• The Whickers Pitch

    Who will be awarded the coveted £80,000 Film & TV Funding Award to make their first feature-length documentary? The Whickers Pitch brings together five emerging directors to pitch their non-fiction projects to a panel of industry judges. Come and support the finalists, be your own armchair judge and bear witness as the legacy of pioneering broadcaster Alan Whicker brings another exceptional documentary idea to life.

    This session will be BSL interpreted.

  • Craft Summit: Through the Eyes of the Other

    We explore the craft of directing through films in this year’s Doc/Fest that focus on a central character. Taking us deep into their films and filmic method, directors on the panel will explore their approaches to character and taking the audience into their world. How does the relationship work, and what happens if it goes wrong?

    Seahorse and The Last Watch, both directed by Jeanie Finlay are screening at the festival.

    XY Chelsea, directed by Tim Travers Hawkins is screening at the festival.

  • Michael Dapaah aka Big Shaq talks….

    Comedian, rapper and all-round sensation Michael Dapaah (aka Big Shaq) joins Karen Gabay (BBC radio host and TV producer) to discuss how he gets his message to the masses: whether communicating with his 1.4million Instagram followers, the 325 million viewers of his viral music video Man’s Not Hot, or the hundreds of thousands of fans who tune into his YouTube mockumentary series #SWIL (Somewhere In London)

    This event is part of the Doc/Fest Exchange programme bringing together a specially curated programme of free talks, films and conversations to revolutionise what makes a healthy planet.

    Supported by Wellcome.

    No festival pass or ticket required. All events at Doc/Fest Exchange are free and open to all.

  • Encountering Virtual Realities

    The Waiting Room is a smartphone documentary and VR project through which director Victoria Mapplebeck explores her breast cancer journey from diagnosis to recovery - from waiting rooms, to ultrasound scans, and chemotherapy sessions. Join Victoria, oncologist Dr Anna Rigg ,Professor Mandy Rose and host, design researcher Caroline Ward (Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design) to discuss what nonfiction VR offers to documentary film and health.

    This event is part of the Doc/Fest Exchange programme bringing together a specially curated programme of free talks, films and conversations to revolutionise what makes a healthy planet.

    Supported by Wellcome.

    No festival pass or ticket required. All events at Doc/Fest Exchange are free and open to all.

  • Portrayals of Youth: Growing Up on Film

    The representation of youth culture has been frequently revisited by documentary filmmakers. But how do you accurately capture an experience that is felt by everyone? And how do you protect your subjects as young people, whether they identify as vulnerable or not? This panel explores representations of youth culture and the responsibility of the filmmaker to truthfully document the human experience of growing up.

  • Meet the Makers (Alternate Realities): Zoyander Street; Georgie Pinn

    Venture into the realm of Alternate Realities – hear from the creators of immersive and interactive reality experiences that open up new perspectives on the health of the planet.

    In this session:

    - Zoyander Street discusses his playful gender identity installation, Interactive Portraits: trans people in Japan, which weaves together a tactile fabric installation and a nostalgic retro gaming style experience

    - Georgie Pinn discusses her deeply moving interactive installation Echo, a reflection on identity and empathy explored through a bank of human stories

    This event is part of the Doc/Fest Exchange programme bringing together a specially curated programme of free talks, films and conversations to revolutionise what makes a healthy planet.

    Supported by Wellcome.

    No festival pass or ticket required. All events at Doc/Fest Exchange are free and open to all.

  • Sports Docs with ESPN

    Since the launch of 30 for 30 ten years ago, the series has become one of the premiere brands in all of documentary film. With over ninety documentaries under its belt, including the 2017 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary, O.J: Made in America, ESPN has helped foster a genre that continues to grow exponentially. Join ESPN Films producer Deirdre Fenton and key directors as they discuss the evolution of sports documentaries.

    Supported by ESPN

  • The Light Cinema Free Screen

    Discover our outdoor free screen where we’ll showcase shorts and feature documentaries from around the world. Situated off Howard Street, this is available for the enjoyment of the general public as well as the festival delegates. During the day, we will show shorts covering a variety of themes, and in the evening we will show a feature film. On Saturday, the slots will be as follows:

    9:00 - Docsercise 2
    Start your morning right with our daily retro aerobics hour, preparing you for a more advanced reality.

    10:00 - VICE 3
    A selection of cutting-edge documentaries provided by VICE.

    11:00 - The Guardian 2
    A collection of informative documentaries from The Guardian.

    12:00 - Jessica Bishopp
    A focus on the work of Jessica Bishopp, whose experimental films expose the magic in the mundane.

    13:00 - Access All Areas 1
    These films attempt to increase visibility of disability on screen.

    14:00 - Women on Screen 1
    A focus on the remarkable work, stories, and talents of women from around the globe.

    15:00 - Green Screens 2
    A collection of shorts covering all aspects of our beautiful and complex relationship with our planet.

    16:00 - Global Citizens 3
    These films showcase internationality, incorporating filmmakers from all over the world.

    17:00 - Made In Yorkshire 2
    A selection of films featuring work by local directors and producers.

