You will all now be aware the extent to which COVID 19 is disrupting and changing the landscape of film festivals worldwide. From Sydney Film Festival to BFI Flare and Cannes. Festivals have had to explore new ways of reaching out to audiences. But smaller film festivals are particularly susceptible to the volatility currently hitting the film market. And in response to this the amazing folk at Sheffield Doc Fest are now exploring new ways of bringing their rich and important programme to audiences.
Sheffield Doc/Fest is a film festival and marketplace, celebrating, sharing and debating non–fiction arts as a collective form of engagement. It is a space for freedom and for exploration of the ways in which filmmakers, artists and the public may reinvent meaning and new possible worlds.
Doc/Fest is a creative space for discovery, collaboration and inspiration. The festival champions and pushes forward talent, ideas and interaction for the future of film and the arts. It’s an open, inclusive festival, bringing together veteran creatives, new voices and our city to shape and question the world we live in, creating a sense of community and the potential for change.
Statement from Sheffield Doc Fest
Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, we announce that this year’s edition will not take place in its original form.
Our pitching forums, the MeetMarket and Alternate Realities Talent Market, will both proceed in June via virtual means. As part of a series of weekends throughout the Autumn, we aim to present film screenings, talks, panels, artists’ events and community engagement activities. We will announce a full programme in due course.
Doc/Fest is an essential moment for the city of Sheffield, for the film industry and for all the international guests who join us, and its collective character is at the heart of the festival’s purpose. We strongly believe that people coming together to watch, to talk and to imagine the world through art is a transformative experience that produces change.
Therefore, we will organize a series of programmes that will help us honour our mission as a charity, to serve our community as a space for collective experiences, to inspire and question the film industry in the UK and internationally, and to engage in an urgent worldwide conversation about ways of creating, and engaging with, cinema and art in extremely challenging times.
Access to activity will be amplified as much as possible, through our digital platforms, always respecting each film’s nature and context. We will not hold any competitions, but we will present important, critical and unique works of cinema and art.
Those who have already bought passes will be contacted, and offered different options including, of course, a full refund. We are aware of the difficult circumstances for so many colleagues and freelance members of the film industry, and we will do our best to be in touch as quickly as possible.
We also want to reassure filmmakers and artists that all submitted films and arts projects will be carefully watched and considered for our programmes, as part of our on-going duty.
Finally, we would like to thank our key funders, sponsors and partners for their support and forward-thinking, and all the filmmakers and film industry members already engaged with the festival for their commitment and generosity. We hope we can come together soon.