported by Wellcome Trust, Trick or Treat: Bhai-O-Scope celebrates the pluralities and complexities of Indian healthcare; while a prototype of The Enemy: Augmented Reality uses the very latest breakthrough in media technology to introduce us to both sides of an intractable conflict; and A Polish Journey explores migration through a journey of discovery by the creator Julian Konczak to uncover truths behind his father’s arrival in Britain from Nazi Germany.

As gamers grow up, the games have too! Using original news footage spanning 21 countries Channel 4 News’ interactive video story Two Billion Miles recreates the extraordinary journeys behind the migration crisis; Juliana Ruhfus’ #Hacked: Syria’s Electronics Armies invites users to become a journalist and investigate a deadly cyber war; Tracy Fullerton’s Walden, a Game simulates the life of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau during his experiment in self-reliant living; Michal Drozdowski, Przemysław Marszał’s This War of Mine: The Little Ones explores the hardships of wartime survival seen through the eyes of children; the exhibition includes a video game from India: Antariksha Sanchar – Transmissions in Space, inspired by mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan and the classical dancer Jayalakshmi Eshwar, it is a cultural adventure game set in the 1920s in a temple town in South India.

Alternate Realities: Virtual Reality Arcade at Site Gallery & The Space:

Among the 12 projects exhibited in the Alternate Realities: Virtual Reality Arcade, curated in partnership with Site Gallery, visitors will be invited to virtually visit the International Space Station; to better understand what it might be like aboard a migrants’ boat; to see how it feels to experience the onset of epilepsy; to navigate the world without sight, and experience a virtual acid trip…

Migrant and refugee stories are given the 360° treatment in three VR projects: Invisible by Darren Emerson, commissioned by Sheffield Doc/Fest & Site Gallery, with support from Arts Council England, will take audiences on an immersive journey into the uncertainty and despair of the UK’s immigration detention system; Home : Aamir is the first in a series of VR films created by the National Theatre which explore the meaning of home through the stories of refugees in the Calais Jungle; and We Wait, created by Aardman Animations for the BBC, will put the viewer on a boat with a terrified Syrian family.

Inspired by NASA’S training programme and the experiences of its astronauts, Home – An Immersive Spacewalk Experience created by Rewind & BBC, will invite participants to throw themselves into the void 250 miles above Earth; while Mars 2030 will put the viewers in the place of explorers on the surface of Mars. Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness – the VR partner to the hybrid documentary, which is playing in the Film Programme – goes into “a world beyond sight” through John Hull’s aural archive; while Jane Gauntlett’s In My Shoes: Dancing with Myself fuses film, theatre, technology and empathy to explore epilepsy. In keeping with the theatricality of this experience, it is being presented in the Union Street café, a short walk from Site Gallery, to further immerse the audience.

Nonny de la Peña’s hard-hitting project Across the Line puts viewers in the shoes of a woman running the gauntlet of protesters as she seeks reproductive healthcare at a US sexual health clinic; Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton’s 6×9: A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement recreates the experiences of over 80,000 people who are locked in solitary confinement for 22-24 hours a day. Oscar Raby also returns to the festival with Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel created by VRTOV and Crossover for BBC, which uses aural and film archive and Lynette Wallworth’s Collisions explores the collision of science and spirit in the land of indigenous elder Nyarri Morgan and the Martu tribe. And William A. Kirkley’s Origins invites audiences to take a trip into the early days of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, who kickstarted the hippy movement after a life-changing LSD trip.

The Meet the Maker sessions are an opportunity for audiences to meet and talk to the makers with their projects in the Alternate Realities Interactive or Virtual Reality exhibitions.

Tech in the Films programme:

The 160 strong Doc/Fest Film Programme, curated by Claire Aguilar, includes five films that directly consider our tech world.

Death by Design directed by Sue Williams

Environmental Award / EU Premiere / United States / 2015 / 73 min

Just what is the cost of our digital dependency? Director Sue Williams debunks the notion that electronics is a “clean” industry by investigating a number of environmental and health catastrophes wrought by production of our gadgets. From early poisonous practices in Silicon Valley, to China’s on-going dumping of chemicals this is a story that isn’t being told – but can no longer be ignored.

