The 2018 Sheffield Doc/Fest film program lineup presents bold and innovative non-fiction films made by some of the most authentic international filmmakers working today. 2018 audiences will be treated to 37 World, 18 International, 24 European and 70 UK film premieres.
The works are selected across the main program Doc/Adventure, Doc/Expose, Doc/Think, Doc/Love, Doc/Rhythm, Doc/Visions, and focus Retro/Electric Avenues, New/UK, New/Lebanon program strands and accompanying Special Live events. Doc/Fest 2018 film program includes one special Preview screening, a late-night offering as Docs ‘Til Dawn and a selection of outdoor screenings Free Screen.
The festival opens on Thursday 7 June with the world premiere of Sean McAllister’s A Northern Soul.
A Northern Soul (World premiere; UK, 2018, 80 min, dir. Sean McAllister) – Following A Syrian Love Story’s Doc/Fest Grand Jury Award win in 2015, Sean McAllister returns to Sheffield to open the Festival’s 25th Edition with the World Premiere of A Northern Soul. With his signature vision and sense of rapport, Sean reflects on changes to his Yorkshire hometown: a city divided by Brexit that is simultaneously celebrated as UK City of Culture and hit by austerity. Drawn to the fringes of town, Sean encounters Steve, a struggling warehouse worker by day and hip-hop performer by night, with a dream…
McQueen (UK/USA, 2017, 111 min, dir. Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui) – Archival footage and personal testimonials present an intimate portrait of revolutionary British fashion designer ‘Lee’ Alexander McQueen, the working-class boy who became a global one-man fashion brand.THE FULL FILM program LINE-UP – BY STRAND:
Before Father Gets Back (World premiere; dir. Mari Gulbiani, 80 min) – In a Georgian village, from which many men have left for Syria, two girls escape a shared longing for their fathers through the magic of cinema.
Bruce Lee & the Outlaw (World premiere; dir. Joost Vandebrug, 85 min) – Nicu, a young homeless boy, is adopted by Bruce Lee, the notorious “King of the Underworld” and goes to live with him in the tunnels underneath Bucharest.
Central Bus Station (World premiere; dir. Tomáš Elšík, 78 min) – Central Bus Station, a building which has turned from great gift to a place for immigrants. Yonathan has learnt that it can reveal the essence of the society as well as one’s soul.
Ghosthunter films in competition
Into The Okavango films in competition
Love Means Zero (UK premiere; dir. Jason Kohn, 89 min) – At eighty-six, famed tennis coach Nick Bollettieri is a living legend. At his academy in Florida, he raised a generation of champions.
Too Beautiful: Our Right to Fight (World premiere, dir. Maceo Frost, 77 min) – Cuba ranks highly at Olympic boxing, but women can’t compete. This immersive film follows Havana boxer Namibia, who’s hoping the ban is lifted before she ages out of eligibility.
Over the Limit
Phantom Cowboys (International premiere; dir. Daniel Patrick Carbone, 93 min) – Three boys in small town America find their hopes and dreams tempered by their circumstances. Moving back and forth over eight years, this is a moving, skilful exploration of adolescence.
Tanzania Transit (European premiere; dir. Jeroen van Velzen, 75 min) – On a train crossing Tanzania, a riding microcosm of East African society, we follow three main characters, reflecting on the strength to survive.
The Insufferable Groo (World premiere, 98 min, dir. Scott Christopherson) – Having directed nearly 200 low-budget movies, Utah filmmaker Stephen Groo seeks Jack Black for his latest human/elf fantasy drama. This hilarious yet sincere portrait depicts an uphill production battle.
The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid (UK premiere; dir. Feargal Ward, 77 min) – Thomas Reid lives a solitary life. But beside his 17th century farm looms a vast American factory. When the Irish State tries to take his farm, he vows to resist.
The Man Who Stole Banksy (European premiere; 91 min, dir. Marco Proserpio) – A Palestinian taxi driver attempts to sell a Banksy mural on eBay. As we follow the artwork, we uncover a secret art market of stolen walls from around the world.
