Get the low-down on the the hottest events for budding filmmakers at this year’s festival.
Black Mother with Live Score from GAIKA, Sun 10 June @ 21:00, Sheffield City Ballroom.
Having waved off the Sheffield Doc Fest bound members of NETWORK, those of us left behind decided to check out the schedule and pass on our top picks. What a mistake! After much salivating, a mounting sense of DAMO (Definitely Am Missing Out), and a few comforting cups of tea, we managed to cool it and put finger to keyboard.
Aside from an awesome raft of new Docs to watch, we were particularly struck by the amazing selection of talks and panels, so decided to gear our selections towards the budding documentary filmmaker shaping their understanding of the medium. If you’re heading up this weekend here’s what caught our eye along with a little advice…
(And if you run into our colleagues James Weddup and Caragh Davison don’t be afraid to say hi… and let them know, actually, we’re having loads of fun back in the office without them… not jealous at all!)
Learn from your predecessors
My Big Break – Sat 9 June @ 10:00
Film and TV professionals at varying stages in their career discuss the successes (and challenges) that paved their way into the industry.
BFI Doc Society Fund: Meet the Team! – Sat 9 June @ 11:30
Doc society is the BFI’s delegate partner for the UK’s documentary funds and they are looking out for the most creative, diverse doc-makers and doc-curious folk in the country.
Know how to pitch
Channel 4 first Cut Pitch – Mon 11 June @16:30
Shortlisted directors vie to prove that they are ready to take on the challenge of an hour-long, post watershed documentary for Channel 4. Each director will introduce, show and discuss their films in front of a live audience and a panel of executive producers and filmmakers. Come and discover the next wave of exciting talent.
The Whickers Pitch – Tue 12 June @14:30
Who will be awarded the coveted £80,000 Film & TV Funding Award to make their first feature-length documentary? The Whickers Pitch brings together five emerging directors to pitch their non-fiction projects to a panel of industry judges and an audience of key decision-makers, all looking to meet future filmmaking talent. Come and support the finalists, be your own armchair judge and bear witness as the legacy of pioneering broadcaster Alan Whicker brings another exceptional documentary idea to life.
Documentary (as we know it) is dead
Why VR Workshop | Presented by Google – Sat 9 June @ 10:00
We’ve packed a half day full of VR – from an overview of the medium to hands-on training.
Alternate Realities Summit: Making a New Reality – Sun 10 June @ 16:00
What do we want the future to look like? Immersive media, artificial intelligence and other innovations promises to impact every aspect of our societies.
Best of Times, Worst of Times: the Future of Feature Documentaries – Mon 11 June @ 10:00
Are we entering a new ‘Golden Age’ for feature documentary? Will new funding sources create a flurry of blockbuster features, or is cinema exhibition inexorably declining as audiences ‘Netflix and chill’?
Onwards & Upwards: The Future of Documentary Shorts – Mon 11 June @ 14:30
It has been a high profile time for shorts, including BAFTA presenting its first Short Form Television award. The continued proliferation of digital platforms is enabling producers to develop commercial relationships directly with viewers, while broadcasters continue to commission short form, as do newspaper/media groups and big brands.
Alternate Realities Touring Exhibition, Trafalgar Warehouse Sheffield
Research research research (and a free event)
Launch Screening for the AVA Library Project – Sat 9 June @13:30
A free launch event for the Doc/Fest AVA library project: a new documentary screening service for Sheffield Library members.
Broaden your horizons
Whose Story? Authentic Voices in Storytelling – Sun 10 June @ 11:00
From the Syrian conflict to Black Lives Matter; now more than ever there is an urgency for stories told by less represented and authentic voices emerging from affected communities.
Black Mother with Live Score from GAIKA – Sun 10 June @ 21:00
Sheffield Doc/Fest and Warp Records are proud to present the World Premiere of Gaika’s newly commissioned hypnotic live score responding to Khalik Allah’s latest documentary Black Mother. Part film, part rhythmic baptism, this evening of beautiful live cinema will transport audiences to the shores and streets of Jamaica through a poetic tapestry of words, sounds, images and fervent energies.
Vicky McClure: Dementia & Music – Mon 11 @ 19:00
We welcome BAFTA-winning actor Vicky McClure, star of This is England (produced by Sheffield based Warp Films), as well as Line of Duty and The Replacement, to Sheffield Doc/Fest for the first time, to discuss her new BBC One series, Vicky McClure: My Dementia Choir.
Critics forum: The Art of Writing About Non-Fiction Film – Sun 10 June @ 11:00
The art of writing about non-fiction suffers a historic dearth of nuanced and in-depth journalism.
An Evening with Mark Cousins: 30 Images in the Dark – Sun 10 June @ 18:30
Join Mark for an intimate lecture exploring the aesthetics, politics and emotion of ‘looking’. Using 30 key cultural images, Mark will examine how our ‘looking selves’ develop, the ways that looking has changed through the centuries and explore how our social and cultural surroundings shape what we see.
Know your audience
Commissioning: Factual Entertainment – Tue 12 June @ 12:00
Factual Entertainment programming aims to explore the world through broadest appeal. Our panel of factual entertainment commissioners will discuss what works for their respective channels and their approaches for creating the next big hitting formats and series.
Inside National Geographic: Meet the Commissioners – Tue 12 June @ 14:30
In this session, we hear from Hamish Mykura, EVP of Programming and Development, and Commissioning Editors Carolyn Payne and Bernadette McDaid, along with recently commissioned producers, about pushing boundaries, and what it takes to work with National Geographic in the era of ‘fewer, bigger, better’.
Don’t listen to us, listen to these people!
BAFTA Masterclass: Matthew Heineman - Sat 9 June @ 16:30
Matthew Heineman, the BAFTA- and Oscar- nominated director, is one of the most exciting documentary filmmakers working today.
Jamal Edwards MBE: SBTV, Music & Mental Health – Sun 10 June @ 13:00
On a mission to break the stigma around mental illness, Jamal will talk to Jolyon Rubinstein (The Revolution Will Be Televised) about his influential career, his recent documentary exploring mental health and his future plans for SBTV and beyond.
Rising Directors Scheme Showcase (Curzon Cinema 2) – Mon 11 June @ 10:00
This is the premiere of 7 emerging producer/directors’ 3 min films, each brought to fruition by a budget of £5k, mentoring by renowned documentary Executive Producers from film and TV and the culmination of intensive training and masterclasses.
Have some drinks and make new friends
New Talent Drinks presented by University of Hertfordshire – Mon 11 June @ 17:00
Come and visit Curzon’s Bar and Terrace and kick off your Monday night with drinks courtesy of University of Hertfordshire. It’s a fantastic chance to connect with new and upcoming talent, industry guests, local filmmakers and fellow documentary lovers.
And don’t miss…
The BBC Interview: Mary Beard – Tue 12June @ 18:00
The BBC and Doc/Fest are delighted to welcome Britain's best-known classicist to Sheffield.