National Bird directed by Sonia Kennebeck

Instigators and Agitators / UK premiere/ United States, Afghanistan/ 2016/ 92 min

Lisa Ling regrets the 121,000 lives she spied on electronically in a two-year period for the US Air Force. She’s now trying to make amends by visiting bombing victims in Afghanistan. National Bird follows Ling and two other whistleblower veterans wracked with guilt about the secret US drone war, and the many civilian casualties that continue to be denied by the powers that be.

Toucan Nation directed by Paula Heredia
Global Encounters / World Premiere / United States/Costa Rica / 2016 / 40min
The story of a mutilated toucan in Costa Rica who has ignited a national movement to enact animal welfare laws and inspired innovators both there and in the US to tackle the challenge of constructing a prosthetic beak using 3D printing technology.

Machine of Human Dreams directed by Roy Cohen
UK premiere / United Kingdom / 2016 / 90min
Ben Goertzel is widely acknowledged to be one of the smartest AI experts in the world. With a ragtag team in Hong Kong, he’s trying to build a robot with a global brain. But as embittered ex colleagues testify, Ben has some big failures behind him, and with Chinese funders breathing down his neck, the path to fame and glory is not at all smooth.

The Dog directed by Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepar
Short Doc Programme / International premiere / United States 2015 / 8 min
Do robot dogs dream of electric sticks? A room of adults attend the funeral of their Aibos in Japan – a Sony-produced robotic pet. With the repair centres closed, time is ticking for the surviving few.

Tech-themed talks at Doc/Fest Exchange On Tudor Square Supported by Wellcome Trust:

Digging Deeper… National Bird

Carol Nahra in conversation with director Sonia Kennebeck and future media expert Andy Miah explore the power of drones to change the way we experience the world.

Creative Exchange…ideas behind Machine of Human Dreams
Director Roy Cohen in conversation with future media expert Andy Miah talk about the dream life of machines.

Digging Deeper… Doc/Fest Alternate Realities: Virtual Reality Arcade

Emma Cooper from Rocket looks into the making of the groundbreaking virtual reality project In My Shoes with creator Jane Gauntlett.

Digging Deeper… Doc/Fest Alternate Realities: Interactive

Emma Cooper from Rocket talks to Professor Stephen Smith about the making of the ground-breaking New Dimensions in Testimony project from Doc/Fest’s Alternate Realities: Interactive Exhibition.

Part of a series of free-of-charge conversations and creative exchanges inspired by extraordinary talent, groundbreaking films and interactive and virtual reality storytelling.

Other tech-themed talks in the Talks & Sessions industry programme:

 

Context Hacking: A Performance Lecture by Johannes Grenzfurthner

“Context hacking” breaks down conventional communication with unconventional interventions. It’s a political action spurred on by the paradoxes and absurdities of power. Johannes Grenzfurthner will present projects by monochrome, a collective dealing with technology, art and philosophy – an interesting mix of pop attitude, subcultural science and political activism.

 

Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness, a Film and VR Autopsy

PARTICIPANTS:  Lili Blumers, Philippa Kowarsky, Lizzie Francke, Arnaud Colinart, Mike Brett, Peter Middleton

Following the UK Premiere, the Notes on Blindness team share insights on creating and distributing film and virtual reality together for the first time. From early conversations at Doc/Fest’s MeetMarket to touring the project across the UK, its creators, funders and distributors discuss the challenges in building a successful model for funding and touring cinema and VR together. Supported by BFI Film Audience Network’s This Way Up fund.

Marketplace

 

Market Switchboard Surgeries: Virtual Reality and Interactive

The Market Switchboard offers on-demand advice to filmmakers looking to meet some of the 300 Decision Makers invited to the Marketplace. During this Switchboard Surgery, Elie Levasseur from Cross Video Days will be present at the advice desk, taking meetings with delegates.
 Alternate Realities Market

Last year, the second edition of the Festival’s interactive and Virtual Reality projects Market, renamed this year as Alternate Realities Market, reported an increase in deals of 500%, confirming the AR Market at Doc/Fest position as the key place to make partnerships and secure international funding for interactive, immersive and virtual reality projects, within the documentary, factual or hybrid genre.

