Docs

“Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer” to open Sheffield Doc/Fest

This year's edition of the UK-based doc festival and conference, held from June 12-16, will also feature interactive content spread throughout the event, and 15 world premiere features.
May 9, 2013

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer will continue its festival circuit run with a prime slot as opener of the upcoming Sheffield Doc/Fest, taking place from June 12-16.

The film, directed by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, had its world premiere at Sundance in January and has since appeared at numerous fests, including the recently-wrapped Hot Docs. It’ll make its U.S. TV debut on HBO this summer.

The 20th anniversary edition of the UK doc festival and conference will also weave interactive-oriented content throughout the course of the event this year, and will include the inaugural Crossover Market.

Also, the event will introduce a new strand of programming, Films on Films, which will run influential narrative features alongside docs made about them. Other strands include Behind the Beats, The Habit of Art, This Sporting Life, Queer Screen, Resistance, Cross-Platform, First Cut, Best of British, Euro/Doc, Global Encounters, New York Times Op-Docs and Shorts.

The Doc/Fest Retrospective will this year feature the work of Shohei Imamura. Regarded as one of the leaders of Japanese post-war cinema and perhaps primarily known for his fiction work, Imamura also helmed several notable documentaries. Films to be screened at Doc/Fest include A Man Vanishes; Karayuki-san: The Making of a Prostitute; In Search of Returned Soldiers – Malaysia and In Search of Returned Soldiers – Thailand.

This year’s Crossover Interactive Summit, happening on opening day, will be followed in the evening by the world premiere of The Big Melt, which fest organizers bill as “a celebration of A Century of Steel with a soundtrack from Sheffield’s Jarvis Cocker working with his long-time collaborator Martin Wallace,” which will also feature performances from guest musicians. The project was commissioned by BBC Storyville and BBC North in Association with the BFI.

The opening night festivities will also feature an outdoor screening of Nick Ryan’s The Summit, taking place at Europe’s largest cave opening, the Devil’s Arse in the Peak District.

Speakers at the event will include Janice Hadlow, controller of BBC2 and interim controller of BBC4; Michael Palin; Alan Yentob in conversation with BBC ‘Storyville’ series editor Nick Fraser; Channel 4′s chief creative officer Jay Hunt; Wall to Wall’s Alex Graham; comedian, actor and music video curator Adam Buxton and filmmaker Kim Longinotto, among others.

As for the films, the director’s cut of Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing will have its UK premiere, as will Lucy Walker’s The Crash Reel. International premieres include Marina Zenovich’s Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic and Sebastian Junger’s Which Way is the Front line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington, among others. Films having their European Union premieres include After Tiller from Martha Shane and Lana Wilson, Dirty Wars from Rick Rowley, and Pandora’s Promise from Robert Stone.

“At Doc/Fest we always strive to broaden the term documentary to deliver a program that celebrates the form across all platforms,” said festival director Heather Croall in a statement. “This year I am particularly proud that the interactive program 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.”

The 15 features making their world premieres at Sheffield Doc/Fest are as follows, with synopses provided by the organizers.

Basically, Johnny Moped (Dir. Fred Burns; Country: United Kingdom; Year: 2013; Duration: 70 mins)
Basically, John Moped explores the proto-punk scene of the 1970s. Including interviews with current and ex-Johnny Moped members, including Chrissie Hynde (who was sacked twice) and Captain Sensible (who will attend the screening with filmmaker). The doc also features archive footage from the Roxy club in Covent Garden, shot by the legendary Don Letts.

Emptying The Skies (Dir/Prod: Roger Kass; Country: United States; Year: 2013; Duration: 75 mins)
Based on a widely published New Yorker magazine essay written by bestselling novelist Jonathan Franzen, the film explores rampant migratory songbird poaching in southern Europe and follows a squad of pan-European bird-lovers who risk their lives disrupting trapping operations and freeing as many wild birds as possible.

Everybody’s Child (Dir. Garry Fraser; Producer: Aimara Reques; Country: United Kingdom; Year: 2013; Duration: 75 mins)
Recovering heroin addict and filmmaker, Garry Fraser, returns to the heart of the poor marginalised community he grew up in – Muirhouse, Edinburgh. Fraser confronts the damage done by his life of crime, violence and drug abuse as he works towards a new path in his life.

