Sheffield Doc/Fest Announces Market and Industry News

  • MeetMarket projects announced
  • Alternate Realities Talent Market projects announced
  • Stacey Dooley gives BBC Interview
  • Paul Greengrass in Conversation
  • Danny Leigh chairs social mobility panel

Sheffield Doc/Fest Marketplace and Industry early highlights are announced today, including highlights from the 15th edition of the MeetMarket, the Alternate Realities Talent Market, industry speakers and the Craft Summit.

The 2019 Marketplace will be attended by over 300 decision makers from 30 countries, including executives from Netflix, ARTE, BBC, Channel 4, Cinereach, DocSociety, Dogwoof, Altitude, Submarine Entertainment, ESPN, National Geographic, POV, RYOT, Artangel, Passion Pictures, Pulse Films along with many international broadcast commissioners, sales agents, distributors, funds, foundations, equity financiers, festival programmers and NGOs.

 Says Melanie Iredale, Interim Director, Sheffield Doc/Fest: “I am thrilled that this year’s Doc/Fest is shaping up to deliver another rich industry programme of international speakers, decision makers and talent. The international renown of the MeetMarket, and the building influence of the Alternate Realities Talent Market, continues to attract outstanding and diverse project teams and industry executives to Sheffield, who come in the knowledge that they can participate in meaningful meetings, agenda-setting debate and invaluable networking.”



Andee Ryder, Mark Cousins, Sally Potter,  Eleanor Emptage, Sara Stockmann, Teddy Leifer, Adam Darke, Mads Bruger, Jerry Rothwell, Zhao Liang, Eva Weber, Mike Lerner, Orlando von Einsiedel, Damon Davis, and Barak Heymann are among the producers and directors from the 62 project teams selected to participate at the 15th edition of Sheffield Doc/Fest’s flagship pitching forum, MeetMarket.

The 27 countries represented in the MeetMarket 19 are: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greenland, Finland, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA.

Says Patrick Hurley, Director of Marketplace and Talent, Sheffield Doc/Fest: “The projects selected for the MeetMarket deliberately represent a broad array of subjects and creative approaches. What they have in common is that we believe they’ll be delivered to an outstanding standard, given the amazing teams who are pitching, and that they’ll find audiences in many territories when they come to fruition.

We are always delighted to invite emerging talent to pitch alongside the most experienced and accomplished teams in the world and we’re thrilled that so many top-level industry decision makers come to Sheffield eager to meet with both”.

Director Clair Titley joins the team behind McQueen (2018), including producer Andee Ryder, to pitch The Real Truman Show (DOP Will Pugh), about how one Japanese TV audition turned into a real-life Truman show; Mark Cousins with producers Adam Dawtrey and Mary Bell return to the MeetMarket to pitch The Story of Looking -- Cousins, who was recently diagnosed with macular degeneration, gives a guided tour through the visual history of the world, from the dawn of time to the digital age.

Sally Potter and long-time collaborator, producer Christoper Sheppard, will pitch Oh Moscow, a musical documentary that seeks parallels between the past and present, using archive and contemporary news footage set against music composed by Lindsay Cooper, with lyrics by Sally Potter.

Other music projects being pitched this year include the story of Sinead O’Connor, Nothing Compares, directed by Kathryn Ferguson, produced by Eleanor Emptage (Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, 2018). Emptage will also pitch Tomboy with director Lindsay Lindenbaum, which shines a light on a hidden generation of women drummers. Producer Sara Stockmann whose award-winning Bobbi Jene, 2017 was pitched at the MeetMarket 2016, will pitch The Worlds of Eriko about the Japanese classical pianist Eriko Makimura; Teddy Leifer (Icarus 2017, Dreamcatcher, 2015) is executive producing Towers of London: F**K It Up, the story of five friends who landed themselves a multimillion-dollar record spectacularly and hilariously f**ked it up.

Director, producer team Adam Darke and Jon Carey (whose Forbidden Games had its European premiere at Doc/Fest in 2017) are pitching two titles at MeetMarket 19: Pills & Thrills: The Happy Mondays Story and the authorised and endorsed Bruno: The People's Champion, which has exclusive access to Frank Bruno’s personal archive.

Other returning talent include producer Kellen Quinn, (Brimstone and Glory, which received a Grand Jury Special Mention at Doc/Fest 2017), who will pitch Noggins a ten-year film about a ten-year project, modelling the human brain; and Nora Mandray, whose acclaimed shorts Dancing with Le Pen (2018) and 3 Acres in Detroit (2013) were previously selected for the Doc/Fest Film Programme, will pitch Eli: A Dog In Prison about three convicted murderers, whose lives are transformed when they’re tasked with training a 6-week old puppy into a highly-disciplined guide-dog for the blind in just 12 months. 