Among the 25 projects selected to pitch this year are a number of established documentary film producers pitching AR projects: Leah Borromeo and Katharine Round (Disobedient/ Forma Arts, UK) with Climate Symphony – Katherine Round produced The Divide which screened at Doc/Fest 2015; Christine Cynn (co-producer on Act of Killing); Robert Freiert, Tishna Molla and Kristian Mosvold’s with We Are The Gun; Fernando De Jesus; Sarah Arruda, Claire Cook and Sam Smail (Thinking Violets, UK) with The Boy in the Book: A Choose Your Own Document which is the development of Choose Your Own Documentary which screened at Doc/Fest in 2013. Also Jamie Lochead (Windfall Films, UK) will pitch Victoria’s Cancer Diaries featuring news presenter Victoria Derbyshire, and Betzabé García (Venado Films, Mexico) with #Mickey which is a direct result of Docunexion 2015, a training programme between Mexican and UK filmmakers which began at Doc/Fest 2015.

The Alternate Realities Market is supported by Creative Europe, Arts Council England, UKTI, Getty Images and Bibliotheque.

10-Minute Meets: Interactive and Virtual Reality

Offers delegates the opportunity to meet one-to-one with a diverse group of experts in the interactive, trans media and virtual reality sector of the industry. The attending experts represent technological and cultural institutions, broadcasters and other digital institutions, and are ready to meet with delegates to share information and advice. Each attending decision maker will do six 10-minute one-to-one meetings with delegates.

 Alternate Realities Exhibitions

Alternate Realities Summit at Crucible Studio, Sun 12 Jun 10:00 -12.30, Sun 12 Jun 13:30 – 18:00.

Virtual Reality Arcade at Site Gallery, The Space & Union St cafe, S1 2BS Fri 10 Jun 12:00 – 20:00, Sat 11 Jun – Wed 15 Jun 11:00 – 18:00. Free entry

Interactive Exhibition at Millennium Gallery, S1 2PP Fri Jun 10 12:00 – 17:00, Sat 11 Jun 10:00 – 17:00, Sun 12 Jun 11:00 – 16:00, Mon 13 Jun – Wed 15 Jun 10:00 – 17:00. Free entry

 

Doc/Fest 2016 – Photography

Through the eye of the camera – documenting reality at Sheffield Doc/Fest

How we view the world around us is explored in this year’s festival in films and talks both by photographers and about photography. From the Grand Jury nominated film Cameraperson, to the smart phone becoming a legitimate way for refugees to document their experience, as in the World premiere of Exodus, the camera lens shows no sign of losing its power at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016.

Films:

The 160 strong Doc/Fest Film Programme, curated by Claire Aguilar, includes:

 

Snow Monkey directed by George Gittoes

Youth Jury Award / UK premiere / Australia, Norway / 2015 / 148 min

In Taliban-controlled Jalalabad, three gangs of children restlessly roam the streets. Artist, activist and filmmaker George Gittoes encourages them to put down their weapons and pick up a camera instead, working with the children to make films about their abundantly dramatic lives. By giving voice to some of war’s most neglected victims, Snow Monkey takes us into an Afghanistan we have not seen before.

 

Cameraperson directed by Kirsten Johnson

Grand Jury Award / UK premiere / United States / 2016 / 102 min

For 25 years American cinematographer Kirsten Johnson has roamed the globe for some of the doc world’s biggest directors, including Michael Moore and Laura Poitras. In this thoroughly engrossing film she refashions some of her footage into a kaleidoscope musing on her profession. Innovative and thought provoking, Cameraperson proves a master class in empathetic filmmaking, a must see for anyone forging a career on filming the lives of others.

Plaza de la Soledad directed by Maya Goded

UK premiere / Mexico / 2016 / 84 min

A group of ageing prostitutes chat energetically in a square called “solitude” (soledad). Observing and narrating their relationships over the course of two decades, acclaimed photographer-turned-filmmaker Maya Goded is a trusted confidante to many of these women. The film unpicks the recent lives of five who have been in the game for years, but nonetheless remain resolutely hopeful.

Exodus: Breaking into Europe (Working Title) directed by James Bluemel

World premiere / United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Austria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Libya, Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of, Morocco, Netherlands, Niger, Norway, Senegal, Serbia, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey / 2015 / 60 min

12 months ago, KEO films gave out camera phones to 75 people attempting to break into Europe. They filmed where regular crews could not: on dinghies from Turkey to Greece, in lorries entering Eurostar, or trucks crossing the Sahara. The result is a terrifyingly intimate yet uniquely epic portrait of what has become the biggest story of the decade.

