Cinema: Documentary festival

Shirkers
Shirkers

Sheffield International Documentary Festival is upon us in mind bending, world shaking glory – celebrating the patterns and diversity of the people and the places that come together to form our planet.

From shorts to features, storytelling is at the forefront and the Film programme presents a plethora of bold and innovative non-fiction films made by some of the most authentic international filmmakers working today. From exciting, emerging talent to established names – the stories are topical, vital and urgent in radical stances and twists on the familiar in a bright orange kaleidoscope of experiences throwing colours and shapes across the city on screens inside and out.

It’s the festival’s 25th edition with a six-day line up comprising 200 films including a record number of 37 World Premieres, 18 International, 24 European and 70 UK Premieres and a huge Alternate Realities VR exhibition at Trafalgar Warehouse. There’s live performances from São Paulo popstar

Linn Da Quebrada, Sonic Youth alumni Thurston Moore, prizewinning beatboxer Reeps One, electronic artist Gaika and Singaporean live-looper Weish as well as a live recreation of Threads on Sheffield Streets. In ‘Celebrating Independent Women on Screen,’ the spotlight lands on numerous awe-inspiring women protagonists this year.

The programme offers audiences abundant opportunities to witness the world from the vantage point of humans whose lives expand notions of ‘femininity’ by virtue of the way they choose to live - in the realms of sport, politics, performance, activism, conflict, and just ordinary growing up.

Highlights at the Showroom include A Woman Captured – in which filmmaker Bernadette Tuza-Ritter encounters Eta, a Hungarian woman proud of keeping domestic slaves. Violent, abusive, and manipulative, Eta has stripped 53-year-old Marish of her belongings, her family and her identity.

As trust builds between Marish and the filmmaker, Marish begins to mentally prepare for a dangerous bid for freedom.

Also at the Showroom, there’s Shirkers: part ghost story, part time capsule, Sandi Tan’s deeply cathartic documentary weaves the tale of a young girl’s lost masterpiece, and the 25-year odyssey to reclaiming it for herself.

Sandi was that girl, and Shirkers was the title of her directorial debut – stolen from her by her enigmatic mentor, Georges Cardona.

If you’re not sure where to start, then why not join Lord Mayor Magid Magid on his free daily tours to guide you through Doc/Fest. These will happen throughout the Festival, starting at 10am and 2pm from the Box Office on Tudor Square.