Four documentary series will be pitched at the MeetMarket 19, including: Jerry Rothwell’s (Sour Grapes, 2016, How to Change the World, 2015) The Concession -  a three part series spanning four continents to tell a story from the frontline of the global battle for resources; Jean Pierre Canet’s Irak, Destruction of a Nation, a timely documentary series from the first days of the Iran-Iraq War in 1980 to the fall of Daesh, tells the destruction of Iraq; and hot on the heels of his award-winning investigative documentary Cold Case Hammarskjöld (2019), Mads Bruger (The Red Chapel, 2009) and producer Peter Engels, will pitch Cold Cases, a spinoff TV series to uncover the truth behind Hammarskjolds assassination.

Also from the Nordic countries: Norwegian production house UpNorth Film (Christian Falch and Torstein Parelius) will pitch director Tonje Hessen Schei’s Hallelujah; from director Pamela Hogan and producer Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdóttir The Long Friday spans decades to tell the powerful story of a day that catapulted Iceland to its status as the superpower of gender equality. And from the team behind Giants and The Morning After (2018) director Per Bifrost and producers Alexander Rynéus and Malla Grapengiesser will pitch Earthlings Calling, a thought provoking, controversial journey with a handful of underdog scientists hunting for ET.

Environmental impact and sustainability are the focus of two of the MeetMarket pitches: Jerry Rothwell’s The Concession (detailed above); and from China, the new CNEX-supported project from the acclaimed director of Behemoth, 2015  Zhao Liang, will pitch Pandora’s Box, which considers the predicament of global warming in terms of humanity’s choices about nuclear power.

Projects exploring LGTBQI+ experiences include Pray Away from producer Jessica Devaney (The Feeling of Being Watched, 2018) the story of the history and continuation of the "pray the gay away" or ex-gay movement, and Daresha Kyi (2017-18 Firelight Media Documentary Lab fellow) will pitch Mama Bears, a feature length documentary about the ways in which the lives of conservative, Christian mothers are utterly transformed when they decide to accept their LGBTQI+ children.

Walking the razor’s edge between true-crime documentary and stylish noir thriller, producer, director Eva Weber will pitch Ghost Wives, which she will make in collaboration with editor Emiliano Battista (Unrest, 2017; 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets, 2015) and DOP Ula Pontikos (Weekend, 2011; Lilting, 2014), and tells the story of a Chinese journalist who investigates the case of a real-life serial killer -- who killed six women to sell their bodies for ghost weddings.

Producer Mike Lerner (From Hell and Back Again, 2011, Pussy Riot, a Punk Prayer, 2013, The Square 2013, The Russian Woodpecker 2015) from UK based Roast Beef Productions, will pitch Beate & Serge: Nazi Hunters about wife and husband Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, who have hunted, confronted, and exposed Nazi war criminals, tracking them down in places as far-flung as South America and the Middle East.

Pitched by producer Anna Murphy for UK based Grain Media, and executive produced by Orlando Von Einsiedel (Evelyn, 2018, White Helmets, 2018, Virunga, 2014), Sadhana Subramanian’s sophomore documentary Kashmir, reveals what it's like to live in what's said to be the most dangerous place in the world during one of its most febrile years, giving a rare glimpse of life in the crossfire.

Producer/director team Chris Renteria and Damon Davis whose Whose Streets was nominated for the Tim Hetherington Award at Doc/Fest in 2017, will return to Sheffield to pitch their new project Chain of Rocks which through the filmmaker’s relationship with a man sentenced to death, shows the ambiguity of justice and how truth is manipulated and sacrificed in the name of freedom.

Israeli director and producer Barak Heymann will pitch the new project in-production from Heymann Brothers Films, AZ House, explores drug addiction in Jerusalem. Previous Heymann Brothers films to pitch in the MeetMarket include Who’s Gonna Love Me Now (2016) and Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life (2018).

This year two projects are being pitched by new talent from South Africa: producers Batana Vundla (The Wound, 2017) and Marion Isaacs and will pitch Milisuthando (working title), the first-time director Milisuthando Bongela’s personal coming-of-age story set in 1992. Unaware of apartheid until it ended, Milisuthando explores how blacks and whites first lived together after 342 years of racial segregation. Director Jesse Zinn and producer Chase Musslewhite will present The Home, a humorous observational documentary about the residents of a South African old age home who struggle to elect a new Resident Committee amidst the heat of a drought-stricken summer and the nuisance of noisy renovations.



Twenty-five international teams have been confirmed to attend the Alternate Realities Talent Market, now in its sixth year, featuring a selection of established names, including: creator/director/producer team Lester Francois and Anna Brady (Rone 2017) pitching The Fun of Fear an interactive VR documentary combining game engine graphics, audio narration and video; director/producer team Aaron Bradbury and Paul Mowbray (Vestige 2018, LoVR 2014) pitching Fractal Flight, inspired by the graphic novel Here by Richard McGuire and the time-travel film La Jetée by Chris Marker; director/producer team Celine Tricart and Marie Blondiaux (The Sun Ladies 2018) pitching Fight Back, a documentary series about groups of women who literally fight for their rights; and AtlasV producer Antoine Cayrol collaborates with director Jan Kounen to take you on an introspective journey embodied in visions triggered by the Ayahuasca plant, guided by the indigenous shipibo, traditional healer of the amazon rainforest.