#MyEscape directed by Elke Sasse

UK premiere / Afghanistan, Eritrea, Germany, Syrian Arab Republic / 2016 / 90 min

#MyEscape shows the journey that refugees from Afghanistan, Syria and Eritrea chose to undergo, as the circumstances in their home-countries became increasingly unliveable, by using footage which has been shot by the refugees themselves. Within a timeframe of 90 minutes, these insights are interwoven with reflective in-depth interviews with the protagonists, connecting the outer journey that they went on, to the one that took place within.

Talks and Sessions:

Female Trailblazers: New Ways of Working in Media

PARTICIPANTS: Rachel Wexler, Kirsten Johnson, Sophie Mayer, Lucy Baxter

There is a new vanguard in our media culture. A growing pool of talented and experienced women, tired of waiting for the film and TV industry to reach the 21st century, are driving it forward themselves. The voices of working mothers, and female perspectives in general, are being lost in the current industry climate. The women on this panel are forging ahead with new business models and new ways of working that suit their lives, their choices and their careers. Cameraperson directed by Kristen Johnson, is screening at the festival.

Honest Truths: The Ethical Challenges of Filmmaking

PARTICIPANTS: Angus MacQueen, Kirsten Johnson, Nanfu Wang

Any filmmaker who sets out to make a documentary faces multiple challenges, not the least of which is a set of ethical issues inherent in the process. To film or not to film? How close to a subject is too close? How far is too far? Sometimes lines are crossed and sometimes boundaries are set beforehand. These documentarians share their experience on recent projects and how they handled a variety of ethical issues that occurred. Hooligan Sparrow directed by Nanfu Wang and Cameraperson directed by Kirsten Johnson are screening at the festival.

Writing with Light: The Art of Cinematography

PARTICIPANTS: Petra Graf, Maya Goded, Kirsten Johnson, Nick Read

The harmony of photography and story has been the goal of professional cinematographers throughout cinema history. But how is the perfect marriage of image and narrative achieved and what choices do the director and cinematographer make to best visually express the story? A panel of distinguished documentary filmmakers will discuss the creative and practical process and offer valuable insights into the dramatic choices directors and cinematographers make. Plaza de la Soledad directed by Maya Goded, is screening at the festival. Cameraperson directed by Kristen Johnson, is screening at the festival.

Doc/Fest Exchange In Tudor Square Supported By Wellcome Trust:

Digging Deeper… Snow Monkey

Science presenter Aarathi Prasad and child psychologist Sam Wass (The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds) enter the child universe of George Gittoes’ Snow Monkey.

Part of a series of free-of-charge conversations and creative exchanges inspired by extraordinary talent, groundbreaking films and interactive and virtual reality storytelling.

 

Doc/Fest 2016 – Music

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.

Films:

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:

D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus in Conversation with Francine Stock

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:

Creative Exchange… ideas behind Miss Sharon Jones!

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.

Special Event: Adam Buxton presents a BUG Special: David Bowie (City Hall Ballroom)

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!

 

 

Doc/Fest 2016 – LGBT

Ain’t no party like a Doc/Fest LGBT party!

 Sheffield Doc/Fest 16 proudly presents six documentaries from and about the LGBT community with a World premiere, 2 EU premieres, 3 UK premieres and a nominee for the Youth Jury Award in this year’s programme, plus the world’s most social android Bina48, which was co-developed by Martine Rothblatt, the high-profile US transgender CEO, in the image of her wife Bina Aspen. With additional LGBT interest in Talks and Sessions, a performance from dancer Storyboard P, who’s been described by the New Yorker as “the Basquiat of street dancing” and the New York Times as “an extraordinary mover”, and the Voguing, Strike a Pose Party, with Vogue performers from the renowned House of Lady Di, London based Vogue House, Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016 looks set to be a truly celebratory year of LGBT culture and ideas.

Films:
The 160 strong Doc/Fest Film Programme, curated by Claire Aguilar, includes:
Storyboard P, a stranger in Sweden directed by Matthew D’Arcy

Youth Jury Award / World premiere / Sweden / 2016 / 52 min

Storyboard P glides smoothly through the snow, carving shapes with his slender limbs. Though he has been sleeping rough in Stockholm for a while now, he is still flush with self-belief. “My vision takes it to an art level,” the Brooklyn native asserts. Will the talented dancer finally get his break? Director Matt D’Arcy chronicles Storyboard’s early steps towards international stardom.
Special Event: Live Performance from Storyboard P

Following the world premiere screening of Storyboard P, a stranger in Sweden on Sat 11 Jun the man himself will take to the stage to perform his own inimitable genre of street dance: flex.

