From Northern Soul to Brazilian trans hip-hop

Namibia from Too Beautiful, Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018
Namibia from Too Beautiful, Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018

The world premiere of Sean McAllister’s A Northern Soul, will open the 25th edition of Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018 at City Hall tonight (Thursday, June 7).

The six-day festival features 200 documentary features and shorts, 27 interactive and immersive projects and a live recreation of Threads along with audience participation, talks and industry sessions, plus music performances.

The Insufferable Stephen Groo, Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018

The Insufferable Stephen Groo, Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018

Venues include the Showroom, Curzon and Light cinemas for films, along with free open air screenings on Howard Street, Trafalgar Warehouse for the Alternate Realities Exhibition and the Crucible, Town Hall and Cutler’s Hall for talks and seminars.

“This year we are focusing on local engagement starting on the Thursday when we are encouraging local audiences to become involved with special Q&As and we’ve asked local organisations to host ones of particular interest to them,” says Director of Film Programming Luke Moody

“There will be a week of events at the Abbeydale Picture House specialising in music documentaries some with a local element.”

On Friday Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth will perform after a screening of Desolation Center about a series of guerrilla desert gatherings in the US and later beatboxer Reeps will present the premiere of his live show, We Speak Music.

This year we are focusing on engagement with local audiences

On Saturday Tranny Fag about black transgender São Paulo hip-hop artist MC Linn da Quebrada will be followed by live performance by the Brazilian star and friends.

“We are doing more in Tudor Square with screenings at night in the dome with tickets just £5,” continues Moody. “We’re also taking over the Kino Bambino slot of weekly screenings for parents with babies under one (Flow, Monday) and Early Doors for the over 55s (Love Means Zero, today).”


1A Northern Soul, Back in his hometown of Hull as creative director of the opening ceremony of the 2017 City of Culture celebrations Sean McAllister reflects on the changes to a city hit by cuts in public spending and divided by Brexit. Drawn to the fringes of town he met and started filming with Steve Arnott, a struggling warehouse worker by day and hip-hop performer by night.

Luke Moody,  Director of Film Programming, Sheffield Doc/Fest

Luke Moody, Director of Film Programming, Sheffield Doc/Fest

1Arboretum Cycle. They’ve had to find a special 16mm projector to show this collection of seven short films by experimental US film-maker Nathaniel Dorsky capturing the beauty of Californian nature in spring light.

1Too Beautiful, Maceo Frost’s atmospheric and immersive film follows the fortunes of 39-year-old female boxer Namibia as she trains alongside male athletes hoping for the Cuban government to lift its ban on females in the fight game.

1The Insufferable Groo, hilarious but affectionate portrait of prolific Utah low-budget film-maker Stephen Groo as he seeks production funds and the involvement of celebrity fan Jack Black for a remake of his 2004 human/elf fantasy drama, The Unexpected Race.

1The Silence of Others reveals the epic struggle of victims of Spain’s 40-year dictatorship under General Franco, who continue to seek justice to this day. Filmed over six years, the film follows victims and survivors as they fight a state-imposed amnesia of crimes against humanity.

Infinite Football, Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu trains his cameras on his friend, Laurentiu Ginghina, civil servant and part-time philosopher who since being injured in his youth believes football must be streamlined by rounding off corners and assigning players to zones and subteams.