The focus of this year’s Alternate Realities Talent Market will be on the attending talent -- as well the ideas they bring with them -- and is designed to encourage collaboration on new projects between decision makers and participants. New projects in development will be presented in virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, 360° video and a range of multi-media, multi-person experiences that cover both digital art works and installation pieces. The slate for this year embraces a wide range of themes tackling subjects ranging from new feminist and LGBTQI+ histories, dangerous journeys alongside refugees, the consequences of our AI-led future, and discovering extremophile lifeforms from an ecosystem deep inside the Earth, thought to be twice the size of the world’s oceans. The Market will also support a new generation of emerging makers, both homegrown and international.

The MeetMarket and the Alternate Realities Talent Market will take place over two days on 10 and 11 June at the Grade II listed Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield.



So far confirmed to take part in this year's programme of panel sessions, filmmaker masterclasses and on-screen talent interviews are:

At the Crucible Theatre, feminist investigative journalist and presenter Stacey Dooley will return to Doc/Fest to give this year’s BBC Interview. Celebrated filmmaker Paul Greengrass will be in conversation with journalist, broadcaster and BFI Senior curator Danny Leigh. Danny Leigh will also chair an industry panel, featuring Fiona Campbell, Controller of BBC Three, Mia Bays and Carol Morley, asking what the industry can do to support talent working without industry connections, financial family support or an educational head start. Acclaimed hip-hop artist Rodney P will discuss his music documentaries with music journalist and promoter Chantelle Fiddy.

The wider programme of industry sessions will explore a range of pertinent industry topics including: breaking into the industry; the responsibilities of documenting youth culture; how filmmakers tell truly participatory and authentic stories of poverty; the work of feminist film collectives and archives; the next development in access documentary series; the advantages and challenges for producers based outside of London; and pressures on personal mental health for filmmakers. This year’s commissioning and funding panels focus on: feature documentary; short form; podcasts & audio; arts, music & culture; TV documentary; factual entertainment and specialist factual.

The 2019 Craft Summit (Saturday 8 June) curated and hosted by Krishan Arora, International Content Consultant for SBS Australia, will feature filmmakers screening new work at the festival. Topics in focus include the art of directing, cinematography and the environment, interviewing techniques, long-form editing and smartphone storytelling.

The festival will again host the Alternate Realities Summit (Sun 9 June) and the Marketplace Summit (Sun 9 June), details to be announced.



Pitch events at Doc/Fest this year include four open call opportunities, BBC Three Pitch; the Channel 4 First Cut Pitch; Joseph Rowntree Foundation X Guardian Pitch; The Whickers Pitch; and four closed pitches, the Chicken & Egg Pitch (Egg)celerator (only for Chicken & Egg programme participants); Korean Pitching Day (only for Korean Delegation participants); the University of Sheffield How to Pitch Your Academic Idea (only for University of Sheffield academics) and the Thai Delegation Pitch. 

The full programme will be announced on 9 May.  

The MeetMarket is produced with the support of the Creative Europe Programme - MEDIA of the European Union, the Department of International Trade and Getty Images. See here for the full list of MeetMarket projects here.

The Alternate Realities Talent Market is supported by Arts Council England and the Creative Europe Programme - MEDIA of the European Union. See here for the full list of Alternate Realities Talent Market projects here.


Event listings:

The BBC Interview: Stacey Dooley

Venue: Crucible Theatre

Date: Monday 10 June

Time: 17:00

£12 / £10 concession



Rodney P Talks Bass, Beats & Docs

Venue: Crucible Theatre

Date: Saturday 8 June

Time: 16:00




Paul Greengrass in Conversation with Danny Leigh

Venue: Crucuble Theatre

Date: Friday 7 June

Time: 15:30

£12 / £10 concession



For further information contact:

Sarah Harvey Publicity

+44 (0) 7958 597426


About Doc/Fest

Sheffield Doc/Fest is a world leading festival celebrating the art and business of documentary and non-fiction storytelling across all forms. Each year the festival welcomes over 25,000 festival goers, including approximately 3,500 industry delegates from 55 countries.

Doc/Fest is a creative space for discovery, debate, collaboration and inspiration. We champion and push forward new talent, ideas and interaction for the future of the industry. We are an open, inclusive festival, bringing together veteran creatives, new voices and our city to share, shape and question stories of the world we live in. 

The six-day festival and all-year activity consists of events across five programme areas:

FILM – New cinema, film and artist’s moving image, performance and live events

ALTERNATE REALITIES – immersive, interactive digital art

TALKS – Masterclasses, summits and panels

MARKETPLACE - Industry, talent, training and pitching

SOCIAL – Parties and networking 

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019 will take place from 6-11 June