Opening with the world premiere of Sean McAllister’s A Northern Soul, Sheffield Doc/Fest’s 2018 programme boasted a large number of events, covering everything from the Grenfell fire to women boxing in Cuba. ASFF provides a round up of five films from this year’s edition.
A Northern Soul, Sean McAllister
The aforementioned opening night film, A Northern Soul follows Sean McAllister as he returns to his hometown of Hull to document its new life as UK City of Culture. The filmmaker reflects on the divisions within the Yorkshire city, highlighted by Brexit and compounded by the fact Hull is both suffering through austerity and celebrated as a cultural hotspot. On his journey he meets Steve, a warehouse worker who has a dream of becoming a hip-hop performer.
Black Mother with live score from GAIKA, Khalik Allah
Celebrated American photographer Khalik Allah weaves together footage of Jamaica, capturing every part of society including prostitutes, faith healers and the elderly. The documentary is shot through a single lens, creating a mesmerising collage of life in Jamaica that incorporates the natural, spiritual and cultural elements of the country today. On Sunday 10 June, Warp Records present GAIKA’s new live score for an entirely unique evening of colour, culture and hypnotic sounds.
Art 50: Art in a Post Brexit Britain with Kirsty Wark
A festival that likes to ponder on hot topics, Doc/Fest has invited Newsnight’s Kirsty Wark to consider what Britain will look like when it is no longer a member of the European Union. Back in 2017, when Article 50 was triggered, Sky Arts launched Art 50, in collaboration with The Barbican, Sage Gateshead, Baltic and Storyvault Films. The project invites a range of artists to respond creatively to post Brexit Britain. Several commissioned artists, including playwrite John Godber and writer Dreda Say Mitchell, will join Wark to discuss their work.
América, Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside
Nominated for the Illuminate Award, América focuses on the life of Diego, a young circus artist, who finds himself back at home caring for his 93-year-old grandmother with his brothers. An intimate look at family life, the documentary reveals both the joy and frustration often associated with blood relations. Although his grandmother’s situation often looks hopeless, Diego is a dreamer who believes she fell over on purpose in order to bring the disconnected family back together.
DOUBLETHINK, Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
Part of the Doc/Fest Exchange: Head Space programme that takes mental health as its starting point, DOUBLETHINK is an immersive installation that invites audiences to choose whether they want to enter a space entitled “HOPE” or “HATE”. However, participants must choose wisely as they can’t experience both spaces, they can only select one. Commissioned specifically for Doc/Fest, the piece was created in consultation with mental health researchers.
Sheffield Doc/Fest ran 7-12 June at various venues across Sheffield. For more information, click here.
1. Still from Black Mother, Khalik Allah.