Running since 1994 it’s the UK’s biggest documentary festival, and at something like third best in the world, it’s an incredible thing to have running in our back yard.
The festival returns to Sheffield June 9th-14th with 35 world premiers and 73 UK premiers in tow. Flagship events include talks with Ian Hislop and Lenny Henry and the festival has even recruited some new venues such as the Octagon Centre and new cinema on the Moor The Light.
The event opens with the world premier of Daisy Asquith’s Queerama, marking the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, which will be followed by a performance by singer-songwriter John Grant, who stars in the film. What ensues is 5 days of countless stories, established and up-and-coming talent and a true celebration of storytelling in a variety of mediums until the festival’s closing film Jo Cox: Death of an MP on the first anniversary of the MP’s murder.
Highlights from the programme include a conversation with Nick Broomfield alongside showings of his new documentary Whitney: Can I Be Me chronicling the life and tragic death of the famed R&B singer, a live action Spookers experience to accompany the heartwarming, oddball documentary of the same name and even a freshly announced DJ set by Cate le Bon.
Meanwhile, the Alternate Realities showcase seems once more to shuffle further into the festival’s spotlight, with intriguing offerings ranging from a Greenpeace virtual reality experience that engages all of the senses to the international premier of immersive virtual reality theatre piece Doom Room, with a warning that it is not suitable for the faint of heart.
Beginning the day after the general election the festival presents a range of films promising a detailed look into the stories that have plagued our news channels and newsfeeds alike, ranging from anti-Trump protests in Freedom for the Wolf to vox-pop piece Brexitannia. Will Doc Fest 2017 offer us some much needed catharsis after a turbulent year of politics across the globe?
With so much to offer it’s clear that the biggest challenge of the festival will be fitting it all in over the jam packed 6 days.
Visit us again in June for our review of the festival, event highlights and top film picks.