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Sheffield Doc/Fest unveils senior team hirings, including a head of film programs

Sheffield Doc/Fest has announced a number of new hires to its senior team, including a new top film programmer. Veteran festival programmer Raul Niño Zambrano (pictured left) will join Sheffield Doc/Fest as ...
January 6, 2022

Sheffield Doc/Fest has announced a number of new hires to its senior team, including a new top film programmer.

Veteran festival programmer Raul Niño Zambrano (pictured left) will join Sheffield Doc/Fest as its new head of film programs, while Emmy-winning immersive director Francesca Panetta (pictured second from left) is the new alternate realities curator and Sarah Mosses (pictured second from right) and John-Paul Pierrot (pictured right) of Together Films will lead on the 2022 festival’s marketing & audience strategy and campaign.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming such impressive industry leaders to the Sheffield Doc/Fest team and are excited by the powerful combination of ideas, experience and international perspectives they will bring to the development and delivery of the 2022 edition,” said Sheffield Doc/Fest’s interim CEO Clare Stewart in a news release.

“While the landscape for festivals remains in flux, together with the existing team, we will forge a bright future for Sheffield Doc/Fest and for the industry colleagues, audiences, partners and community who continue to be so invested in that future.”

Award-winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia was previously announced as guest curator for the 2022 festival. Niño Zambrano and Panetta complete the senior creative team, working on official selections in parallel to Kapadia’s personally curated selections.

Niño Zambrano will join Sheffield Doc/Fest at the end of January from IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), where he’s currently a senior programmer. At IDFA, he spearheaded a study on the position of women within the documentary world, ‘The Female Gaze,’ and also initiated IDFA Queer Day. Niño Zambrano will head up Sheffield Doc/Fest’s screening program, working on the selection process with the internal programming team, consultant programmers and advisers.

Said Niño Zambrano of the move: “Sheffield Doc/Fest plays such a vital role in the international documentary arena as well as for the British industry, and so it is a dream come true to lead on the programming and to connect filmmakers, film professionals and audiences with the latest trends within the documentary genre. I am also excited to make a contribution to UK cultural life at a time when its film and TV industries are really taking such positive steps to be more inclusive and accessible.”

Panetta’s recent interactive work, In the Event of a Moon Disaster, which was produced while she was a creative director in the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality, won a 2021 Emmy for interactive media documentary. She takes over as curator of alternate realities, Sheffield Doc/Fest’s showcase exhibition and program for immersive documentary and non-fiction forms including virtual, augmented and mixed reality. She will also take the lead on identifying and securing relevant speakers for associated talks and panels as well as participants in the alternate realities talent market.

Marketing, distribution, and technology company Together Films will take on the festival’s marketing and audiences remit with founder and CEO Sarah Mosses leading on strategy, local and venue marketing partnerships, and international engagement opportunities, and head of digital marketing & partnerships John-Paul Pierrot leading digital marketing management and team liaison. Together Films hosted the digital perspectives webinar series that helped more than 3,500 industry personnel pivot to virtual during the lockdown, and is an advisor to various festivals including DOC NYC and Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

The 29th edition of Sheffield Doc/Fest will take place June 23 to 28.

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