Future aleppo 3

Documentary Filmmaking Rises to the Challenge of a Post-Truth World

  • Winner of £10,000 Alternate Realities Commission: Alex Pearson and Marshmallow Laser Feast with the virtual reality experience Future Aleppo.
  • Rising star Elhum Shakerifar Returns to Doc/Fest with World Premiere of MeetMarket film project, Even When I Fall.
  • Mr Gay Syria, Quest, The Work: compelling films that show the diverse ways individuals and groups overcome adversity.
  • Private Eye’s Ian Hislop examines role of satire in a post-truth world as part of the Talks and Sessions programme.

The Sheffield Doc/Fest programme across Film, Alternate Realities and Talks & Sessions in 2017 shines a light on the triumph of the creative spirit in response to social, political and cultural upheaval around the world.

The winners of Doc/Fest’s second open Alternate Realities commission worth £10,000, awarded in partnership with FACT and supported by Arts Council England, are Alex Pearson and renowned creative collective Marshmallow Laser Feast. Together they will present the world premiere of the virtual reality experience Future Aleppo. As a way of preserving the culture and history of Aleppo and defying its destruction, Syrian-born Mohammed Kteish tirelessly and lovingly recreated fallen landmarks as paper-craft models.  Re-imagined by the artists through a mix of photogrammetry and 3D modelling, users will be guided in virtual reality by the 15 year old Mohammed through the buildings, the city and its inhabitants.

Says Curator of Alternate Realities, Dan Tucker, “Future Aleppo is a poignant and powerful project. I am excited to see how Alex and Marshmallow Laser Feast interpret Mohammed’s story told through his beautiful paper-craft models, created to defy the destruction of his home city.  As a creative team Alex and Marshmallow Laser Feast are well known for pushing boundaries and making the impossible possible. We are thrilled that Future Aleppo is the Alternate Realities Commission for 2017 and look forward to sharing it with audiences in Sheffield in June”.

Following successful participation in the 2016 pitching and funding forum MeetMarket, BAFTA nominated producer, Elhum Shakerifar (Syrian Love Story), and directors Sky Neal and Kate McLarnon, return to Doc/Fest with the World Premiere of their film Even When I Fall; an intimate, beautiful film in which circus performers sold into slavery as children reclaim their remarkable skills and their freedom. Their story reveals a unique perspective into the complex world of human trafficking.

Says Luke Moody, Director of Film Programming, “In the face of increased adversity and distribution of fake news, this year has seen a creative response in exceptional observational films of record using fundamental, direct means of documenting our world. These films witness the impelling agency of the individual spirit to forge movements that can successfully re-interpret and re-imagine our world”.

In the Film programme, a number of titles highlight the possibility of change through community and collaboration; director Ay┼če Toprak shatters the one-dimensional meaning of ‘refugee’ in the World Premiere of Mr Gay Syria bringing attention to how beauty pageants are a celebration of pride and survival for LGBT+ Syrians; filmed over a decade that coincides with the entirety of the Obama administration, Quest (European Premiere, dir: Jonathan Olshefski) documents the daily lives of the eponymous hip hop producer and his family, who through the warmth, dignity and the power of family overcome obstacles that are increasingly defined along fault lines of race and class; SXSW documentary competition winner, The Work (International Premiere, dir: Gethin Aldous, Jairus McLeary), gives audiences a raw look at a unique group-healing process that occurs between inmates and outsiders at Folsom State Prison, revealing a movement of change and redemption that transcends what we conventionally think of as rehabilitation.

To explore the power of satire, Doc/Fest will also welcome for the first time British writer, Editor of the satirical news magazine Private Eye since 1986 and team captain on Have I Got News for You, Ian Hislop to the Talks and Sessions programme. In conversation with Jolyon Rubinstein (The Revolution Will be Televised, Revolting), Ian will explore the fundamental role that satire plays in documenting our world and searching for the truth, as well as how the medium reflects a political landscape that includes living, breathing caricatures.



Future Aleppo (World Premiere)

As part of Alternate Realities

Venue: Millennium gallery

Date: 9-14 June 2017


Fri 09: 12.00-17.00

Sat 10: 10.00-17.00

Sun 11: 11.00-16.00

Mon 12: 10.00-17.00

Tue 13-Wed 14: 10.00 – 20.00 

Cost: Free


Even When I Fall (World Premiere)

As part of Film Programme

Venue: PBS America Showroom 3

Date: Sunday 11 June

Time: 21.15

Tickets: https://sheffdocfest.com/films/6291


Mr Gay Syria (World Premiere)

As part of Film Programme

Venue: Bertha DocHouse Showroom 4

Date: Tuesday 13 June

Time: 15.15

Tickets: https://sheffdocfest.com/films/6181 


Quest (European Premiere)

As part of Film Programme

Venue: PBS America Showroom 3

Date: Sunday 11 June  

Time: 15.15

Tickets: https://sheffdocfest.com/films/6151


The Work (International Premiere)

As part of Film Programme

Venue: PBS America Showroom 3

Date: Sunday 11 June

Time: 18.30

Tickets: https://sheffdocfest.com/films/6296 


Ian Hislop & Jolyon Rubinstein: Post-truth & Satire
As part of Talks and Sessions

Venue: Crucible Theatre

Date: Tuesday 13 June

Time: 17:30

Tickets: https://sheffdocfest.com/events/5428


Tickets are available to buy in person from the Showroom Box Office or over the phone on 03301228870. You can also purchase tickets online at https://sheffdocfest.tickets.red61.com. For any access bookings or general enquiries please e-mail boxoffice@sidf.co.uk. Please note all tickets purchased online or over the phone are subject to a 10% Booking Fee. 





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For further information contact:

Sarah Harvey Publicity
Sarah Harvey: sarah@sarahharveypublicity.co.uk
Hayley Willis: hayley@sarahharveypublicity.co.uk
Katy Driscoll: katy@sarahharveypublicity.co.uk

+44 (0) 207 7732 7790

About Sheffield Doc/Fest

Sheffield Doc/Fest is a world leading and the UK’s premier documentary festival, celebrating the art and business of documentary and all non-fiction visual storytelling.

Operating in the heart of the UK, Sheffield Doc/Fest is a hub for all documentary and non-fiction content across all platforms, from feature length to shorts, and including interactive and virtual reality projects.

The Festival comprises:

- Film programme for the very best international screenings;

- Alternate Realities for digital and interactive innovation;

- Talks & Sessions to inspire, inform and for debate;

- Marketplace & Talent for international business and training;

- Social, live events and networking;

- All Year screenings, talks and training for outside the festival period.

Sheffield Doc/Fest takes place 9-14 June 2017.