    18:00 - Queer Perspectives 1
    A series of films by and about individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, examining the importance of identity and community in the face of oppression.

    19:00 - The Great Pretenders
    Set at TribFest, a tribute festival in Yorkshire, this feature length documentary looks at tribute bands and the individuals behind them.

  • Secrets and Lies: Testimony and Archive in Contemporary History

    This session explores the resurgence of archive and testimony in history filmmaking, with a panel of producers and contributors from some of the BBC’s most successful projects. The panellists will discuss the opportunities afforded by the interplay between archive and testimony; why this mode of storytelling is back in full force and the ethical lines in films of this kind.

    Supported by BBC

  • Funding and Commissioning: Arts, Music and Cultural Documentary

    What does the future of arts programmes look like in a world where there is more choice than ever? Our panel of commissioning editors will discuss the diverse and creative landscape of arts commissioning, from subcultures to the mainstream, and how to build a loyal and passionate audience as well as draw in new viewers. It will explore the parameters of what we define as art, from music to dance to the visual arts, and look to identify the ingredients that make an arts documentary a success.

  • Our Planet, Our Health

    Human-induced climate change is a fact, a UK climate emergency has been declared, but what can we do? Join activist Joshua Hall of Extinction Rebellion Sheffield, artist Hwa Young Jung, geographer Professor Anson MacKay, environmental economist Professor Elizabeth Robinson and Jenny Carpenter of Sheffield Climate Alliance to consider the challenges we face and to explore solutions. This session also draws on themes raised by documentary, Anthropocene: The Human Epoch.

    This event is part of the Doc/Fest Exchange programme bringing together a specially curated programme of free talks, films and conversations to revolutionise what makes a healthy planet.

    Supported by Wellcome.

    No festival pass or ticket required. All events at Doc/Fest Exchange are free and open to all.

  • Food Matters

    Join artist Maya Chowdhry, community food expert Mama D, Rick Watson of Sheffield Climate Alliance and food researcher Professor Bhavani Shankar to explore revelations, contradictions and journeys around food, where it comes from, how it nourishes us and impacts our health.

    This event is part of the Doc/Fest Exchange programme bringing together a specially curated programme of free talks, films and conversations to revolutionise what makes a healthy planet.

    Supported by Wellcome.

    No festival pass or ticket required. All events at Doc/Fest Exchange are free and open to all.

  • Living Off Grid

    Join journalist, Katy Vans, and a range of experts, including Piet Defoe (Townhead Offgrid community) and Naomi Mwasambili (CEO, Chanua Health) to explore the possibilities of living modern life generating your own energy, heat, water, sanitation and food.

    This event is part of the Doc/Fest Exchange programme bringing together a specially curated programme of free talks, films and conversations to revolutionise what makes a healthy planet.

    Supported by Wellcome.

    No festival pass or ticket required. All events at Doc/Fest Exchange are free and open to all.

  • A Conversation with Jeremy Deller

    Join the Turner prize winning artist Jeremy Deller and Site Gallery Creative Director Sharna Jackson to explore the ability of art and social movements to illuminate the politics of everyday life.

    This event is part of the Doc/Fest Exchange programme bringing together a specially curated programme of free talks, films and conversations to revolutionise what makes a healthy planet.

    Supported by Wellcome.

    No festival pass or ticket required. All events at Doc/Fest Exchange are free and open to all.

  • Up: a Longitudinal Case Study

    First broadcast in 1964 the Up series was one of the first unscripted observational documentaries and is widely regarded as one the greatest factual series of all time. For more than 50 years this social experiment has followed its fourteen subjects, selected to represent the range of socio-economic backgrounds in Britain. The production team and contributors talk about the making of the series: how it all begin, the filmmaker/contributor relationship and plans for the future.

    Supported by ITV

  • Living with Robots

    Drawing inspiration from the documentary, Hi, AI, in which humanoid robots work, shop, sing and go to the movies, ethicist Professor Andy Miah, cognitive psychologist, Dr Maria Panagiotidi and Afrofuturist, Florence Okoye join sociologist Dr Stevienna De Saille, to delve into a world in which humanoid robots become part of our everyday lives. How might this change how we are cared for, how we care for others, and how we live together in the future?

    This event is part of the Doc/Fest Exchange programme bringing together a specially curated programme of free talks, films and conversations to revolutionise what makes a healthy planet.

    Supported by Wellcome.

    No festival pass or ticket required. All events at Doc/Fest Exchange are free and open to all.

  • Perspectives on Reality

    Join Unlimited artists including Anna Berry in conversation with Unlimited’s Jo Verrent and a neuroscientist to explore differences in perceptual reality and the important role of art, technology and creative difference.

    This event is part of the Doc/Fest Exchange programme bringing together a specially curated programme of free talks, films and conversations to revolutionise what makes a healthy planet.

    Supported by Wellcome.

    No festival pass or ticket required. All events at Doc/Fest Exchange are free and open to all.