Three Identical Strangers (European premiere; 96 min, dir. Tim Wardle) – In 1980, three New York identical triplets, separated at birth, discovered each other. But behind the remarkable story lurked a dark secret that questioned the notion of who we are.
Vienna Calling (World premiere; dir. Petr Šprincl, 67 min) – In this docufiction road movie, a grave robbing artist and his sidekicks journey to Vienna in a horse drawn caravan of death to return some famous teeth.
Zion – see Short Doc Award
From Parts Unknown
Hands Up, Chin Down
To Be a Torero
Taking the Waters
The Water Slide
A Thousand Girls Like Me (European premiere; dir. Sahra Mosawi, 76 min) – A young Afghan woman confronts the will of her family and the traditions of her country to seek justice for years of sexual abuse from her father.
A Woman Captured
I, Dolours (European premiere; dir. Maurice Sweeney, 82 min) – Dolours Price, bred to violent republicanism, yet ultimately haunted by her actions, gave a filmed interview not to be broadcast until after her death. This is her shocking story.
Laila At The Bridge
Of Fathers and Sons
On Her Shoulders
One or Two Questions (UK premiere; dir. Kristina Konrad, 237 min) – In 1986, Uruguay passed a law granting amnesty for human rights violations committed by the military and police during the dictatorship (1973-85). One or Two Questions uses footage of interviews recorded on the streets between 1987 and 1989, to present a multifaceted reflection of the country and its inhabitants, in which the values of democracy – such as peace, justice – are continually questioned.
The Ballymurphy Precedent (World premiere; dir. Callum Macrae, 106 min) – The little known story about the death of eleven innocent people at the hands of the British Army in a Catholic estate in Belfast in 1971. This is a massacre that few have heard of, yet it was one of the most significant events in the Troubles. The British army continues to cover it up because they cannot afford to admit the truth. The relatives of those who died are fighting for justice – and our investigation shows why. This secret massacre led directly to the Bloody Sunday killings by the same Parachute regiment just five months later.
The Congo Tribunal (UK premiere; dir. Milo Rau, 100 min) – Staged as a tribunal on-location in Bukavu and Berlin, director Milo Rau creates an unshrouded portrait of one of the biggest and bloodiest economic wars in human history.
The Distant Barking of Dogs
The Silence of Others
The Trade (European premiere; dir. Matthew Heineman, 125 min) – Addicts and their families struggle in Atlanta, drug lords and poppy-seed farmers toil in Mexico, and narcotics units and dealers clash in Columbus.
Under The Wire (World premiere; dir. Chris Martin, 93 min) – A powerful film that tells the story of celebrated Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin and photographer Paul Conroy’s ill-fated trip to Syria in February 2012. Based on Conroy’s book of the same title.
When the War Comes (UK premiere; dir. Jan Gebert, 76 min) – A paramilitary group in Slovakia is recruiting hundreds of young men, aiming to create a model community based on military drill, obedience and fear.
Whispering Truth to Power (European premiere; dir. Shameela Seedat, 87 min) – With exclusive, behind-the-scenes access, this film charts the final year in office of South African anti-corruption champion Thuli Madonsela as she attempts to seek justice for ordinary people. After successfully challenging President Jacob Zuma for illegal use of state funds, she faces the biggest challenge of her career: exposing the systematic takeover of government by a private family in cahoots with the President.
Black Sheep – see Short Doc award
Fake News Fairytale
The Holiday Inn-Side
Watching the Detectives
Doc/Dispatch – showcase for short documentary journalism from citizen reporters, investigative filmmakers and responsive news units; projects TBA
Ashore (UK premiere; dir. Leonor Teles, 82 min) – Ashore portrays the life of a singular fisherman in an ancient riverfront community near Lisbon as he drifts between ocean solitude and family anchors.
For The Birds
Game Girls (UK premiere; dir. Alina Skrzeszewska, 90 min) -This compassionate observational documentary charts the relationship between two homeless women in Los Angeles’ sprawling Skid Row. Tiahna seems resigned to street life, but girlfriend Teri wants to escape.
