Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014: Picks of the programme

The annual Sheffield Doc/Fest, which takes place from 7-12 June, recently unveiled its full programme for this year’s international documentary showcase. The festival’s biggest coup is unquestionably the world premiere of Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi’s A 50 Year Argument, which charts how the prestigious New York Review of Books has reflected US culture since its launch in 1963. As previously announced, Florian Habicht’s Pulp: A Film About Life Death and Supermarkets will open Doc/Fest on 7 June, with Paul Kelly’s How We Used To Live, which cuts together footage of London from the 1950s-80s, closing the six-day event. In total the festival will include twenty-one world premieres, twelve European premieres, eight international premieres and twenty-four UK premieres.

Last year, prolific documentarian Alex Gibney’s The Armstrong Lie (2013) delved into one of the cycling world’s most infamous scandals. Clearly feeling that there was more of the story to tell, Alex Holmes’ Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story is just one of many highlights littered throughout the Doc/Fest lineup. As has become de rigueur, documentary specialists Dogwoof return with a strong slate that includes Doug Block’s 112 Weddings, LGBT marriage rights tearjerker The Case Against 8, the aforementioned Gibney’s Fela Kuti tribute Finding Fela and Chinese internet addict deprogramming exposé Web Junkie. Also recently acquired by the distributor is the quite superb Concerning Violence, a study on postcolonialism from Swede Göran Olsson (The Black Power Mixtape).

Anthony Baxter’s You’ve Been Trumped (2011) was an impassioned attack upon American property developer Donald Trump’s incursion into Scotland, so we’re certainly looking forward to the UK premiere of his follow-up, A Dangerous Game. The same goes for Mark Craig’s The Last Man on the Moon, which tells the story of former astronaut Captain Eugene Cernan (who will also be in attendance), a pivotal part of space exploration history. Other titles already picked up for distribution is New Wave’s Rome Film Festival favourite School of Babel, which follows an ‘adaptation class’ in a Parisian secondary school under the supervision of their teacher, Brigitte Cervoni, and Talal Derki’s Syrian civil war doc Return to Homs, which will be released in UK cinemas from 27 June courtesy of Journeyman Pictures.

Emphasising the festival’s expansion, Heather Croall, Sheffield Doc/Fest director, said: “Sheffield Doc/Fest is 21 this year and the festival is looking bigger and better than ever. This year we are very excited to be using new city centre venues with outdoor screens in Peace Gardens and the Amphitheatre and the Interactive Exhibition at the Millennium gallery, plus we’re heading back to the Devil’s Arse every night for film screenings and for the first time to Chatsworth. The sessions, the market, the films, the interactive and the social programme are full to the brim and the diverse programme hopefully offers something inspiring or useful to all people.

Sheffield Doc/Fest takes place from 7-12 June 2014. For more of our Sheffield Doc/Fest coverage, follow this link.

Daniel Green

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