“Diego Maradona,” “Mother” highlight Sheffield Doc/Fest ’19

Academy Award- and BAFTA-winning director Asif Kapadia‘s Diego Maradona and Kristof Bilsen’s Mother (pictured) are among the 180-plus films slated to screen at the 2019 edition of SheffieldDoc/Fest. As previously announced, Sheffield ...
May 9, 2019

Academy Award- and BAFTA-winning director Asif Kapadia‘s Diego Maradona and Kristof Bilsen’s Mother (pictured) are among the 180-plus films slated to screen at the 2019 edition of SheffieldDoc/Fest.

As previously announced, Sheffield Doc/Fest will open with Kapadia’s 120-minute feature film Diego Maradona, which documents the career of the celebrated Argentinian football star during his time at Italian Serie A club SSC Napoli through more than 500 hours of rare footage.

The UK-set festival is to celebrate its 26th year with a six-day line-up featuring more than 180 documentary features and shorts, including 33 World, 92 UK, 11 International, 10 European premieres from 47 countries.

Forty-two documentaries, 57% of which are directed by women, will compete across the festival’s official competition categories.

“This year’s Doc/Fest is a celebration of internationalism, creativity and discovery; looking at the world with new eyes and giving a platform to a multitude of voices and ideas,” said Says Melanie Iredale, interim director for Sheffield Doc/Fest, in a statement.

Films will compete in seven award categories, and include the Grand Jury, Art Doc, Illuminate, Tim Hetherington, Youth Jury, New Talent, and Short Doc awards. Sheffield Doc/Fest awards also include the Audience Award in memory of Dr. Clifford Shaw, recognizing the film that receives the highest audience vote during the festival.

The fest will also feature 28 interactive and immersive projects through its Alternate Realities digital art exhibitions. The titles will celebrate the art and business of documentary and non-fiction film.

Competition winners across the film and Alternate Realities program will be announced at the Sheffield Doc/Fest Awards Ceremony at Crucible Studio on June 11.

A new addition to this year’s film program is the Spotlight tract, which features screenings followed by extended conversations. Included within the Spotlight category are: acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei with The Rest; Werner Herzog with Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin; Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts with For Sama; Jeanie Finlay and Freddy McConnell with Seahorse; Nick Broomfield with Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love; Ursula Macfarlane plus panel with Untouchable; and Seamus Murphy with A Dog Called Money.

Doc/Fest previously revealed the lineups for the 15th edition of the fest’s flagship pitching forum, the MeetMarket, and the Alternate Realities Talent Market, now in its sixth year.

The MeetMarket and Alternate Realities Talent Market take place on June 10 and 11 at the Grade II listed Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield.

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019 will take place from June 6-11. For further information on all films screening and sessions taking place at the festival, click here.

Films screening in the Grand Jury and International competition categories are listed below, with descriptions provided by Sheffield Doc/Fest.


A Dog Called Money
Director: Seamus Murphy
92 minutes; Ireland, United Kingdom; UK Premiere

Award-winning photographer Seamus Murphy investigates the creative process behind British musician PJ Harvey’s album The Hope Six Demolition Project.

For Sama
Directors: Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
95 minutes; United Kingdom; UK Premiere

An intimate, visceral film about the female experience of war told as a message from a young Syrian mother Waad al-Kateab (co-directing with Edward Watts) to her daughter, documenting al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth.

Midnight Traveler
Director: Hassan Fazili
90 minutes; U.S., Qatar, United Kingdom, Canada; UK Premiere

Afghan filmmaker Hassan Fazili, his wife and two daughters capture on mobile phones the dramatic journey they embark on after Hassan receives a Taliban death sentence.

Mike Wallace Is Here
Director: Avi Belkin
88 minutes; U.S.; European Premiere

Avi Belkin offers an engaging look at the life and career of legendary CBS 60 Minutes newsman Mike Wallace, showing how he redefined broadcast journalism with his hard-hitting interview style.

Midnight Family
Director: Luke Lorentzen
81 minutes; Mexico, U.S.; UK Premiere

A father and his sons spend almost every night operating their private ambulance in Mexico City, having their priorities as first responders compromised due to financial pressures.


Director: Kristof Bilsen
80 minutes; Belgium; World Premiere

In a village in Thailand, Pomm works in a care center for Europeans with Alzheimer’s. While she is separated from her children, she helps Elisabeth during the final stages of her life, as Maya, a new patient, is on her way from Switzerland.

The Amazing Johnathan Documentary
Director: Ben Berman
91 minutes; U.S.; European Premiere

Filmmaker Ben Berman navigates the ‘smoke & mirrors’ world of the subversive magician John Edward Szeles AKA Amazing Johnathan, who in 2014 was given a year to live, but is still alive and kicking.

Directors: Victoria Alvares, Quentin Delaroche
75 minutes; Brazil; International Premiere

Brazilian truckers on strike during a country-wide blockade in 2018 hope military intervention will bring a solution. But when the army finally arrives to end the crisis, nothing goes quite as expected.

The Black Tree
Directors: Máximo Ciambella, Damián Coluccio
79 minutes; Argentina; International Premiere

The ancestral legends of the Argentine Qom community and their threatened present fuel the powerful, natural and austere images.

Director: Nikolaus Geyrhalter
115 minutes; Austria; UK Premiere

Austrian documentarian Nikolaus Geyrhalter (Homo Sapiens) observes people in mines, quarries and at large construction sites engaged in a constant struggle to take possession of the planet as several billion tons of earth are extracted annually.

Anthropocene: the Human Epoch
Directors: Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, Edward Burtynsky
87 minutes; Canada; UK premiere

Anthropocene: the Human Epoch traverses the globe showing the devastating impact of our lives on Earth as scientists argue we are in a new epoch, the Anthropocene.

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