Have You Seen The Listers? (UK premiere; dir. Eddie Martin, 86 min) – From the director of All This Mayhem, a candid and personal family portrait as young father Anthony Lister embarks on the rocky road to become the world’s greatest street artist.
Home Games (World premiere; dir. Alisa Kovalenko, 86 min) – A season in the life of Alina, a poor 20-year-old girl from Kyiv who has a chance to be saved by football.
A Northern Soul (World premiere) – see OPENING NIGHT
Minding the Gap
Out (UK premiere; dir. Denis Parrot, 70 min) – The first documentary to address LGBTQ+ coming out stories exclusively through social media footage.
People’s Republic of Desire (European premiere; dir. Hao Wu, 95 min) – In China’s popular live streaming showrooms, two internet celebrities seek fame, fortune and human connection, ultimately finding the same promises and perils online as in their real lives.
The Eyes of Orson Welles (UK premiere; dir. Mark Cousins, 110 min) – Filmmaker Mark Cousins dives deep into the visual world of this legendary director and actor, to reveal a portrait of the artist as he’s never been seen before.
Turning 18 (World premiere; dir. Ho Chao-ti, 87 min) – Two young girls meet at a vocational training program after which their lives move in completely different directions. Both from broken homes, Pei searches for hope in love, while Chen struggles to avoid her parents’ fate. As they approach 18, the undercurrents of their lives surface, nearly overwhelming them. How can an unloved life find a strength of her own?
Black I Am
Confessions of an Angry Mother
Last Man Standing
Lovers of the Night
Mountain – see Short Doc award
Cocorico Monsieur Poulet
City of Contrasts
Horse of Mud + Sad Song of Touha + The Sandwich
In Order Not To Be Here
Liberty City Crawl (Superman II)
Many Thousands Gone
Moor Mother Live in London
My White Baby
Secrets From the Street: No Disclosure
Strolling – also see Free Screen on page xx
Antigone (UK premiere; dir. Pedro González Rubio, 73 min) – In the biggest public university in Latin America a group of theatre students and their teacher prepare Antigone, a Greek tragedy that addresses the conflict between the rules of power and the will of a young woman to do the right thing. Life, theatre and fiction are interwoven following the rehearsals in classrooms, in their homes, in public spaces and surrealist landscapes of the city.
Ashes and Embers (UK premiere; dir. Manon Ott, 71 min) – A poetic and political portrait of a working-class suburb in the process of change, “Ashes and Embers” invite us to meet its inhabitants: a journey from dusk to dawn where, while speaking of their lives, they also express their revolt and their quest for freedom.
Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes (European premiere; dir. Sophie Huber, 85 min) – The film explores the vision behind the iconic American jazz record label. Through current recording sessions, rare archive and conversations with iconic Blue Note artists, the film reveals an intimate perspective of a legacy that continues to be vital in today’s political climate. Legendary artists Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter come together with today’s generation of ground-breaking Blue Note artists such as Robert Glasper and Ambrose Akinmusire to record an All-Stars album.
Desolation Center (UK premiere; dir. Stuart Swezey, 92 min) – followed by live performance from Thurston Moore – The film vividly portrays the untold story of a series of guerrilla desert gatherings now recognised as the inspiration for Burning Man and Coachella, with performances by Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Swans, and more.
Generation Wealth (dir. Lauren Greenfield, 108 min) – Lauren Greenfield’s postcard from the edge of the American Empire captures a portrait of a materialistic, image-obsessed culture. Simultaneously personal journey and historical essay, the film bears witness to the global boom-bust economy, the corrupted American Dream, and the human costs of late stage capitalism, narcissism, and greed
Harmony (UK premiere; dir. Frederick Paxton, 71 min) – Bold city symphony reveals the terrible beauty in Siberia’s polluted Chelyabinsk. A mesmerizing mix of sound and image highlight the often punishing rituals inflicted on young Russian boys and girls.
