The six-day UK festival, which wraps tomorrow (June 14), handed out awards at a Tuesday evening (June 13) ceremony in Crucible Theatre, hosted by local radio presenter Paulette Edwards.
Matthew Heineman’s City of Ghosts, which had its world premiere earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, took home the Grand Jury Award, with special mentions going to David France’s The Death and The Life of Marsha P. Johnson and Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous’s The Work.
City of Ghosts follows the journey of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” (RBSS) – a handful of anonymous activists and unwitting journalists who are intent on exposing the horrors of life under ISIS rule via the only weapon they have: the media.
A jury statement read, “City of Ghosts is a passionate portrayal of people who took their lives in their hands to fight an evil that looms over the world. In our discussions we wanted the film makers to answer: who created ISIS and who sustains it today? A compelling and vital film.“
Jennifer Brea (pictured, right) picked up two awards, including the inaugural Illuminate Award, which explores the screen chemistry between vibrant storytelling and innovative filmmaking inspired by science. Brea was given the Illuminate Award for Unrest and the alternative reality award for Unrest VR.
The doc follows Brea as she tries to make sense of a debilitating, leaden tiredness that took hold of her, leaving many questions unanswered by medical experts. Brea turns to the internet and finds not only that her condition has a name—myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)—but along with it a supportive community of sufferers.
The VR experience journeys into Brea’s experience of an invisible illness, contrasting the solitary confinement of a bedroom world with the kinetic freedom of an inner dreamscape.
The Work, which and its world premiere at SXSW, received the Sheffield Doc/Fest Film Audience Award, supported by Curzon Home Cinema and voted for by audiences during the festival. The doc tells the story of inmates in Folsom State Prison who undergo four days of group therapy
“We are all here hoping for what other people say can’t happen,” said director Jairus McLeary. “It can happen, it does happen.”
Picking up the Environmental Award was A River Below, while a special mention was given to Kate Brooks’ The Last Animals.
The River Below highlights the alliance between a renowned marine biologist and a reality TV star who are both campaigning to save Brazil’s pink river dolphin
“A River Below challenged us to think in uncomfortable ways about conservation. This is the film that we talked about the longest, that left us conflicted and ultimately the most engaged in the subject,” read a statement from the jury.
The Art Doc Award, meanwhile, went to Rati Oneli’s City of the Sun, with a special mention given to Brimstone and Glory.
The Short Doc Award went to The Rabbit Hunt. When accepting his award, director Patrick Bresnan acknowledged all the young filmmakers in the audience. “We shot this film with a camera most dockers would laugh at,” he said, encouraging new talent to chase their stories.
The Tim Hetherington Award was presented to Yance Ford‘s Strong Island. Now in its fifth year, the Tim Hetherington Award recognizes the films and filmmakers that best reflect journalist Tim Hetherington’s legacy.
Find a full list of the Sheffield Doc/Fest awards below:
GRAND JURY AWARD
Winner: City of Ghosts
Special Mentions: The Work and The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
Winner: The Work
Winner: A River Below
Special Mention: The Last Animals
TIM HETHERINGTON AWARD
Winner: Strong Island
ART DOC AWARD
Winner: City Of The Sun
Special Mention: Brimstone and Glory
NEW TALENT AWARD
YOUTH JURY AWARD
Winner: 69 Minutes of 86 Days
Special Mention: Rat Film
SHORT DOC AWARD
Winner: The Rabbit Hunt
Special Mention: Edith + Eddie
ALTERNATE REALITIES VIRTUAL REALITY AWARD
Winner: Unrest VR
ALTERNATE REALITIES INTERACTIVE AWARD
Winner: My Grandmother’s Lingo
ALTERNATIVE REALITIES AUDIENCE AWARD
Winner: Munduruku: The Fight to Defend the Heart of the Amazon
WHICKER’S WORLD FOUNDATION AWARDS
Funding Award Winner: Pailin Wedel for Hope Frozen
Funding Award Runner Up: Duncan Cowles for Silent Men
The Sage Award Winner: Steven Carne for My NHS
The Sage Award Runner Up: Roy Delaney for The Bard’s Wife
Winner: The Fight