Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013 programme announced

sheffield doc festThe programme for this year’s 20th Sheffield Doc/Fest was announced this morning (9 May) at an official launch at the BFI on London’s Southbank. Taking place 12–16 June, the festival features talks, live music, the pitching session MeetMarket, and of course ever impressive screenings of documentary films. The Knowledge was there to hear some of this year’s highlights…

Chair Alex Graham kicked things off by announcing that this year’s inspiration award will go to Nick Frasier, editor of BBC documentary strand Storyville. Previous winners include Nick Broomfield and Penny Woolcock.

Via video link, festival director Heather Croall revealed the festival will have not just one opening night, but three. The most interesting (and obscure) could well be the screening of the climbing documentary The Summit, which will be shown in a cave in the Peak District.

Croall also treated the audience to a clip of Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer, which will get its UK premiere at the festival. The documentary, from Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, tells the story of the members of the feminist art collective Pussy Riot – who were arrested in Russia on charges of religious hatred.

This year also features a stellar line-up of guest speakers, featuring top names in broadcasting, including Michael Palin, Trevor McDonald, Alan Yentob, Melvyn Bragg and BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow. Host and producer of This American Life, Ira Glass, is set to make his first UK appearance at the festival to discuss his award-winning programme.

Film programmer Hussain Currimbhoy revealed some of the selected films that will be showing – he had to wade through 2,000 of them to whittle down to 77 features, 33 shorts, 10 interactive and 1 art installation. Highlights from the line-up include: Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic, Muscle Shoals, and God Loves Uganda – a hard-hitting doc about African culture and American Christian evangelists.

Commenting on this year’s festival, Croall said: "Sheffield Doc/Fest at 20 is an exciting place to be. Since I arrived seven years ago the festival has grown exponentially and we've done that by making sure we stay ahead of the curve. At Doc/Fest we always strive to broaden the term documentary to deliver a programme that celebrates the form across all platforms.

“This year I am particularly proud that the Interactive programme is the strongest ever, and can be seen right across the festival in speakers, sessions, docs, in The Crossover Lounge and the first ever Crossover Market. And throughout Doc/Fest we will present a live music and film events with some of the most exciting musicians around - I can't think of a better year!"

For the full programme of films and events, head to the Sheffield Doc/Fest website by clicking here.