Milford Graves Full Mantis (UK premiere; dir. Jake Meginsky, Neil Young (Co-Director), 91 min) – Celebrating the creativity of legendary American percussionist Milford Graves, this film is itself a kaleidoscope ode to the creative process, and a unique homage to the free jazz pioneer.
Parallel Planes (International premiere; dir. Nicole Wegner, 100 min) – This film pays homage to the American DIY spirit and the diversity of the US musical landscape outside the commercial music industry. Nicole Wegner maintains eye level with her twelve subjects, including Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi), Michael Gira (Swans) and Valentine Falcon (Get Hustle), who gleefully hack the music industry and play by their own rules.
Punk Voyage (dir. JP Passi, Jukka Kärkkäinen, 97 min) – PKN, a band of four mentally disabled men, is Europe’s no 1 punk-rock act. When the band’s leader decides to retire, Punk Voyage shows all the quarrels, tears and laughter.
Shakedown (UK premiere; dir. Leilah Weinraub, 72 min) – “If you straight, you don’t need to be in the front.” Former drag show host Teresa and Ronnie-Ron co-founded Shakedown in the 90s, establishing a thriving underground scene. Dancers including Egypt, Miss Mahogany, I-Dallas and Slow-Wine entertain the throng. This strip club was a space for LA’s African-American queer community to explore identity, sexuality and have an incredible time.
Silvana (UK premiere; dir. Mika Gustafson, Olivia Kastebring, Christina Tsiobanelis, 91 min) – Silvana Imam is a fierce force of nature. We witness the Swedish rap artist’s career soar, and the genesis of her relationship with pop artist, Beatrice Eli. The pair become Sweden’s Beyoncé and Jay-Z; a power-couple of phenomenal talent and influence. As the pressures of her iconic status begin to spiral, Silvana is forced to confront her inner conflicts.
This One’s For The Ladies (International premiere; dir. Gene Graham, 83 min) – Race, class and sexuality intersect at Newark strip club the Dojo: a karate school by day, home to the New Jersey Nasty Boyz by night. In addition to spotlighting the exotic dancers who work there – both male and lesbian – Gene Graham’s affectionate portrait celebrates the community of women who sustain this microcosm of black American society.
Yellow Is Forbidden (European premiere; dir. Pietra Brettkelly, 94 min) – Haute couture is the most exclusive club in the world: Mostly men. Exclusively European. Largely conglomerate-funded. Yet, Guo Pei, an independent Chinese designer has been invited to present a collection.
Arr. for a Scene
To The Front: Scenes From a Women’s Rock Camp
Weltschmerz – see Short Doc award
A Journey to the Fumigated Towns
Boys Who Like Girls (World premiere; dir. Inka Achte, 68 min) – Two years have passed since the infamous Delhi gang rape, and India is ablaze with talk of men’s role in gendered violence. Teenager Ved joins a boys’ club run by ‘Men Against Violence and Abuse’ and realises there may be a healthier path for him than the one paved by his abusive father. Will his be the first generation of boys that actually likes girls?
Central Airport THF
Flow (World premiere; dir. Nicolás Molina, 82 min) – FLOW observes the human connection between two rivers: Ganges in India and Biobío in Chile. It proposes a poetic journey blending both civilizations through the flow of one great river.
German Class (World premiere; dir. Florian Heinzen-Ziob, 89 min) – Over the course of six months the film closely follows the daily ups and downs of a group of children from abroad as they take their first steps in the German school system.
Infinite Football (World premiere; dir. Corneliu Porumboiu, 70 min) – Romanian filmmaker Porumboiu focuses on Laurentiu Ginghina, a bureaucrat who dreams of revolutionizing football. Yet when the director makes Ginghina’s alternative game reality, the bureaucrat can’t stop reworking his theories.
Esta Todo Bien (World premiere; dir. Tuki Jencquel, 70 min) -“That’s the drama. You can’t get sick.” These sadly apt words are spoken by Francisco, an activist who delivers badly needed medicines in Venezuela where salaries peak at twelve dollars a month and 16,000 doctors have left the country.
