Marketplace & Talent at Sheffield Doc/Fest, one of the world’s largest documentary and factual markets for international business, delegations, pitching and training, today confirms 65 documentary film project teams have been selected to pitch at the flagship 14th edition of MeetMarket, selected from over 550 submissions, 65 teams from over 20 countries; the sixth Alternate Realities Market includes 25 project teams. The Markets will take place over two of the festival days in Sheffield on 11 and 12 June returning to the Grade II listed Cutlers’ Hall.

For the first time, the teams pitching in the MeetMarket will be invited to take meetings with the creatives pitching digital, interactive and immersive work in the Alternate Realities Market, to invite further cross-pollination of ideas. Says Patrick Hurley, Head of Marketplace & Talent at Sheffield Doc/Fest: “With the Doc/Fest Award-winning Notes on Blindness and Unrest, we’ve observed that linear films having a complementary virtual reality experience is a major drawcard for decision makers and audiences alike. In this year’s market we are eager to foster collaborations between filmmakers and the creators who are using the latest technologies to push non-fiction storytelling in exciting new directions.”


This year’s MeetMarket will present a selection of new works from amongst the most award-winning and experienced filmmakers in the business including Tilda Swinton, Al Morrow, John Battsek, Kevin Macdonald, Mike Lerner, Christian Beetz, Morgan Matthews and John Dower. Established teams will pitch alongside emerging talent including Mitch Dickman, recently named one of Variety’s ‘Top 10 Documentary Makers to Watch’, Elizabeth Lo, recently named among "25 New Faces of Independent Film" by Filmmaker Magazine and was featured in the 2015 New Directors Showcase at Cannes Lion, and BAFTA Breakthrough Brit Daisy-May Hudson.

The Alternate Realities Market, supported by Arts Council England, for immersive and interactive story forms welcomes back UK film & theatre writer turned VR-creator Jane Gauntlett, as well as projects by the prolific experience designer and innovator extraordinaire Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun, critically acclaimed producer and director Jayisha Patel and director Mary Matheson.

The final 65 MeetMarket 2018 projects were assessed by five high profile external industry leaders: Dan O’Meara (VP Special Projects & Documentary at NEON, USA), Klara Grunning (Film Commissioner at the Swedish Film Institute, Sweden), Mandy Chang (Commissioning Editor, Storyville & Factual Acquisitions at BBC, UK), Robin Smith (CEO of Blue Ice Docs & President of KinoSmith, Canada), and Ruby Chen (CEO of CNEX, China).

Klara Grunning commented, “The quality of this year’s MeetMarket selection is very impressive and it shows not only how the international documentary industry keeps raising the bar on giving relevant insights into the world we live in, but also how it keeps punching creative boundaries, storytelling form and thorough research to show it is the genre of the future”.

Irini Papadimitriou (Digital Programmes Manager at the V&A), Marianne Lévy-Leblond, (ARTE’s Head of Web and Transmedia Productions) and Daan Doornink, (co-founder of VRDAYS Europe and VR-BASE incubator) are the three external industry leaders who assessed the final 25 Alternate Realities 2018 projects.


Says Patrick Hurley, Head of Marketplace and Talent, “What excites me most about Doc/Fest’s Marketplace is that top industry Decision Makers plus acclaimed and established producers will share the room with emerging talent including some first-time filmmakers, and four of our recent Future Producer School graduates. The slate of projects is thematically, geographically and stylistically diverse – a rich range of exciting stories catering to the vast interests of our industry delegates.”

Thematic trends emerging from this year’s MeetMarket projects range from childhood and coming of age; the exploration of political systems; law and order; imposters, fraudsters and hoaxers; sports and what they reveal about society; new music docs.

Documenting childhood and coming-of-age; Academy Award®-winning actress Tilda Swinton collaborates once again with The Derek Jarman Lab, and producer Colin McCabe (The Seasons In Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger), on her latest directorial project On Drumduan Hill which follows the life of a small progressive school in the Scottish Highlands; Mitch Dickman will pitch Silent Rose, the story of a mixed-race teenager attending a predominantly white school; and Phil Grabsky’s 20 Years in Afghanistan is a two decade project spanning the life of an 8-year-old boy who grows into a courageous and insightful man of 27.

Exploring democracy in Trump’s America, Represent, a new project from the award-winning Chicago-based prod-co Kartemquin Films (who had two films nominated at this year’s Oscars®) follows two inspiring women both running for office for the first time.

