Sheffield Doc/Fest Recommends : Melanie Iredale (Interim Director)

Posted 22 May 2019

From 6-11 June Sheffield Doc/Fest will return for its 2019 edition, to Showroom Cinema – where the festival started 26 years ago – and across the city.

Our tagline for this year is Ways of Seeing, which refers to the multitude of views and perspectives offered by the programme, and multiple ways of experiencing documentary.

At its heart, Doc/Fest is what it always was – a platform for showing the best and latest docs from all over the world, but these days you can also experience non-fiction storytelling through digital art, live events, talks – and of course, parties.

With 180+ films in the programme to choose from, it’s no easy task to pick a top 3 of those that will screen at the Showroom over the festival, but to give it my best shot…


One Child Nation

One Child Nation by Nanfu Wang (China, USA 2019)

Friday 7 June, 18:30

Monday 10 June, 13:45

Told by a first-time mother and filmmaker, Nanfu Wang tells the story of China’s “One Child” policy, under which Nanfu herself was raised. Through interviews with those who helped to enforce it, and testimonies from those affected by it, One Child Nation breaks open decades of silence of countless tales of forced sterilization, child kidnappings, and trafficking.

One Child Nation pitched in Doc/Fest’s marketplace in 2017 so it’s particularly rewarding to see it come back for its UK Premiere in Sheffield. The film has been picked up by Dogwoof so there might be opportunity to see it further down the line, but you can see the UK Premiere of it here first.

Click here for more information and to book tickets.


Seahorse by Jeanie Finlay (UK 2019) Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth

Saturday 8 June, 15:00 + Conversation with Jeanie Finlay & Freddy McConnell

Monday 10 June, 21:45

Seahorse is a wonderful story of one trans man’s journey to fatherhood. Freddy is 30 and decides to carry his own baby, but nothing could prepare him for the reality of pregnancy, as both a physical experience and one that challenges society's fundamental understanding of gender, parenthood and family.

Jeanie Finlay is a Nottingham-based filmmaker and Doc/Fest regular, having screened a number of films in the Showroom over the years, and we’re chuffed to bits to have her back – and welcome Freddy too – with the European premiere of a film made with such tenderness and humour.

Click here for more information and to book tickets.


For Sama For Sama by Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts (Syria, UK 2019)

Saturday 8 June, 18:00 + Conversation with Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts

Monday 10 June, 16:25

For Sama is a love letter from a 26-year old Syrian mother to her baby daughter, telling her the story of the circumstances in which she came in to the world, and with that showing us 5 years of the uprising in Aleppo. Waad al-Kateab falls in love, marries and gives birth – all of which she captures on camera, alongside the violence raging around them. Waad faces an impossible choice – whether to stay, and risk all for what she believes, or whether to flee, for to protect her family’s life.

We’re thrilled to be welcoming the citizen journalist turned SXSW award-winning filmmaker Waad al-Kateab to Sheffield, as she and Edward Watts will be in conversation with Channel 4’s Jon Snow.

Click here for more information and to book tickets.


To add, for those who like to come to Showroom for their regular cinema club and access screenings, we’re working in collaboration to present the Showroom’s usual slots, so you can see Honeyland as part of Early Doors on Thursday 6 June, Dive: Rituals in Water at the Kino Bambino screening on Monday 10 June, and the PJ Harvey doc, A Dog Called Money will screen with closed captions as part of Subtitled Mondays on Monday 10 June.

See you in the cinema!

You can take a look at the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019 programme here.


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