Image (Left-Right): Even Allen, Alaina Briggs, Mubarak Elamin, Najma Heybe, Liz Kettle and Jeremy Twyman.
As part of our on-going mission to make our festival welcoming, accessible and enjoyable to all, this year we launched a new scheme to invite people from across the South Yorkshire region to attend the festival and provide feedback on their experience. The six participants will join us for both the 2023 and 2024 festival, and their feedback will inform planning for future festival editions and will help us shape what Sheffield DocFest can be!
Meet our Local Advisors
Even is an art writer, critic, co curation advocate and social art network co lead. Through their alias That Looks Queer Even's work seeks to explore and interrogate the safety inherent within cultural spaces and to hold a lens up to those less represented within public collections.
Hello! I’m Alaina, I’m originally from Barnsley but I’ve lived in Sheffield for a few years now. When I’m not at work or university you can find me at the cinema, swimming at Heeley Pool, or trying out a new recipe (current obsession in this lovely weather is smoothies).
I’m honestly not sure what I’m most looking forward to at DocFest because it all looks so good! I’ve decided to challenge myself this year to see some films that don’t immediately jump out to me, to gain new perspectives on some things I don’t know too much about, saying that I am going to make sure I get to ‘Otto Baxter: Not A F***ing Horror Story’ because a “foul-mouthed, autobiographical comedy-horror-musical” sounds like an absolute treat.
I’m a film maker with over 13 years of experience in TV and short films. I’m originally from Sudan and now live in Barnsley. I would like to learn more about the festival and how it works.
Najma is a poet and aspiring screenwriter from Sheffield. I want to immerse myself in documentary films, connect with like-minded individuals, and explore thought-provoking stories from around the globe.
I've lived in Sheffield for well over 30 years, and brought up my two boys here. I've worked in the local voluntary and community sector for all that time in a variety of really interesting jobs, many supporting brilliant and inspiring South Yorkshire groups. I'm also a writer and do freelance work alongside a part time job.
I've been aware of Doc Fest since it began. I've gradually got more involved over the years - from sitting in a deckchair outside in the city centre watching free short films, through to volunteering as a runner and cinema crew. I love it. I love the way there are so many films about so many different things, telling stories from an unbelievably wide range of points of view.
As a result I always find the programme slightly overwhelming. But it's like being a kid in a sweetshop - and what I've worked out from volunteering at the Showroom is that just taking a punt and going to see anything that happens to be on is actually not a bad strategy. You get to see, experience and learn about things you wouldn't necessarily normally select, and for me that has been quite mind-opening.
That said, there are often a few docs that jump out from the programme - and this year I'm planning to see and especially looking forward to: A Man's Man, 1001 Days, Otto Baxter: Not a F***ing Horror Story, Is There Anybody Out There?, Evacuation and (of course) Wham!
In my retirement I have enjoyed attending film festivals in Tallinn and Berlin as well as taking up print making again. Sheffield DocFest has always been a reason to stay in the UK every June – I love it. I am also a particular fan of Polish film makers and collect Polish film posters. My last job was as Head of the Sixth Form at King Edward VII School, where I also taught Graphics and Product Design. Previously I have worked in a design and publicity role for Camden and Ealing Councils in London as well as for the National Union of Students.
At this year’s Doc Fest I am particularly looking forward to seeing the work of Georgian directors as well as other films from the nations that used to be part of the Soviet Union. I hope to play a small role in helping DocFest to develop and to attract an increasing number of local visitors.