• Beyond Story: A Conversation for the Industry

    ‘What’s the story?’ It’s the question documentary filmmakers must answer when pitching new ideas to commissioners. A contained cast of central characters and coherent narrative has become the preferred form among most industry gatekeepers. Why is this? And what space is there for documentaries that aren’t structured around character-led linear stories? In reference to a recently published manifesto called 'Beyond Story’ (Alexandra Juhasz and Alisa Lebow) this session will interrogate the supremacy of story and think together with commissioners, filmmakers and academics about the creative possibilities of documentary beyond story.

  • Focus/Shapes That Move: Flip The Script

    Turning normative gender and sexuality on its head, we find the world looks different from this angle. The films of Flip the Script both celebrate and galvanise of the power of the LGBTQ+ community to interrupt binaries, disrupt the strictures of the status quo, and liberate the world from its own constraints.

  • Focus/Shapes That Move: Praise The Lorde

    The great contribution of Audre Lorde's intellectual irreverence to the thinking of her contemporary and succeeding generations was profound. The films explore her influence in Britain, serving as a primer for those who have yet to be introduced to her brilliance, and an homage for those who have.

  • Meet the Alternate Territories Delegation Drinks (Workstation Mezzanine)

    Working with British Council, the Alternate Realities team welcome a group of curators, artists and cultural influencers from around the world, who work with interactive and immersive art forms, to the festival. Join the Alternate Territories delegation at the Workstation Mezzanine for a drink.

    Supported by British Council

  • 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.

  • Bush, Boobs and Body Positivity with The Slumflower

    Chidera Eggerue preaches her messages of self-love and body positivity to thousands on her blog, The Slumflower, and with hugely successful campaigns like #saggyboobsmatter. Her 2018 debut book, What a Time to be Alone, quickly became a top 10 best-seller and her second book, Scribble Yourself Feminist – a collaboration with illustrator Manjit Thapp – is an interactive and empowering journal addressing #everydaysexism. We welcome Chidera to Doc/Fest for the first time, to discuss her campaigning work and new documentary for Channel 4, which questions our homogenised ideals of beauty.

    Supported by Channel 4

    Please contact us if you have any questions about access at this event:
    E: access [at] sheffdocfest.com
    T: +44 (0)114 276 5141

  • Real drama: What’s Next for the Access Doc?

    So you’ve got brilliant, hard-won access, now what? With fiercer competition for audiences, it’s what you do with that access that’s all important. We explore the ingredients needed for a hit series – from the inspiration behind the idea, to innovative approaches to storytelling. What are the secrets of turning access into a returnable brand, delivering compelling stories across platforms and pulling in the ever-elusive young audience?

    Supported by BBC

  • Getting Past the Gatekeepers: Dos and Don'ts of Pitching

    The marketplace for pitching documentaries is highly competitive. Thousands of ideas are vying for support from industry Decision Makers whose attention is often difficult to access. There are numerous hoops to jump through, boxes to tick and important elements to have in place that determine which proposals gain traction, and which struggle. In this session, forum organisers will share advice and insights about pitching and explain how to make your proposal stand out from the rest.

  • What If? Jonathan Pie Versus the Age of Stupid

    The first global climate school strike on March 15th this year coincided with the tenth anniversary of the solar-powered, green-carpet premiere of climate change blockbuster The Age of Stupid. This special event with director Franny Armstrong and comedian Tom Walker (aka YouTube star Jonathan Pie) discusses the small matters of what we must do to avoid extinction and whether the climate crisis is all the media’s fault.

    This event may contain adult themes and language. Recommended age rating 15+

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

  • Shapes that Move: Archiving the Films of Feminist Collectives

    Collectives give marginalised groups the opportunity to work outside of the mainstream and produce films that document their community. Who is best placed to archive that work, and how should it be exhibited? Members of filmmaking collectives represented in Doc/Fest’s Shapes of Movement focus discuss the production and continued life of their work with some of those who champion it through archiving and exhibition.

    Work by Terry Wragg, Rehana Zaman, Campbell X and Christine Stansfield is included in the Shapes That Move focus

  • WHAM! British Tropical Summer Party at the Doc Society Clubhouse

    Back by popular demand!....
    Let me take you to the place where membership's a smiling face…brush shoulders with the (documentary) stars. Where strangers take you by the hand and welcome you to their (British) wonderland from beneath their Panamas. Club Doc Soc drinks are cheap, fun and sunshine there's enough for everyone. All delegates welcome, arrive early for a cocktail on the house. Suntan not included.

    Supported by Doc Society

  • The Lovers Table (Part 1) presented by Kazim Rashid & Lotte Andersen

    Conceived by artist Lotte Andersen and director Kazim Rashid. This video conference invites an interdisciplinary group of thinkers to present an aspect of their practice, be it video, sound or visual sketch. In this instance, work will be shared by Giles Duley, Ayo Akingbade, Sean Frank, Bafic, Ondine Viñao and Kayus Banks of Young Fathers. Rashid and Andersen will additionally premiere new projects.

  • Updating the Classics: How Do You Refresh and Reinvigorate Factual TV?

    In an ever-crowded marketplace with FAANG disruptors and increased competition, a senior industry panel including award-winning producers and commissioners explore how to breathe new life into ever-popular fields of documentary, from the medical arena to police access documentary. How do you reinvent, cut through, and stand out?

    Supported by Channel 5

  • Women to the Front: Who do We Trust with Creative Decisions?

    In 2018 a Directors UK report, Who’s Calling the Shots?, revealed that there had been a decline in the number of women directing factual TV. The artistic direction of major film festivals is still largely the privilege of male curators, while the running of commercial aspects are left to their female peers. The industry still broadly entrusts its creative decisions and therefore its taste-making to men. While we strive for diversity on screen, our panel discusses whether the dominance of male programmers and directors still relegates women to the role of right-hand man.

    Seahorse, directed by Jeanie Finlay, and
    Untouchable , directed by Ursula Macfarlane, are screening at the festival.