People/Biz

Sheffield Doc/Fest senior programmer Adam Cook resigns

Adam Cook has stepped down from his role as senior programmer at Sheffield Doc/Fest less than a month after joining the UK-based documentary conference and festival. Cook (pictured) resigned from his ...
December 20, 2019

Adam Cook has stepped down from his role as senior programmer at Sheffield Doc/Fest less than a month after joining the UK-based documentary conference and festival.

Cook (pictured) resigned from his post at the South Yorkshire-set festival on Thursday, Dec. 19, with immediate effect.

“Sheffield Doc/Fest informs that as of yesterday, Adam Cook, our senior programmer, handed in his resignation, with immediate effect, which we accepted,” said Sheffield Doc/Fest in a statement.

The statement added that the fest “will continue to stand for our fundamental values, and as a platform for reflection, discussion and collective engagement.”

No further comment regarding the resignation was offered by the festival. However, the move comes days after allegations of misconduct and abuse in relationships were levied against Cook via social media.

The former Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) programmer was unveiled in November as the latest member to join Sheffield Doc/Fest’s programming team, tasked with leading film programming for the event.

Cook was to replace Luke Moody, who departed the British documentary festival earlier this summer after nearly three years of service.

Most recently, Cook had served as the founding curator of VIFF’s Future//Present program, which focuses on Canadian indie cinema. He was also a programming associate for the Toronto International Film Festival and a programming consultant for Canadian fest Hot Docs.

Both the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival have issued tweets regarding, in the words of the TIFF tweet, “the social media conversation taking place within the filmmaking community about safe and ethical environments for filmmakers,” and referencing their own codes of conduct, while not specifically mentioning the allegations against Cook.

At presstime, Cook had not issued a statement or comment regarding the situation. But on Monday, Dec. 23, CTV News ran a statement online from Cook, which said: “I handed in my resignation to Sheffield Doc/Fest last Thursday, effective immediately. The board accepted my decision. This comes following some criticisms of past behaviour that have been discussed recently on social media. Amidst personal and legal concerns, I did not wish to become a distraction for the festival and offered my resignation with considerable regret.”

The artistic direction of the festival will now remain in the hands of newly appointed festival director Cíntia Gil.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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