Our call for entries for the 2021 programme are now CLOSED.

Sheffield Doc/Fest is an international film and arts festival and marketplace, with a mission to spark imaginations and empower our collective capacity for change through celebrating, championing and debating documentary film and art as a collective form of engagement. 

Through supporting and sharing non-fiction storytelling, Doc/Fest aims to provide a creative space for discovery, challenge and collaboration. As an internationalist and inclusive festival, we embody a commitment to equality and access for all our communities, bringing together established creatives, new voices, and our host city to shape and question stories of the world we live in. 

The Sheffield Doc/Fest Film programme offers filmmakers a place for inspiration, debate, growth and challenge and a relevant international platform to launch their films and art works. It engages audiences with  a multitude of forms, ideas, ways of doing and thinking, through World, International, European and UK premieres, and through its historical and retrospective programmes. The festival screens over 180+ films of all lengths – with the 2020 programme encompassing works from 50 countries around the world, with 49 spoken languages represented.

Sheffield Doc/Fest looks to question the boundaries of documentary through a programme that challenges trends, brings diversity and enriches debate. The festival invites audiences to engage with experiences and stories from different parts of our world and to join the makers in inspiring moments.

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What are we looking for?

We welcome documentary and non-fiction films of all lengths and from all around the world, that wish to be considered for launching or premiering as part of our 2021 official selection.

In considering the entries we receive for the festival, we ask ourselves: Does the filmmaker/creator and the work show authenticity in voice, in questioning, in sharing the images they produce and the stories they represent? Is there something new about this work? Does it offer a perspective of a known subject that we haven’t seen before? Does it offer an aesthetic approach to reality we have not engaged with? Is the socio-political narrative of the work relevant to the now?

We see this as one of the primary roles of a festival with an open entries format: to be ravenous in the search for works that are not already on our radar, to ensure we are a festival of equal opportunity, a truly international and pluralistic festival. Where there is a strong film in our submissions we will find it and discuss it.


Applications for the Film Programme have now closed

For any further information contact Owen Jones, Film Programme Coordinator at films@sheffdocfest.com or ring +44 (0) 114 276 5141

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2021 Film Programme Strands

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION
Singular films from all over the world, driven by courageous and creative ways of reflecting life and imagining our times.

There are two awards in the International Competition: Jury Award and Grand Award.

UK COMPETITION
Bringing together diverse films with the UK as the main country of production into a contemporary conversation, championing and spotlighting artists and filmmakers with fresh perspectives on the world and on cinema.

INTO THE WORLD
Into the World is about all of us—the distant, the close, the intimate, the political—our worlds and their infinite appearances, challenges and dangers. Films by essential directors with essential themes that take varied approaches to exploring our past, present and collective future.

REBELLIONS
There are as many ways to rebel as there are humans on this planet—and cinema can be one of them. What happens when a human who wants to change the world meets a camera? What happens when a film changes a human being? Reality is here to be invented and it’s up to us to take it into our own hands.

GHOSTS & APPARITIONS
Since the first glimpses of the moving image, ghosts were haunting our imaginations, including those yet to be. A ghost from then meets a ghost from now - histories and collective memory are born. And cinema: the dismantling of frontiers.

RHYME & RHYTHM
Film has a rich tradition of incorporating and interacting with other arts and practices. From music to performing arts, from visual arts to literature, these films offer encounters and inspirations to a different beat.

RETROSPECTIVE
Each year, Doc/Fest will present a retrospective that brings to Sheffield fundamental histories of cinema. Sometimes a theme, sometimes an idea, sometimes a filmmaker, each retrospective will be a unique moment to revisit the history of non-fiction and documentary, and to put contemporary cinema in perspective.

NORTHERN FOCUS
This year we bring you a selection of films showcasing the best emerging talent from Northern England. You can find more information and eligibility. HERE

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AWARDS

Sheffield Doc/Fest honours the best of our programme in several award categories. Please see the award categories and criteria below.

Grand Award: Films considered for this award are from the International Competition strand and are required to have their World, International or European premieres at Sheffield Doc/Fest. This award honours films that best display excellence in style, substance and approach to documentary filmmaking. This award is qualifying for the Academy Awards. 

Jury Award: Films considered for this award are from the International Competition strand and are required to have their World, International or European at Sheffield Doc/Fest. This award champions bold, new creative forms of non-fiction cinema.

UK Award: Bringing together diverse films with the UK as the main country of production into a contemporary conversation, championing and spotlighting artists and filmmakers with fresh perspectives on the world and on cinema. Films considered for this award are feature, mid-length or short films from the UK Competition strand. These are required to be World premieres with the main country of production being within the UK. 

All films from the main programme that are not part of the Main Competition or UK Competition strands are considered for the following awards:

First Feature Award: This award discovers and honours the future of non-fiction film, celebrating new talent and fresh perspectives.

Short Doc Award: This award presents the best of short films in the Festival, made by emerging and established filmmakers from around the world. This award is qualifying for the Academy Awards. 

Tim Hetherington Award: This award recognises a film and filmmaker which best reflects journalist Tim Hetherington’s legacy.

Youth Jury Award: This award is selected by some of the UK's most passionate and stand-out young documentary lovers.

Audience Award: This award is voted for by the Sheffield Doc/Fest cinema audiences, recognising the film that receives the highest audience vote during the Festival.

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