Sheffield DocFest 2021: Programme Picks

Sheffield DocFest is back, and we couldn’t be more excited. We have put together a programme that speaks to all those who want to engage with it, offering numerous ways of enjoying film and reflecting on our world and its possibilities - at Showroom Cinema, other venues across the city, and online.

This year’s festival contains many surprises, starting with new film strands that will both celebrate Sheffield as an internationalist and welcoming place for creatives (57 countries represented), and celebrate the UK - through a UK competition. The Retrospective strand is dedicated to Black British screen culture and the Northern Focus strand, providing filmmakers from the North of England a nourishing place to launch their films.

This edition will still be held under the restrictions we’ve all had to learn to live with, but the most important aspect is the care that our venue partners (cinemas and galleries) have put into making sure everyone can enjoy coming together safely. Makers and talent are coming to Sheffield to meet their audiences and share their work with them, after more than a year dreaming about the moment when they would be able to do that again. I invite everyone to join us in welcoming their work, and to be inspired by their perseverance in telling stories that help us breathe, think and feel better.

The programme is out there to be discovered. You will find many forms, places and ways of storytelling, alongside opportunities to learn about work behind the scenes. You can also join us in conversations with filmmakers, and through our talks and panels. The makers and talent of Where Did The World Go (Brian Hill and Simon Armitage), In The Shadow of 9/11 (Dan Reed), King Rocker (Michael Cumming and Stewart Lee), Songs for the River (Charlotte Ginsborg), Charm Circle (Nira Burstein), and our arts commission artist Charlotte Jarvis will join us, among others, at Showroom Cinema. Guest curators of our Retrospective including David Olusoga (who will also be the guest of the BBC Interview), Campbell X, and Marc Isaacs, will be joining us to talkabout the role of fiction in documentary. Plus, many more.

Let us reconnect with our cinemas, with the familiar faces who open the doors for us at the Showroom or serve us a glass of wine at the bar with a smile, and make us feel at home. Sheffield DocFest is about all that, and it’s an adventure.

Cíntia Gil is the Festival Director of Sheffield DocFest. The festival's 28th edition runs from 4-13 June 2021.
Explore the full festival programme and book your tickets at

This article first featured in the Sheffield Telegraph on Thursday 3 June 2021.


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