VIDEO: Stars shine at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013

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Forget Cannes, Toronto or even the Sundance Film Festival - focus is zooming in on Sheffield as it hosts premieres, talks, budding Oscar winning work and the biggest names in documentaries at Sheffield Doc/Fest, writes Graham Walker. 

What do Jarvis Cocker, Richard Hawley, Melvyn Bragg, Michael Palin, Sir Trevor McDonald and Captain Sensible have in common?

Michael Palin.

Michael Palin.

They are just some of the big names in Sheffield this week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Sheffield Doc/Fest - one of the world’s now leading documentary festivals, writes Graham Walker.

Around 120 films will be show - including two dozen world premiers - with 3,000 delegates and 20,000 members of the public calling in to have a look.

The main focus is at the Showroom Cinema, which is taken over by the five-day festival, running until Sunday.

But there are talks, workshops and more in other city venues, from the Town Hall to the Crucible - where Jarvis Cocker, Richard Hawley and others helped to launch this year’s festival with a world premiere performance of his soundtrack to The Big Melt, about the city’s steel industry, as Doc/Fest Film Programmer Hussain Currimbhoy explained.

Sheffield Doc Fest Film Programmer Hussain Currimbhoy

Sheffield Doc Fest Film Programmer Hussain Currimbhoy

VIDEO: Press the play button to watch Hussain’s full interview with The Star’s digital editor Graham Walker.

“What could be more Sheffield than Jarvis Cocker, in the Crucible, making music to a film about steel - made especially for us. It was a once in a lifetime event,’’ he said.

“Melvyn Bragg was also here to talk about his work in arts and television.

“We had the European premiere of Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer, about the feminist art collective and their trial, with a Skype video call from one of the girls in Russia. Plus a screening of Nick Ryan’s adventure film The Summit, in a cave -  the Peak District’s Devil’s Arse, in Castleton.”

Sir Trevor McDonald.

Sir Trevor McDonald.

But if you missed the opening, fear not - the big names keep coming, as Hussain explained some of the many remaining highlights:

* Sheffield’s own Monty Python star Michael Palin talking about his journey documentaries (Crucible Theatre, Thursday, June 13, 7pm).

* Captain Sensible will talk about Basically, Johnny Moped - a film about his first band, made by his son Fred Burns (Showroom , Thursday, 7.30pm).

* Alan Yentob, who was Controller of BBC One and BBC Two (Crucible Theatre, Friday, June 14, 2pm).

Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley of Pulp will perform The Big Melt to launch this year's Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley of Pulp will perform The Big Melt to launch this year's Sheffield Doc/Fest.

* Mark Kermode talking about his documentary, The Fear of God: 25 Years of The Exorcist (Library Theatre, Friday, 6pm).

* Walter Murch, legendary sound editor, talking about his work on Apocalypse Now (Showroom, Thursday, June 13, 8.45pm), Godfather III to The God Particle (Crucible, Saturday, June 15, 10.15am.)  and his new film, Particle Fever (Showroom, Friday, June 14, 3.15pm and Saturday, June 15, 12.30pm).

* Sir Trevor McDonald (Town Hall Reception Rooms, Thursday, June 13, 4.15pm).

* Who Do You Think You Are?: Behind the Scenes, celebrating 10-years, chaired by The Star’s digital editor Graham Walker in conversation with Eastenders and Gavin and Stacey star Larry Lamb, series executive producer Alex Graham and director Leo Burley (Crucible Theatre, Saturday, 12.30pm).

* Films tipped for awards include Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer; Valentine Road, dealing with the aftermath of a classroom shooting; The Act Of Killing, about acts of abhorrent atrocity and Blackfish, which looks at the dark side of marine theme parks.

For more information, including a full list of events, visit the official web site at www.sheffdocfest.com.

Pussy Riot members, from left, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alekhina sit in a glass cage at a court room  in Moscow, Russia.

Pussy Riot members, from left, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alekhina sit in a glass cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia.

Follow the festival’s official Twitter updates at @sheffdocfest using hashtag #sheffdocfest, for industry messages, or #docfest20, for general public tweets.

Jarvis Cocker will perform his soundtrack for The Big Melt to launch this year's Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Jarvis Cocker will perform his soundtrack for The Big Melt to launch this year's Sheffield Doc/Fest.