J am-packed Doc/Fest

Painting the city orange once again and taking over the Showroom Cinema’s screens from June 6-11 is the fantastic Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Monday, 3rd June 2019, 2:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 3:50 pm
XY Chelsea.

This year promises to be another thought-provoking and jam-packed 6 days featuring some of the most exciting and innovative non-fiction work being made in the world today.

With over 180 films, a whole host of special guests and a program of exciting live events and VR content, there’s almost too much to choose from.

Fortunately, I’ve been lucky enough to see some of this year’s programme at other festivals so let me be your informal guide to some of the highlights…

The tagline for this year’s festival, Ways of Seeing, is inspired by John Berger’s TV series and book of the same name.

It’s an apt choice for a programme that offers multiple perspectives and voices on our fractured, fragmented and divisive times.

Two unmissable and deeply personal stories about the human impact of conflict that I caught in Berlin and Cannes this year are Midnight Traveler and For Sama.

In Midnight Traveler, after receiving a death threat from the Taliban, Afghan filmmaker Hassan Fazili embarks on a journey to get his family to safety in Western Europe.

It’s an intimate portrait of their long and arduous journey shot entirely on mobile phones.

The film shows us the extraordinary hardships suffered by the family in their attempt to find safety, as well as their resilience, warmth and humour.

It’s a timely and urgent film that’s bursting with humanity and compassion.

Likewise, For Sama is another compelling portrait of extreme resilience in the face of impossible circumstances.

Constructed from the personal video diaries of Syrian journalist Waad al-Kateab, the film documents the Syrian uprising and her attempts to continue to live a normal life - and start a family - during the siege of Aleppo.

The filmmaker will be in conversation with Channel 4 News’ Jon Snow on Saturday the 8 th of June at 6pm.

This year’s festival also features profiles of some of the most divisive and influential political figures of our time.

In XY Chelsea we follow whistle-blower Chelsea Manning from her release in 2017.

The film documents her complicated adjustment to an unexpected freedom, and her public obligations.

Finally, The Brink follows President Trump’s controversial former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon through the 2018 mid-term elections in the US.

The film also sheds light on his efforts to mobilise and unify far-right parties to win seats in the May 2019 European Parliament elections.