Docs

Sheffield Doc/Fest, Realscreen return “Behind the Curtain”

After the success of last year's 'Behind the Curtain' panel session, Sheffield Doc/Fest will once again host two senior festival programmers and a respected filmmaker for a frank discussion about how film festival programming really works.
May 21, 2014

After the success of last year’s ‘Behind the Curtain’ panel session, Sheffield Doc/Fest will once again host two senior festival programmers and a respected filmmaker for a frank discussion about how film festival programming really works.

Taking place on June 11 during the UK festival, ‘Behind the Curtain Part 2: The Secret World of Film Festival Programming‘ will feature Sundance Film Festival senior programmer David Courier (pictured above, left); Sheffield Doc/Fest director of programming Hussain Currihmbhoy (center); and filmmaker Jeanie Finlay (right); and will once again be moderated by realscreen associate editor Adam Benzine.

The session promises to reveal the insider secrets of how film festival programming really works, what the dos and don’ts of submitting to a festival are, and what filmmakers can do to make their submissions stand out from the crowd.

As a senior programmer for Sundance, Courier has a key role in picking U.S. and world cinema documentaries for one of the world’s most influential festivals, having helped bring docs such as Searching for Sugar Man, Restrepo and Blackfish to international audiences.

Currihmbhoy, meanwhile, oversees the film program for Sheffield, the UK’s most important and influential non-fiction festival, which this year hosts world premieres from filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese and Penny Woolcock.

Offering a filmmaker’s perspective will be Finlay, whose docs Sound It Out and The Great Hip Hop Hoax have played at festivals on both sides of the Atlantic, including SXSW, Hot Docs, Sheffield and Edinburgh.

The panel session will be a sequel to last year’s inaugural ‘Behind the Curtain‘ event, which featured Hot Docs director of programming Charlotte Cook, SXSW Film producer Janet Pierson, and filmmaker Kim Longinotto.

Among the insights at last year’s session were how many films programmers at North American doc festivals tend to actually watch per year, how much of each film they tend to typically get through, and whether or not it’s wise to follow up with programmers after submitting to a festival.

Longinotto, meanwhile, spoke of the financial reality of traversing the global film circuit as a filmmaker.

Sheffield Doc/Fest takes place this year from June 7-12.

  • The Behind the Curtain Part 2 session will take place at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield on June 11 at 2.30 p.m. GMT
  • Check out a video of last year’s session, courtesy of Sheffield Doc/Fest, below:

About The Author
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.

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