Kiki directed by Sara Jordenö

UK premiere / United States, Sweden / 2016 / 94 min

For New York’s LBGT people of colour, Kiki dance clubs provide a safe haven. Part of New York’s voguing ballroom scene, it offers family and friendship to those who have often have neither. This vibrant film, which won the Teddy award at Berlinale, journeys beyond the glitz and the glamour into difficulties that Kiki devotees face – and are determined to overcome.

 

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.

Special Event: Vogue, Strike a Pose Party!

To celebrate the vogueing 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!

Out Run directed by S. Leo Chiang and Johnny Symons

EU premiere / United States / 2016 / 75 min

Despite their visibility, the Filipino transgender community faces a harsh climate of trans phobia in the heavily Catholic and conservative country. But change is in the air. Outrun follows three charismatic transgender women in their grassroots efforts to win seats for Ladlad candidates – the world’s first LGBT political party. Can they convince the voters that they have a role to play in society outside of hairstylists, entertainers and sex workers?

Uncle Howard directed by Aaron Brookner

UK premiere / United Kingdom, United States / 2016 / 96 min

Known for his documentary about the Beat poet William S. Burroughs, Howard Brookner was an emerging director who died of AIDS in 1989. While restoring his oeuvre, Brookner’s filmmaker nephew Aaron uncovers a vast archive located in Burrough’s “bunker” apartment. He elicits the help of his uncle’s colleague Jim Jarmusch to recount the story of a young man immersed in the gritty glamour of New York City.

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi

EU premiere / United States / 2015 / 89 min

Open lesbians in a homophobic Texas, the “San Antonio Four” were found guilty of gang raping two little girls in an era of satanic ritual abuse accusations and bunk science. Deborah S. Esquenazi’s extraordinarily intimate film follows them as they continue to fight for justice; movingly the four women never allow the shocking treatment they have endured to sour their friendships or faith.

Alternate Realities Summit:
The Alternate Realities Summit on Sunday 12 June presents a day of intriguing panels and playful presentations from the leading voices in interactive factual storytelling and virtual reality and brings together experts from documentary film and broadcast, theatre, journalism, engineering and neuroscience. The opening keynote speech will be given be given for the first time ever by an android: Bina48 who was co-developed by Martine Rothblatt, the high-profile US transgender CEO, in the image of her wife Bina Aspen. The concept of intelligent machines is no longer science fiction, it is a reality – but whose values and lifestyles are influencing the design of this new species? Join Ramona Pringle, Director of the Love, War + Robots project, in conversation with Bina48, as they discuss love, war and identity. Followed by Q&A with Bruce Duncan, Director of the Terasem Movement Foundation.

Talks and Sessions:

The Absolutely Adventurous Joanna Lumley in Conversation

Doc/Fest and ITV are thrilled to welcome an Absolutely Fabulous legend to this year’s Festival: Joanna Lumley OBE. Her documentary work has included epic journeys to discover diverse cultures and continents and intimate portraits of pop icons. This will be a rare opportunity to hear her discuss her experiences on films as well her future documentary work. This event will be British Sign Language interpreted.

Adam Buxton Presents a BUG Special: David Bowie Live

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 promises to bring you out of your City Hall seats and up to the starman waiting in the sky.

Doc/Fest Exchange on Tudor Square supported by Wellcome Trust:

About Last Night… daily review including Kiki
Join Charlie Phillips of The Guardian in conversation with Twiggy Pucci Garcon, co-writer and protagonist of Kiki

Part of a series of free-of-charge conversations and creative exchanges inspired by extraordinary talent, ground-breaking films and interactive and virtual reality storytelling.

 

Doc/Fest 2016 – Jewish History

The past revisited: Jewish history at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016

At Sheffield Doc/Fest we explore entirely new ways of looking at the past via documentary film and Alternative Realities. This year’s festival premieres pioneering approaches to Jewish history, including a World premiere from USC Shoah Foundation in the AR Summit, plus extensive Talks and Sessions exploring archive and subjects of historical sensitivity. The film programme boasts no less than 4 new works dealing with Jewish stories past and present including a World premiere, 2 UK premieres and 2 competing for the coveted Grand Jury Award in 2016.

