Sheffield Doc Fest: Focus and retrospective themes announced

As we move ever closer towards the full programme unveiling at this years Sheffield Doc Fest. The team have today announced their focus and retrospective themes for 2020. Once again celebrating the diversity Sheffield Doc Fest has become renowned for providing. With this years focus and retrospective themes including;

A Tribute to Sarah Maldoror

Following her recent passing from COVID 19 at the age of 90, Doc/Fest pays tribute to the late, great filmmaker Sarah Maldoror. Born of French West Indies descent, she studied at the prestigious Moscow cinema school VGIK. Later joining the pioneers of the African liberation movements in Guinea, Algeria and Guinea-Bissau. Alongside her partner Mario de Andrade, an Angolan poet and politician. Who also founded the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).

Sarah Maldoror was always on the front line of the anti-colonial struggles and her reputation as a militant filmmaker and black woman is an example and an inspiration for the current urgent struggles all across the globe.

Starting out as an assistant on The Battle of Algiers, Maldoror became one of the first women to direct a feature film in Africa. She directed more than forty films, mainly documentaries. The political and poetical dimension is outstanding in her work, among them, a number of portraits of artists.

“For many African filmmakers, cinema is a tool of revolution, a political education to transform consciences. It was part of the emergence of a Third World cinema seeking to decolonise thought to encourage radical changes in society”

Sarah Maldoror

Doc/Fest will present her first short, Monangambée (1969), which shows the cruelty of the colonizing Portuguese authorities in Angola. The film takes its title from the shout of Angolan resistance, meaning “white death”. The Sarah Maldoror screening will include others titles yet to be confirmed as part of Doc/Fest’s ‘Into the World’ strand.

A Focus on Lynne Sachs

Drawing on her vast body of works from the past 30 years, Doc/Fest will present a curated selection of films by Lynne Sachs. Focusing on the notion of translation as a practice of encountering others and reshaping and reinterpreting filmic language. This focus will be part of the online ‘Ghosts & Apparitions’ film strand.

Five Lynne Sachs films ranging from 1994 – 2018 – mostly involving creative collaboration with others – will feature as part of Doc/Fest’s online programme from 10 June.

Her latest film, Film About a Father Who, offers a complex portrait of Ira Sachs Sr. A bon vivant and pioneering businessman from Park City. Shot over a period of 35 years, the film will hold its International Premiere in Sheffield during October. Following this online, as part of ‘Into The World Film Strand’.

Together with the focus, Doc/Fest will also present Sachs’ video lecture My Body, Your Body, Our Bodies: Somatic Cinema at Home and in the World. A fascinating journey through her themes and work.

A Focus on Simplice Ganou

Simplice Herman Ganou’s films, though few in number, exist as a shining piece of beauty, empathy, and absolute trust in cinema as a way of connecting with the world. Living and working and Burkina Faso, having studied in Senegal. Ganou’s cinema is made with a unique sense of time and place, as in a stroll through the spaces and the words that bind people together. Sheffield Doc/Fest invites audiences to discover this exceptional filmmaker through his first two films – Bakoroman and The Koro of Bakoro: The Survivors of Faso. Both of which will be available online from June.

As part of the Autumn programme in Sheffield, Doc/Fest will also host the UK Premiere of The Unknown, Ganou’s latest film.

Retrospective: Reimagining The Land: Curated by Christopher Small

With Reimagining the Land, Sheffield Doc/Fest will reassert the primacy of the land as a critical way of thinking about the world and about its various crises. By confronting historical images of land, agriculture, rural life, and proletarian struggle. The films will be presented in Sheffield, a city with a long history of spontaneous social movements, many of which are led by the young people the city is famous for.

One of the films to be presented is widely considered the greatest Indian movie of all time; Mother India (1958) centres on the tribulations of a peasant mother forced to organise her own land and labour once her husband commits suicide.

Another is A Japanese Village (1984), in which the Ogawa Pro collective trained their powers of perception onto the minor rhythms of farm life. Producing, what is arguably their greatest and most epic work.

Sheffield Doc Fest will announce its full programme on June 8th. With general public access to the online programme available from 10 June via Sheffield Doc/Fest Selects platform.

For more information visit the Sheffield Doc Fest Website