Sheffield DocFest is an international film and arts festival and marketplace with a mission to spark imaginations and empower our capacity for change by celebrating, championing and debating documentary film and art as a collective form of engagement.
Our 2021 line-up included 55 world premieres, 22 International premieres, 15 European premieres and 59 UK premieres from 57 countries with 63 languages represented. From Senegal to Latvia, Iraq to Denmark and Haiti to Scotland the 78 features and 88 shorts in the film programme and 35 artists and collectives represented in the Arts Programme show the considerable breadth of the 28th edition of the festival.
Our Film Programme offers filmmakers a place for inspiration, debate and challenge, and a relevant international platform to launch their work. It engages audiences with a multitude of forms, ideas, ways of doing and thinking, through World, International, European and UK premieres and through curated retrospective programmes. Sheffield DocFest looks to question the boundaries of documentary through a programme that challenges trends, brings diversity and enriches debate. The festival invites audiences to engage with experiences and stories from different parts of the world and to join makers in inspiring moments.
Our Arts Programme comprises a range of activity including exhibitions, talks, events and new commissions, and showcases the best in international contemporary art practice and research. Artists selected for our programme work across a number of forms, disciplines and subjects, interrogating and expanding the boundaries of non-fiction through moving images, immersive technologies, sound, performance and other media. We prioritise quality over medium or form, selecting the highest-calibre artworks—in terms of aesthetic innovation, sociopolitical relevance and urgency of form/content—from across open call submissions, research and outreach. Taken together, the artists and projects selected highlight the intersections between documentary media, non-fiction film and contemporary art practice. Supported by Arts Council England.
The Industry Programme is the space within the festival for supporting the creation of new work, and discussing together the ways in which new work is made. Our flagship pitching forum, the MeetMarket, connects selected teams with a vast network of international industry representatives to present new projects (features and series). The Arts Talent Market runs in parallel to facilitate partnerships for teams presenting non-fiction new-media projects. The Broadcast Production Talent Market connects up and coming talent with execs at the top production companies. We also host several live pitches where filmmakers can gain funding and constructive feedback from industry experts. And alongside all the pitching, every year we’ll host an array of panel discussions on key topics relevant to industry delegates. We welcome delegates from all levels of experience and all territories to engage with our Industry Programme. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any help navigating it.
Our Community Programme features films from across DocFest’s wider programme alongside workshops, talks and inclusive screenings about stories forged in communities across continents to move the soul and stir the spirit.
It’s about thoughts, ideas and manifestos made possible by people coming together and created in partnership with people from our city.
It’s our world viewed up close and from a distance - from the deepest parts of the ocean to the far reaches of space: community is the bond that sticks us together. The stories that tell our history, our present, our culture and the places we call home - our blueprint. It’s about parallels and perspectives, the things that bring us together, the stuff that binds us. Our roots, our support systems, things that nurture us - solidarity and common ground.
Part of the Community Programme is the DocFest Exchange, a year-long curated programme supported by Wellcome, exploring themes of climate justice and the health of the planet through screenings, discussions, talks, workshops, collaborations and micro-commissions.
Sheffield DocFest is run by International Documentary Festival Sheffield, an independent registered charity (no.1184849), whose purpose is to advance the art of film, education and training in documentary filmmaking. Our core values as a charity centre around empathy, inclusiveness, social engagement, freedom and internationalism.