Scorsese, Longinotto, Woolcock to premiere docs in Sheffield

Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi's New York Review of Books doc A 50 Year Argument (pictured) and Kim Longinotto's all-archival Love Is All will be among the world premieres at Sheffield Doc/Fest next month.
May 9, 2014

Films by Martin Scorsese, Kim Longinotto, Marshall Curry, Penny Woolcock and Alex Gibney are to screen at this year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest in the UK.

The annual festival, which runs June 7-12, will host 21 world premieres, including Scorsese and David Tedeschi’s A 50 Year Argument (pictured), a doc about the influence of The New York Review of Books; Longinotto’s Love Is All, which uses archival material to retrace cinematic representations of love over the past 100 years; Woolcock’s Going to the Dogs, which looks at illegal dog fighting; Amir Amirani’s We Are Many, a film about the largest anti-war march in history; and Owen Gower’s Still the Enemy Within, a look at Britain’s 1984 miners’ strike.

The screenings are part an extensive program of events encompassing an industry conference, awards ceremony, live music events, interactive docs, art installations and the popular MeetMarket, which fosters meetings between filmmaker and potential backers.

In addition to previously reported opening films Miners Shot Down and Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets, director Thomas Balmes’ Sundance cinematography prize winner Happiness will also screen on opening night.

Miners Shot Down is part of a four-film program of South African docs playing at this year’s event alongside Petter Ringbom’s music doc Shield and Spear, Jolynn Minnaar’s fracking doc Unearthed, and Khalo Matabane’s controversial doc Mandela: The Myth & Me.

Films competing for the Special Jury Prize include Steve James’ doc biopic about late film critic Roger Ebert, Life Itself; Jesse Moss’ Sundance-winner The Overnighters; Eddie Martin’s All This Mayhem;  Georgia Scott and Sophia Scott’s In The Shadow of War; Jung Yoon-Suk’s Non Fiction Diary; Goran Olsson’s Concerning Violence; Rory Kennedy’s Last Days In Vietnam; Andre Singer’s Night Will Fall and Jacqui Morris and David Morris’ Attacking the Devil: Harold Evans and the Last Nazi War.

Docs that will continue their festival runs at Sheffield include Alex Gibney’s Finding Fela, Marshall Curry’s Tribeca Film Festival-winner Point and Shoot, Doug Block’s 112 Weddings, Nancy Kates’ Regarding Susan Sontag, Ben Cotner and Ryan White’s The Case Against 8, Brian Knappenberger’s The Internet’s Own Boy – The Story of Aaron Schwartz, and Talal Derki’s Return to Homs.

Recent Pulitzer Prize-winner Laura Poitras will receive this year’s Inspiration Award and the festival will honor late documentarian Peter Wintonick by screening his 1992 film Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media and his 2008 film PilgrIMAGE. The festival will also hand out the inaugural Peter Wintonick Award, created to celebrate activist filmmaking, during its awards ceremony on June 12.

The subject of this year’s retrospective focus is experimental Greek-French director Agnès Varda. Her films The Gleaners and I, The Beaches of Agnes, Vagabond and Cleo From 5 to 7 will screen this year.

This is the first year that Sheffield Doc/Fest will be recognized by the Academy Awards as an Oscar-qualifying festival in the short documentary category. This year’s winning documentary short will go on to qualify for consideration for the 2015 Academy Awards.

The festival’s live music program will feature performances by British pop group Saint Etienne, pop duo Summer Camp, rock band British Sea Power and Goldfrapp, who will perform a live soundtrack to Victor Sjöström’s 1924 silent film He Who Gets Slapped.

An interactive exhibition will be open every night and feature 15 interactive documentaries as well as various devices including the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset. Six interactive docs will compete for Sheffield’s Innovation Award, including National Geographic Channel’s Killing Kennedy, Kat Cizek’s New York Times Op-Doc A Short History of the Highrise and Brenda Longfellow, Glenn Richards and Helios Design Labs’ Offshore.

The festival also unveiled this year’s industry conference program, which features 82 sessions and speakers including Ondi Timoner, Grayson Perry, Jon Snow and John Pilger. Love Productions’ creative and managing director Richard McKerrow will discuss the controversy sparked by Benefits Street during this year’s Channel 4 interview and Jeanie Finlay will discuss her new project Orion: The Man Who Would Be King.

For the complete film program and list of conference sessions, visit the festival’s site.

Meanwhile, organizers have selected 64 projects for this year’s MeetMarket event, including new films from directors William Karel, Stanley Nelson, Franny Armstrong and Jessica Edwards.

Due to take place on June 9 and 10, the MeetMarket gives filmmakers a chance to meet with a pool of 290 potential investors, commissioners and production partners who are selected through a matchmaking process. The projects include feature docs, factual television and cross-media projects.

In addition to commissioners from UK television channels, commissioners from platforms such as Netflix, Dazed, VICE, Vimeo and Nowness and distributors Oscilloscope, Dogwoof, Film Buff, PBS, First Hand Films and Autlook will be on hand to take meetings.

Highlights include French filmmaker William Karel’s latest Annihilation; Jessica Edwards’ Mavis!, a doc about gospel singer Mavis Staples; McLibel director Franny Armstrong’s Undercovers; and director Stanley Nelson’s Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.

The complete list of 2014 MeetMarket projects is available via the festival website.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.