Sheffield Showcase #1 – Doc/Fest

Every month, Mixtape Couture will be showcasing and shining a light on the talent that can be found in Sheffield. From bands to fashion brands, shops to retaurants, events to exhibitions, if it’s in Sheffield and it’s worth you knowing about then I will be letting you know. Whether you are a Sheffield resident yourself or are planning a visit one day [which I highly recommend] then hopefully this feature will help you to know where to visit, what to do and what’s going on in the Steel City.

For the very first edition I thought I would choose an event that will be taking place in Sheffield very soon. That event is Doc/Fest, Sheffield’s International Documentary Film Festival, a festival that is well respected and one of the best in the world. This year’s festival will take place over the week from 7th June to 12th June and will be held in the main at Sheffield’s wonderful Showroom Cinema.

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This is a festival that celebrates the world of documentary films bringing together the best films from the past year, previews of new films and showcasing new talent. The festival is in it’s 21st year now so it more than knows what it is doing and how to put on a festival and it seems to be getting bigger and better every single year.

Over the course of the week content will be screened, there is a chance for newcomers to pitch their work, discussion panels will take place and masterclasses from filmmakers will take place. Though it’s not just the week long festival, Doc/Fest has a year long legacy which sees workshops, screenings, labs and mentoring opportunities take place in the UK and further afield.

The festival sets itself out every year to push boundaries, find something new and exciting as well as supporting and nurturing the new talent coming though. 2009 saw the festival embrace digital and interactive programming after presenting the Crossover Summit and last year, Doc/Fest presented 3 opening nights with over 100 films and 80 sessions taking place in over 60 countries. It’s a huge thing for Sheffield but this is a festival that now has a legacy and respected name throughout the whole of the documentary film making industry worldwide and that is seriously impressive for a festival that started 21 years ago more than likely as a way of trying to bring documentary films to the attention of the people of Sheffield.

Each year, an array of guests from the world of film making and factual TV presenting appear for workshops and panel discussions as well as mentoring the future talent and offering advice that would otherwise be impossible to gain. This year there will be An Evening with Grayson Perry which sounds like such a brilliant night, a BAFTA masterclass, opportunities to pitch to the BBC and the BFI, a conversation with newscaster Jon Snow, Sue Perkins will be speaking and then there are the films such as the opening night of Pulp’s film. Plenty of offer for every single person whatever your interests and tickets to a lot of the talks and films are affordably cheap, a lot cheaper than I was expecting, plus if you want to come up for a few days you can buy passes on their website.

I must admit I’ve never actually attended anything around Doc/Fest much to my own incompetence but it’s something I would love to go to. This year though I will be attending the talk by Jon Snow, as a journalism graduate and with a huge interest in the media there is no way I could miss such a seasoned professional and an inspiration to many wannabe journos. There are another couple of events I have my eye on as well specifically Adam Buxton’s BUG show on David Bowie and you never know this may also be the year when I venture down and catch a film and find out a bit more about the quite fascinating world of documentary films.

To find out more about the festival, check the film and talks schedule, gather prices or any other information then visit Doc/Fest’s website.

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