  • Commissioning: Factual Entertainment

    Factual Entertainment sits at the heart of the TV schedule but with budgets, ratings and platforms more challenging than ever, how does terrestrial fact ent punch through? We ask our panel of commissioners whether the big plays are only for the big players or whether a small indie can still have a shot at the main prize?

  • Channel 4 Interview: Paddy Wivell

    In twenty years of directing documentaries for Channel 4 and the BBC, Paddy Wivell has made a name for himself for the seemingly effortless and compassionate way he connects with his subjects, from African tribes to Orthodox Jews and psychiatric inpatients in Bafta award-winning Bedlam. Described by The Times as “a filmmaker of such exceptional talent, so gifted and unassuming, that you scarcely notice how accomplished he is”, Paddy creates a warmth and intimacy with all his contributors, a skill on display in his double BAFTA nominated three-parter for Channel 4, Prison. Paddy embeds himself on the wings and landings of HMP Durham to capture up close the lives of inmates doing battle with a skeleton staff struggling to cope a with constantly revolving population of over 1000 men.

    Paddy will be in conversation with Simon Dickson, Creative Director and Co-founder at Label 1, about the films that have shaped his career and his uniquely personal style. He’ll also show clips from his latest series, this time filming inside a women’s prison, which promises a layered, funny and sometimes shocking peek into a world most of us know little about.

    Supported by Channel 4

  • Criminal Justice: Letting the Cameras In

    Three years in the making, this landmark C4 series, with unprecedented access to multiple agencies – police, prison, parole and probation - aims to get to the heart of the modern dilemmas within the criminal justice system. We talk to leading people within the System, to assess the process of letting documentary cameras inside and explore how criminal justice is analysed via modern day documentary-making, pioneering a novel blend of present-tense observational filming and past-tense archive storytelling.

    Supported by Channel 4

    This session will be BSL interpreted.

  • Famous Faces in New Spaces

    Transitioning from a well-known personality to a factual presenter is a difficult and delicate path to tread. In this session, presenters and producers alike discuss their experiences of creating some of the most entertaining television of the past twelve months. With a trend for ‘repurposing’ famous faces, this session will give you a first-hand insight in to the pitfalls and potential of such a move.

    Supported by BBC

    This session will be BSL interpreted.

  • Craft Summit: Sound Unbound

    Sound is sometimes sidelined by the dominance of image and story in documentary making. And yet it can have a powerful effect on the audience, working in a more evocative and subliminal way on our perception of the film. Focussing on documentaries at this year’s festival which immerse the audience in sound, we will explore with their designers how the audio landscape is integral to the cinematic experience.

    The Sound is Innocent directed by Johana Ožvold is screening at the festival.

  • Jenn Nkiru talks Film, Art and Cosmic Archeology

    Filmmaker and ‘cosmic archaeologist’, Jenn Nkiru, is one of the UK’s most exciting rising directors, with a unique and distinctive visual style. Her films are powerful explorations of black identity including commissions for Nowness, Frieze, Gucci and Channel 4. She has also collaborated on projects with Beyonce, Jay-Z and Kamasi Washington, and was a founding curator of Boiler Room’s video platform 4:3, alongside Elijah Wood, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Peaches. Jenn will discuss her work and upcoming projects, including new archive-based short BLACK TO TECHNO, which explores the origins and impact of the Detroit techno scene.

  • Commissioning: Documentary for Broadcast

    Highlighting their priorities, leading commissioners talk about forthcoming commissioning opportunities as they take part in our own version of Question Time. Commenting on recent successes, they discuss the changing landscape, the renewed focus on diversity and how producers can keep innovating for their channels. With a spotlight on relationships and with audience questions throughout, this is your chance to really get to know some of the UK’s most prolific commissioners.

    This session will be BSL interpreted.

  • Imaginary Friends: Short Stories from ‘the Loneliest Generation’

    In 2018, the UK’s Ministry of Loneliness was installed to combat the issue of isolation. Generation Z has been singled out as ‘the loneliest generation’, with social media’s effects often receiving the blame. However, it’s online that young people can find a sense of companionship: a recurring theme in this year’s shorts programme. Online personalities offer a tailored experience, creating the illusion of intimate relationships. How can the Film and TV industry cater to the needs of an audience craving personal connections if social media is already their bff?

    Disconnected directed by Alice Aedy and Jawline directed by Liza Mandelup are screening at the festival.

  • Paul Greengrass in Conversation

    We welcome the hugely respected director Paul Greengrass to this years’ Sheffield Doc/Fest. Having cut his teeth on the investigative documentary strand World in Action, known for its forceful and unorthodox journalistic approach, Paul Greengrass has become one of the world’s most popular filmmakers. His films, which often explore real-world anxieties and confront both social and political issues, include 22 July, three of the Jason Bourne franchise, Captain Phillips, United 93 and Bloody Sunday.

    In conversation with journalist, broadcaster and BFI Senior curator Danny Leigh, Paul will discuss his journey from TV documentaries in the UK to feature films in Hollywood, the evolution of his signature vérité-style, and his thoughts on the need to open up the film industry to less privileged and working class talent and ensure future creative diversity.

  • The Fortress