Steve McQueen

Source: Richard Wareham Fotografie / Alamy Stock Photo

Steve McQueen

The programme for the 28th edition of Sheffield Doc/Fest includes the world premiere of the first episode of Uprising, a three-part documentary series from UK filmmakers Steve McQueen and James Rogan.

Doc/Fest 2021 will play 55 world premieres and 22 international premieres, for the event running in Sheffield, across the UK and online from June 4-13.

Scroll down for the Competition titles

First announced last week and playing at the festival as a Special Screening, Uprising will examine three events from 1981 - in January, the New Cross Fire which killed 13 black teenagers; in March, Black People’s Day of Action, which saw more than 20,000 people join the first organised mass protest by black British people; and the Brixton riots in April.

11 features are in the Doc/Fest international competition, including world premieres of four first time films: Nira Burstein’s Charm Circle, a cinema verité portrait of her eccentric New York family; Pedro Speroni’s Rancho about a boxer searching for his freedom in a maximum-security prison; Srđan Kovačević’s Factory To The Workers, about a soon-to-retire worker aiming to save his workplace from closure; and Vadim Kostrov’s Summer.

The UK competition includes 14 films, of which four are feature-length, including the world premiere of Daniel Draper and Allan Melia’s Don McCullin: Almost Liverpool 8, a contemporary revisiting of the area of Toxteth in Liverpool captured by photojournalist McCullin in the 1970s.

Alongside Uprising, further Special Screenings include the world premiere of Arthur Cary’s UK documentary Surviving 9/11 (working title), telling the story of the two-hour period when the attacks on the US changed the world forever.

Thematic sections in the festival include ‘Into The World’ for international titles, ‘Rebellions’, ‘Ghosts & Apparitions’, ‘Rhyme & Rhythm’, and a ‘Northern Focus’ on films from the north of the UK.

The Talks programme includes the flagship BBC interview, this year with UK historian, broadcaster and filmmaker David Olusoga, who is also presenting two episodes of Stuart Hall’s 1991 series Redemption Song at the festival. The previously-announced world premiere of Mark Cousins’ The Story Of Looking, plus ‘in conversation’ session with Cousins, will close the festival. Both events will take place in Sheffield, and be livestreamed online.

Among multiple retrospectives at the event are ‘Sonic Register: British black womxn and onscreen performativity’, ‘Looking Black’, and ‘Destroy | Disturb | Disrupt – Decolonizing Queer Desire’. There will also be a focus on Taiwan, with eight films selected from the country.

Outside of Sheffield, 16 cinemas around the UK will host Doc/Fest screenings, including the BFI Southbank in London, the Broadway in Nottingham, HOME in Manchester, Glasgow Film Theatre and the Queens Film Theatre in Belfast.

“We are excited about holding this festival in a way that welcomes everyone - online and in Sheffield, and also across the UK,” said festival director Cíntia Gil. “The importance and urgency of cinema has only grown since we last saw a film on the big screen.”

The festival’s opening film, the European premiere of Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson’s Summer Of Soul, was announced last month.

Sheffield Doc/Fest – selected titles

International Competition

Charm Circle (US) dir. Nira Burstein, world premiere

Nũhũ Yãg Mũ Yõg Hãm: This Land Is Our Land! (Brazil) dirs. Isael Maxakali, Sueli Maxakali, Carolina Canguçu, Roberto Romero, international premiere

White On White (Cze-Slovakia) dir. Viera Čákanyová, international premiere

My Dear Spies (Fr) dir. Vladimir Léon, UK premiere

From The 84 Days (Ger-Bol) dir. Philipp Hartmann, world premiere

Equatorial Constellations (Por-São Tomé & Príncipe) dir. Silas Tiny, world premiere

Rancho (Arg) dir. Pedro Speroni, international premiere

Factory To The Workers (Cro) dir. Srđan Kovačević, world premiere

Double Layered Town / Making A Song To Replace Our Positions (Jap) dirs. Komori Haruka, Seo Natsumi, international premiere

This Stained Dawn (Pak) dir. Anam Abbas, world premiere

Summer (Rus) dir. Vadim Kostrov, world premiere

UK Competition – feature-length titles

Don McCullin: Almost Liverpool 8, dirs. Daniel Draper, Allan Melia

Songs For The River, dir. Charlotte Ginsborg

CAUGHT, dir. Nicola Mai

The Quintessence, dir. Pamela Breda

Special Screenings

Uprising (UK) dirs. Steve McQueen, James Rogan, world premiere, 1 episode

Where Did The World Go (UK) dir. Brian Hill, world premiere

My Childhood, My Country – 20 Years In Afghanistan (UK-Afg) dirs. Phil Grabsky, Shoaib Sharifi, world premiere

9/11: One Day In America (UK) dir. Daniel Bogado, UK premiere

Sing, Freetown (US-UK) dir. Clive Patterson, world premiere

Surviving 9/11 (working title) (UK) dir. Arthur Cary, world premiere