Capturing the ongoing fascination with law and order, this year’s MeetMarket will feature a varied selection of true crime projects being pitched from award-winning teams. Isabel Tang has teamed up with two-time Academy Award®-winning executive producer John Battsek to tell the story of The Sherwood Case about being raped by a stalker and not being believed; Femke Wolting will present a new 4-part series The Singh Case uncovering a corrupt judicial system set in the 1980s East L.A. criminal scene; Neither Confirm Nor Deny from producer Sheryl Crown (Searching for Sugarman) unveils a CIA plan fronted by Howard Hughes to steal a Soviet nuclear submarine; The Mystery of DB Cooper is the real life tale of a plane hijacking and an audacious escape at 10,000 feet, produced by Morgan Matthews and directed by John Dower; Christian Beetz presents Brazil - The Rise and Fall of Lula Da Silva about ex-Brazilian president Lula da Silva in the months leading up to the decision “President or Prison”.


John Archer will pitch the docu-drama Going Back (The Mysterious Tale of Brian MacKinnon) which is confirmed to star Alan Cummings as MacKinnon, the 31-year-old who disguised himself as 16-year-old Brandon Lee.


With Al Morrow (How to Change the World) and Poppy Dixon (The Imposter) producing and two-time Grierson Award-winning Sam Hobskinson directing, Misha's Story is about Misha Defonseca who’s Holocaust memoir took the world by storm, but a fallout with a publisher revealed an audacious deception; James Rogan (The Confession) will pitch The Protector about a master manipulator who plays upon the vanity and nostalgia of an aristocratic French family to strip them of their wealth, liberty and ultimately their sanity.


Animals take centre stage in four selected projects this year; Elizabeth Lo will pitch Stray, about stray dogs in Istanbul; Madidi (working title) investigates the jaguar trade sweeping South America; Maya portrays the bittersweet friendship between a four-year-old Bengal tiger and zookeeper; Sanctuary follows Rodney Stotts, an African-American falconer in the USA.

Sports-themed projects at MeetMarket include: Shanghai Blues about the rapidly developing Chinese Superleague from BAFTA-winning producer Daniel Gordon (Hillsborough); Rachel Wexler and Jez Lewis from Bungalow Town Productions are producing Matt Kay’s Sumo Supremes about the journey of four female sumo wrestlers; Academy Award-nominee Mike Lerner (Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer) and Anne Svejgård Lund will present Deepali about the first troupe of women to climb to the peaks of the Himalayan mountains; I Am Spartakiades produced by Academy Award®-winner Kevin Macdonald (Touching the Void) and Docsville’s Nick Fraser, revives incredible footage of communist Czechoslovakia’s extraordinary mass gymnastic events, the Spartakiades.

New music docs projects continue to have a strong presence in MeetMarket. From Director Dylan Harvey (The Banksy Job), Nothing Succeeds Like Success is the story of the spectacular rise and fall of London’s Trident Studios, one of the most culturally important hubs of music-making in the 20th century which shaped the careers of some of the greatest names in Rock n Roll including David Bowie, Elton John, Marc Bolan and Queen. The Rise Of The Synths is about the modern, ‘80s-inspired genre ‘Synthwave’ that’s breaking out from its digital underground scene to now feature in the soundtracks of popular films and series such as Drive and Stranger Things; The Great Green Wall from ‘Best New Director’ BAFTA-winner Sarah Macdonald is a musical journey across Africa with renown Malian singer Inna Modja, pitched as “Buena Vista Social Club meets Years of Living Dangerously”, on board to co-produce is Fernando Meirelles (City of God). Set against the sweaty, heady backdrop of summertime New York with a soundtrack to match, Orian Barki has teamed up with Dina directors Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini on Untitled Princess Nokia Project following one of the world's best known female rappers, Destiny Frasqueri, as she records her new album and reflects on her rise from humble origins to global fame. Uproar, from award-winning Syrian director Moe Najati, explores Cuba through Rumba Morena, Havana’s only all-female rumba band. Uproar is being executive produced by Nigel Sinclair whose credits include Martin Scorsese’s George Harrison: Living in the Material World and the No Direction Home, Bob Dylan and the Oscar-winning Undefeated.


Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Alternate Realities Market, supported by Arts Council England, is the key place to make partnerships and secure international funding for interactive and immersive story forms within the documentary, factual or hybrid genre. This year’s Market includes 25 VR and interactive projects.

Alison Killing will pitch Stories in Maps and Data which offers a real time interactive storytelling format based on maps and data visualisation; Primal Screams: The Fun of Fear from Australian director Lester Francois, is a short room-scale VR documentary about the history and science behind why we like being scared; Climate Changers by director Mary Matheson (her first 360 film Mamie’s Dream premiered at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017) showcases the brightest ideas and technological developments in the eco movement.