A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power, and Jayson Blair at the New York Times (Dir./Prod.: Samantha Grant; Country: United States; Year: 2013; Duration: 79 mins)
A Fragile Trust tells the shocking story of Jayson Blair, a promising, young, African-American reporter who incited a plagiarism scandal that brought the New York Times to what publisher Arthur Sulzburger dubbed a “low-point in the 152 year history of the paper.”

Here Was Cuba (Dir: John Murray, Emer Reynolds; Producer: Siobhan Ward, John Murray; Country: Ireland; Year: 2013; Duration: 75 mins)

The story of the Cuban Missile Crisis, exploring how in 1962 the Earth teetered on the very brink of nuclear holocaust and with nuclear brinkmanship high on the international agenda today, the invaluable lessons it can teach a generation too young to remember how close we came to the end.

Thin Ice (no additional information available)

The Man Whose Mind Exploded (Dir: Toby Amies; Producer: Rob Alexander; Country: United Kingdom; Year: 2012; Duration: 76 mins)
We’re told to live in the moment, but would you want to be trapped in a never-ending now? Drako’s response to losing his mind was to make a work of art out of himself, his home and his life. It was left to director Toby Aimes to film it and keep him safe.

Mirage Men (Dir./Prod.: John Lundberg; Country: United Kingdom; Year: 2013; Duration: 95 mins)
Yorkshire filmmaker John Lundberg unveils an intricate web of postwar intrigue in Mirage Men. The film follows Paul Benowitz who reported sightings of UFOs to the U.S. Air Force, an act that destroyed his family, eventually landing him in an insane asylum. (Lundberg previously received the 2004 Doc/Fest Student Prize) )

Notes from the Inside with James Rhodes (Dir: Ursula Macfarlane; Producer: Lucy Cohen; Country: United Kingdom; Year: 2012; Duration: 48 mins)
James is passionate about taking his music out of the confines of the concert hall and into places it rarely reaches. Convinced that music can change lives for the better, Notes From the Inside sees James takes a Steinway grand piano inside one of Britain’s largest psychiatric hospitals. With exclusive and unprecedented access, James meets patients to hear their searing life stories and share his own. 

Particle Fever (Dir. Mark Levinson; Editor: Walter Murch; Producer: David Kaplan, Mark Levinson, Andrea Miller, Carla Solomon; Country: United States; Year: 2013; Duration: 99 mins)
Particle Fever tells the inside story about the discovery at the Large Hadron Collider of the long-sought “God Particle,” the Higgs Boson.

Plot for Peace (Dir. Mandy Jacobson, Carlos Agull; Producer: Mandy Jacobson; Country: South Africa; Year: 2012; Duration: 96 mins)
Plot for Peace is a character-driven historical thriller about the demise of apartheid. It tells the story of Jean-Yves Olliver, alias “Monsieur Jacques”, whose behind-the-scenes bargaining was instrumental in bringing about regional peace and the end of racial discrimination in South Africa.

Project Wild Thing (Dir./Prod.: David Bond, Ashley Jones; Country: United Kingdom; Year: 2013; Duration: 80 mins)
To highlight the cacophony of marketing, screen dependence and consumerism in modern life, David Boyd appoints himself Marketing Director of Nature in an attempt to get the modern family back to nature. In this humorous journey, Boyd unearths some painful truths. Equipped with a campaign and a logo Boyd promotes a product that is free, plentiful and has proven benefits – but is Nature past its sell-by date?

The Road to Fame (Dir. Hao Wu; no further information available)

The Secret Life of Uri Geller – Psychic Spy? (Dir. Vikram Jayanti; Producer: Vikram Jayanti, Bruce Burgess; Country: United Kingdom; Year: 2013; Duration: 90 mins)
For years, controversial spoon-bender Uri Geller has dropped hints about his secret life as a psychic spy for intelligence agencies on three continents over 40 years. It turns out that some of his claims can be verified. This investigation is a revelatory comic romp – but quite scary too.

To Let The World In (Dir. Avijit Mukul Kishore; Producer: Sanjay Tulsyan; Country: India; Year: 2013; Duration: 150 mins)
Filmmaker Avijit Mukul Kishore retraces a difficult but liberating few decades for Contemporary Indian art from the 1960s to the 1980s – with a collage of interviews, archival photographs, and artworks. Twelve diverse artists recall their experiences dominated with struggles against convention (Nilima Sheikh), politics (Anita Dube), and sexuality (Ranbir Kaleka) connected by a search for identity within a newly liberated India.

 

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