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Sheffield Doc/Fest Announce Their Opening and Closing Films

Chris Olson

Chris Olson

Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 11:54:14 AM UTC

Sheffield Doc/Fest Announce Their Opening and Closing Films


The festival will open with the European premiere of Summer of Soul (...Or When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, a Searchlight Pictures release.  It is a film that will inspire the next 10 days of programme through its testimony of a unique moment in history, the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, and the transformative power of culture and music.

The closing film will be the world premiere of The Story of Looking, the latest film by Mark Cousins. In a time when our common experiences are shaped by long confinements and a constant assault from images, this film proposes that we look again into the world’s complexities, contradictions and beauty. Mark Cousins will also be in conversation, live-streamed from Sheffield, about his personal relation to film and images.

In a first for Sheffield Doc/Fest, both Summer of Soul on 4 June and The Story of Looking on 12 June will also premiere? simultaneously in cinemas around the UK.  Participating cinemas so far include; Arts Picturehouse in Cambridge, BFI Southbank in London, Broadway in Nottingham, Chapter in Cardiff, City Varieties Music Hall (in partnership with Hyde Park Picturehouse) in Leeds, Duke of Yorks Picturehouse in Brighton, Eden Court Highlands in Inverness, FACT in Liverpool, Filmhouse in Edinburgh, Glasgow Film Theatre, HOME in Manchester, National Media Museum in Bradford, Phoenix in Exeter, Quad in Derby and Watershed in Bristol. (Physical screenings are subject to government guidelines)

Mark Cousins commented, “We're honoured to premiere our film on the closing night of Sheffield's acclaimed Doc/Fest.  We hope it will send audiences and delegates back out into the world with hearts aglow and fresh eyes!”

Cíntia Gil added, “We wanted to open and close with films that spoke to our programme and to what Sheffield Doc/Fest stands for, and to inspire our audiences after a very difficult time. These films have helped us imagine our programme along the winter lockdown months, and will hopefully add to the joy of coming together again to share life and film before the Summer blooms.”

Also announced today are four films from the Into the World strand.

Sheffield Doc/Fest will have the honour of welcoming the UK premiere of The Return: Life After Isis, by Alba Sotorra, a unique portrait of a group of Western women whose teenage years were spent supporting ISIS, but who now want to return to their countries and transform their lives. Among them are Shamima Begum and Hoda Muthana.

Into the World will also screen the UK Premiere of MINAMATA Mandala, by the Japanese master Kazuo Hara. An epic, 15-year journey and three-part film, where Hara treats each individual and the local community with tremendous empathy, and raises necessary global questions about public health, corporate accountability, and the environment.

Carlos Ghosn - the former CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance charged with various financial crimes - has become the protagonist of one of the most dramatic and mysterious plots in the history of international corporations. His rise and fall is portrayed by Nick Green in Carlos Ghosn The Last Flight, a portrait of a fascinating character, shedding light on this complex and multilayered story whilst also divulging new details on his spectacular escape to Lebanon.  Sheffield DocFest audiences will be the first to see the World Premiere screening in June.

Alvorada Palace, by Anna Muylaert and Lô Politi, is a European Premiere.  It is set in Brazil’s Presidential Palace, follows Dilma Rousseff and her closest members of staff over the days that lead up to the impeachment trial that resulted in her downfall, in a poignant reflection on the nature of leadership and power.

Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Into the World strand showcases essential films with urgent themes that take varied approaches to exploring our past, present, and collective future. Established filmmakers and young, emerging talents are showcased side by side in this strand to tell us vital stories from across the globe: Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Poland, Russia, Spain, the UK, and the USA. Thanks to their films, we are not only able to travel, but to learn and think deeply about the world we are living in.

The festival runs from 4 - 13 June 2021, in cinemas in Sheffield and online.

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