Independence and charitable status 

Together with Sheffield Media & Exhibition Centre (SMEC) we are delighted to announce that following a successful application to the Charity Commission, Sheffield Doc/Fest is now an independent registered charity. Doc/Fest will continue its mission to offer filmmakers and artists a place for inspiration, debate, growth and challenge, providing an international platform to launch works as part of a carefully curated programme that challenges trends, brings diversity and enriches engagement.

For 26 years, Doc/Fest has been a subsidiary of SMEC, the charity which runs the Showroom Workstation, and as of 1 October 2019 is an independent organisation and a charity in its own right. The Showroom remains at the heart of Doc/Fest’s city-wide festival, and the two organisations continue to be committed to working closely in partnership.

Sheffield Doc/Fest was established by The Showroom Cinema and Sheffield Council in 1993 in response to British documentary filmmakers needing  a forum to come together to discuss their craft. The first festival ran over eight days in March 1994, organised by Festival Director, Midge Mackenzie. The festival had a film programme, masterclasses and an industry conference attracting around 100 delegates from across the UK.  Guests at the first festival included renowned filmmakers DA Pennebaker, Richard Leacock and Robert Drew. The Showroom Cinema, as well as being the organisation’s parent company from the start, also served as the festival’s hub. Now in its 27th year, the event has grown to become one of the world’s major documentary film festivals and marketplaces, with a film programme of 200 titles, and a significant talks, exhibition, marketplace and parties programme, attracting up to 3,500 delegates and 30,000 public admissions from 60 countries around the world over six days each June. Though the festival now takes place over 20 locations across the city, the Showroom Cinema remains the festival’s delegate centre and one of its best-loved venues.