The festival, which ran for the first time in its new June slot, wrapped on sunday night (June 12) with the number of delegates reaching a record high.
Michael Collins’ Give Up Tomorrow has taken the Audience Award prize at Sheffield Doc/Fest, which ran June 8-12. The film is currently riding high as it also picked up the Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.
Collins and producer Marty Syjuco raised money for the film, which describes the miscarriage of justice surrounding the murder of the Chiong sisters in the Philippines in 1997, at the Sheffield Doc/Fest’s MeetMarket in 2009.
Produced in assocation with BBC Storyville and supported by the Tribeca All Access and the Gucci Tribeca Documentary funds, the film was made over six years and three continents.
“It means the world to us to have been invited back to Sheffield, especially because Meetmarket played such a key role in this journey for us. It is such a beautiful, special and ridiculously fun festival, and to get this award is such an honour, ” said Collins and Syjuco of their win.
Highlights of this year’s festival included masterclasses with Morgan Spurlock and Albert Maysles, a day dedicated to cross platform projects and panels on subjects ranging from 3D to crowd funding.
Despite the fact that the last edition of the festival took place only seven months ago in November, delegate numbers were up from 2229 to 2310, setting a festival record.
The number of buyers and pitchers attending MeetMarket was also up from 300 in 2010 to 350 this year.
Charlie Phillips, who runs Sheffield’s MeetMarket told Screen that the “number of international decision makers and pitchers is gradually going up every year. UK projects can meet UK commissioners any time, this is about getting international co-productions happening.”
With a growing number of cross platform projects being pitched as well as MeetMarket’s first 3D documentary, Philliips says the festival, and its market, is at the top of its game. “We are the SXSW of the doc world, because we are certainly the most innovative documentary festival in the world.”
Meanwhile festival director Heather Croall said that the move to June had been a success. “It’s been a crazy six months but I don’t think anyone would say it’s not as good as last time. The film programme is really good, the MeetMarket is amazing and we’ve had more buyers than we’ve ever had.”
Referring to the decision to host joint premieres with the Edinburgh International Film Festival (including James Marsh’s Project Nim and Danfung Dennis’ Hell And Back Again), Croall said: “I am not a great believer in premiere rules. I think we have to do what’s good for the film-maker and I think the film-makers who are in Sheffield and Edinburgh are super happy because they get double exposure.”