Our New President
Radio Atlas: A Lunkhead Among The Stars (dir. Gyrid Listuen, 47 min) – Radio Atlas presents Gyrid Listuen’s Prix Europa-winning radio documentary from the nineties — exploring the internal world of a young man with Down’s Syndrome.
The Cleaners (UK premiere; dir. Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck, 88 min) – Digital scavengers’ are outsourced to delete inappropriate content from the net, while at the same time the lives of people around the globe are dramatically affected by online censorship. A ‘cleaner’ rates thousands of disturbing images every day, with lasting psychological impact. From the shared global village to fake news and radicalization, the film charts the rise and fall of social media’s utopian ideology.
The Gospel of Eureka
The Pain of Others
The Trial (UK premiere; dir. Maria Ramos, 139 min) – The Trial offers a behind-the-scenes look at the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female President. The film portrays the “judicial political” trial first at the House of Representatives and then, at the Senate focusing on the President’s Defence Team: her lawyer José Eduardo Cardoso and two senators who struggle to prove the President’s innocence against a majority vote by a Congress riddled with corruption.
The Waldheim Waltz
What Is Democracy?
When Lambs Become Lions
90 Seconds in North Korea
I Am Bisha
I Signed The Petition
The River of the Kukamas
Arboretum Cycle (UK premiere; dir. Nathaniel Dorsky, 137 min) – A magical collection of seven 16mm films by Nathaniel Dorsky, explores the beauty of Californian nature in Spring light. Each silent film celebrates qualities of energy, joy, fullness, and rebirth.
Female Human Animal (European premiere; dir. Josh Appignanesi, 74 min) – Shot in the real-life contemporary art world, Female Human Animal is a psycho-thriller about a creative woman disenchanted with what modern life and “modern men” have to offer her. When writer Chloe Aridjis curates an inspiring retrospective of the surrealist Leonora Carrington, an elusive, brooding man appears, seeming to offer more. A darkly romantic docufiction that puts on screen the lurid unconscious of our new sexual politics.
Going South (UK premiere; dir. Dominic Gagnon, 104 min) – Going South is the second part of a tetralogy in which Dominic Gagnon intends to explore the cardinal points of the Internet in the post-truth era.
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
La Commune (Paris, 1871)
Last Year in Utopia (UK premiere; dir. Jana Magdalena Keuchel, Katharina Knust, 72 min) – In this revealing and playful Brechtian recreation of events, six cast members from a cancelled German reality television program make an emotional return to their show’s isolated forest location.
Margaret Tait: A Century (64 min, dir. Margaret Tait) – Marking both the centenary of the 1918 suffrage act and her birthday, pioneering British filmmaker Margaret Tait is the center of Margaret Tait: A Century -a mini retrospective collection of her titles: Colour Poems, A Portrait of Ga, Tailpiece, Aerial, Where I am is Here.
Music When The Lights Go Out
Sleep Has Her House (UK premiere; dir. Scott Barley, 90 min) – A hypnotic reverie in a dark forest, underneath waterfalls and shifting shapes in the night. Captured on an iPhone, this is a symphonic and haunting science fiction of nature.
Victory Day (UK premiere; dir. Sergei Loznitsa, 94 min) – Once a year, crowds gather in Berlin’s Treptower Park to mark the anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. Master of sustained observation, Sergei Loznitsa, captures the medal bedecked veterans and burly biker gangs assembling for this spring day of patriotic songs and speeches. Loznitsa’s carefully framed compositions become a meditation on the nationalistic myths still gripping Europe.
Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin (World premiere; dir. Arwen Curry, 65 min) – A trailblazing rebel who shook the world of literature, defying gender norms, societal expectations and patriarchal gatekeeping. Ursula K Guin remains a peerless lightning bolt of imagination and political insight.
A God’s Shadow
Cops Are Actors
Here There Is No Earth
Rebirth is Necessary – see Short Doc award
Song for Europe
With history in a room filled with people with funny names 4