The VR documentary series Invisible Heroes from Brazilian director Ricardo Laganaro (Step to the Line) will teleport the viewer to the most remote and spectacular landscapes on earth through the eyes of unique characters who live in extreme conditions. TrueLove by Jane Gauntlett looks at personal data and future technology, through a combination of interactive theatre and augmented reality. Jane is the creator of the In My Shoes Project, which premiered in the Alternate Realities Exhibition at Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2016 and 2017. American director Jason Drakeford will pitch A Video Ghost about the video artist Nam June Paik and her husband Nam June Paik, who together in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s pioneered a new form of art through video and sculpture. After The Fire by acclaimed director and producer Jayisha Patel, tells the story of survivors of the Grenfell Tower Fire in 2017. Michaela Pnacekova and Jamie Balliu will pitch A Symphony Of Noise, a VR experience inspired by the work of pioneering electronic musician Matthew Herbert.


The Sheffield Doc/Fest Marketplace & Talent forum attracts over 300 international Decision Makers each year. To date, Decision Makers from more than 20 countries have been confirmed to attend the MeetMarket and Alternate Realities Markets, and the Festival is delighted to welcome for the first time executives from YouTube, ESPN, Starz and The Financial Times.


Responding to the increased demand from producers for funding partners who do not request film rights, Sheffield Doc/Fest has, for the first time, invited to the MeetMarket Decision Makers who can provide equity investments in new documentaries, facilitating the strategy of taking a completed film to market while keeping open the option of all-rights deals to top sales agents and global SVOD platforms. Representatives from Bob & Co., Goldfinch Studios and Premier Pictures, among others, will attend Doc/Fest this year looking for new projects to invest in.

Returning Decision Makers to MeetMarket include ARTE, Hot Docs, CNEX, Phoenix Channel, BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic, POV, The Guardian, New York Times, VICE, Chicken & Egg, Cinereach, Doc Society, Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Institute, Why Foundation, Cinetic, Doc & Film International, Submarine, First Hand Films, New Docs, Met Film, Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle as well as UK distributors Altitude Films and Dogwoof.

The Alternate Realities Market will welcome industry Decision Makers and experts from Google, ARTE, BBC, Creative England, Digital Catapult, The Guardian, The National Theatre, The Space, MK2 VR, SXSW, Tribeca Film Institute and Submarine.


In addition to MeetMarket and Alternate Realities Market, seven pitches and filmmaking competitions are to-date confirmed to take place in the Doc/Fest Marketplace. The majority of pitches take place over two days at the festival with an audience giving delegates the chance to hear each team’s pitch and be the first to hear about who has been awarded.

  • BBC Northern Docs Pitch
  • Channel 4 First Cut Pitch
  • Chicken & Egg Accelerator Lab Pitch
  • Joseph Roundtree Foundation x The Guardian Pitch
  • The Boiler Room Pitch
  • The Real Stories Special Relationship Pitch
  • The Korean Delegation Pitch


Doc/Fest is thrilled to announce the return of the International Talent Delegations, creating opportunities for filmmakers established in the industry, and emerging talent, to connect with potential partners and co-producers. International Talent Delegations include the following countries: Canada, Chile, Ireland, Jordan, Latin America, Palestine, South Africa, South Korea, USA and the Nordics.

Doc/Fest’s Marketplace receives annual support from Creative Europe, Department for International Trade, Arts Council England, and our official footage partner Getty Images.


A full list of projects participating in MeetMarket and Alternate Realities Market can be viewed here:

Sheffield Doc/Fest takes place from 7 – 12 June 2018


For further information contact:

Sarah Harvey Publicity

Sarah Harvey:

Nikki Aslatt:

Oli Gotts:

+44 (0) 207 232 2812

About Sheffield Doc/Fest

Sheffield Doc/Fest is a world leading and the UK’s premier documentary festival. Doc/Fest celebrates the art and business of documentary and all non-fiction storytelling, from feature length to short film, series, audio, interactive technology, augmented reality, virtual reality, and live events.

The Festival comprises:

- Film programme of the very best in international documentary screenings;

- Alternate Realities for innovation in interactive, augmented reality and virtual reality projects;

- Talks & Sessions with world-renowned filmmakers, to inspire, inform and debate;

- Marketplace & Talent for international business, delegations, pitching and training;

- Live Events, social events and networking;

- All Year screenings, talks and training outside of the Festival period.

Across all of its programmes, Doc/Fest gives audiences the opportunity to explore documentary within one unique, six-day festival experience, in the heart of the UK.

Sheffield Doc/Fest welcomes over 32,700 Festival goers each year, including over 3,500 industry delegates from 60 countries.

The 25th Edition will take place 7-12 June 2018.


About Arts Council England
Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.