Films:

The 160 strong film programme, curated by Claire Aguilar, includes:

 Brothers directed by Wojciech Staroń

Grand Jury Award / UK premiere / Poland / 2015 / 70 min

After almost 80 years in exile, brothers Mieczysław and Alfons Kułakowski return to their native Poland from Siberia and Kazakhstan. They slowly rebuild a simple co-existence despite their different temperaments. Over a number of years, director Wojciech Staroń pays the nonagenarians regular visits to quietly observe their endurance and, most of all, to celebrate their deep affection for one another.

Destination Unknown directed by Claire Ferguson

World premiere / United Kingdom, United States / 2016 / 80 min

They endured the death camps. They hid in remote farms. They fought as partisans in Polish forests. But when the war ended, the struggles of the Holocaust survivors were only just beginning. Destination Unknown paints a uniquely intimate portrait of survival, revealing pain that has never faded, but which has not crushed the human spirit.

No Home Movie directed by Chantal Akerman

Belgium, France / 2015 / 115 min

Chantal Akerman documents the life of her mother Natalia Akerman, a Polish immigrant and Auschwitz survivor. Focusing on conversations between Akerman and her mother, and using a home movie format to document small family moments, the film ends a few months before her mother’s death and before Akerman took her own life in October 2015.

The Settlers directed by Shimon Dotan

Grand Jury Award / UK premiere / France, Germany, Israel / 2016 / 110 min

Hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers today live in the middle of the Palestinian population in the West Bank. In an archive rich, thought provoking film Shimon Dotan traces their history, painting a picture of an often-haphazard movement in which a small number of extremists have succeeded in controlling the narrative – helping ensure that peace in the region remains elusive.

Alternate Realities: Interactive Exhibition:
The free-of-charge Alternate Realities exhibitions curated by Mark Atkin feature 26 virtual reality and interactive projects.

 New Dimensions in Testimony

World premiere / Heather Maio / USA / 2016

The USC Shoah Foundation’s New Dimensions in Testimony invites you to have a conversation with the scanned image of a holocaust survivor powered by sophisticated natural language processing software that allows you to ask him questions about his experiences and get a natural response.

Talks and Sessions:

Documentary and Trauma: a Survivor’s Guide

The pressure on documentary filmmakers to deliver stories that demonstrate in-depth access about difficult and traumatic issues is greater than ever before. But are we properly equipped to do the best job? A panel of expert filmmakers and trauma experts discuss the different approaches now being used. How do we cope, how do we protect vulnerable contributors and how do we depict the issues we witness in the best way?

Evidence Based Storytelling with Christian Humborg

Oscar-winner Spotlight showed the power of investigative journalism. Correctiv.org is using the same techniques to expose the criminal networks behind refugee smuggling in the Mediterranean, finding out who really downed MH17 in Ukraine, and uncovering the structure of a Neo-Nazi terror cell in Germany. Find out what the ingredients of investigative journalism are, how to make people talk and how to captivate your audience with a story.

Innovation in Archive

Immerse yourself in the opportunities and creative potential of archives and meet curators, commissioners and producers working at the cutting edge of documentary. The panel will explore ways that filmmakers and artists are combining archive and new technologies to engage audiences across TV, cinema, VR, galleries and exhibition spaces, and what the future holds for film heritage. Supported by Creative Skillset.

BAFTA Masterclass: Working with Archive

Archive is an essential tool in the documentarians’ toolbox. In this masterclass we hear from filmmakers from both film and television who have creatively used archive footage to tell their stories. We will discuss how archive can be used in storytelling, how to make archive footage resonate with an audience and explore the relationship between director and archive producer. Supported by BAFTA and Creative Skillset.

Doc/Fest Exchange On Tudor Square Supported By Wellcome Trust:

 Digging Deeper… Doc/Fest Alternate Realities: Interactive

With Emma Cooper and Stephen Smith

Emma Cooper from Rocket talks to Professor Stephen Smith about the making of the ground-breaking New Dimensions in Testimony project from Doc/Fest’s Alternate Realities: Interactive Exhibition.

Part of a series of free-of-charge conversations and creative exchanges inspired by extraordinary talent, groundbreaking films and interactive and virtual reality storytelling.