Flint

Anthony Baxter, United Kingdom / English / 2020 / 119' 

Filmed over a period of five years, Flint is the untold story of the man-made disaster that continues to haunt the United States. Narrated by Alec Baldwin, the film shows what happens when a community loses all faith in authority.

Flint reveals how the city’s life-threatening water crisis has gradually evolved into a lack of accountability and trust in authorities, a battle between science and pseudoscience, and an institutionalised failure in local infrastructure. Focusing not only on the crisis itself, but the enduring issues of partisan politics and environmental resources on which it continues to shed light, Flint is an illuminating look at a modern American tragedy. 

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The Story of Plastic

Deia Schlosberg, United States, India, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Belgium / English, Hindi, Chinese, Tagalog, Indonesian / 2019 / 95' / International Premiere

The Story of Plastic unearths the real causes of our growing plastic pollution problem and the twisted narratives we have been fed by industry to distract us and displace blame. Depicting a world rapidly becoming overrun with toxic material, The Story of Plastic brings into focus this alarming, man-made crisis. Striking footage, original animations, and archival material combine to point to the disastrous impact of the plastics industry, shedding new light on a pressing global challenge that threatens the life and health of animals, humans, and civilization on Earth.


Click here to watch a pre-recorded Q&A with The Story of Plastic director Deia Schlosberg, moderated by Agnès Wildenstein, Sheffield Doc Fest’s Associate Programmer. (UK audiences only

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Influence

Richard Poplak, Diana Neille, South Africa, Canada / English, Spanish / 2020 / 90' / European Premiere

A portrait of controversial, English figure Lord Timothy Bell who died recently and an investigation into the rise and fall of the world’s most notorious public relations and advertising firm : the British multinational Bell Pottinger.
Working with Margaret Thatcher, the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, later branching out into France, Africa, Russia, the Middle East, Bell quickly earned a reputation but finally declined after the Gupta brothers-Zuma corruption scandal in South Africa.

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Oeconomia

Carmen Losmann, Germany / German / 2020 / 89' / UK Premiere

Revealing the rules of the game of capitalism, this film makes visible the essential paradox that the economy only grows, and profits are only possible, when we are in debt. The distanced narrative of media coverage ultimately makes it impossible to understand the monstrous logic behind the economic structure of our everyday lives. Using office devices, computer screens, and meeting rooms in a playful and ironic way, the filmmaker leads a brilliant inquiry into a hidden world. Many questions are asked; few are answered.

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Blow It To Bits / On Va Tout Peter

Lech Kowalski, France / French, English / 2019 / 109' / UK Premiere

A mix of rock and roll and blues is the secret for a successful rebellion.

"When I took my camera to the middle of France, where the GM&S factory was threatened by a permanent shut down, I felt like something extraordinary was about to take place. And it did. The lyrics were written by workers who have had enough! The tune was composed by people not afraid to go against even the rules of revolt! The volume was loud enough to attract the media.” Lech Kowalski.

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United Voices

Hazel Falck, United Kingdom / English / 2019 / 25' / World Premiere

As work in the UK gets more precarious, trade unionism is being reimagined for the current climate. Outsourcing and exploitative contracts affect more and more workers, and people from a wide range of backgrounds are joining new unions, often for the first time. This film charts a new resistance – through personal stories from the member-led grassroots union United Voices of the World.

(Winner of JRF pitch at Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2019)

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We're Still Here

Melissa Herman, United Kingdom / English / 2020 / 68' / World Premiere

London's housing is under attack. We're Still Here was filmed over four years as developers - hand in glove with councils and housing associations - knock down estates to build housing that ordinary people can't afford. But from young mums and key workers in east London to the neighbours of the Grenfell Tower fire victims the fightback has begun.

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Work or to Whom Does The World Belong // El Trabajo o a Quien le Pertenece el Mundo

Elisa Cepedal, Spain, United Kingdom / Spanish, English, German / 2019 / 65' / International Premiere

Work or To Whom Does The World Belong observes a mining community through the prism of ethno-fiction, as it negotiates the decline of the same industry that enabled its emergence. A long period of deindustrialisation affecting the whole region gives way to a decaying landscape of pit-heads and slag heaps.

A housing estate once more becomes a battlefield as strikers and police clash. After the failure of the last strike, workers are faced between the choice of action or apathy.

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Our Land, Our Altar / A Nossa Terra, o Nosso Altar

André Guiomar, Portugal / Portuguese / 2020 / 77' / World Premiere

Aleixo, a neighbourhood in Porto, is inhabited by low income communities and workers, and is known as a drug centre. Sitting in one of the most beautiful hills overlooking the river, the neighbourhood became a target of both political and economical powers, and its demolition became unavoidable.
This film portrays a community on the verge of being dispersed, ripped from their houses and sense of belonging. It mourns a way of life, and class identity, while depicting the inhabitants’ dignity and force to carry on.

Watch in the cinema or Sheffield Doc/Fest Selects in the Autumn.