Sheffield DocFest: Shifting Frames

Hand-picked by festival programmers at Sheffield for DAFilms, the films in our selection of films from the last edition of the festival span the globe, together exemplifying so many varied and wondrous ways of making non-fiction film.

In 2020, the prominent British festival Sheffield DocFest became one of the first major documentary festivals to be hit by the closures necessitated by the emergence of the pandemic. After the event in June was cancelled, the festival took place in an abbreviated form online, including at DAFilms, and later in cinemas in the city in September and October. But the films that premiered, or would have premiered, at Sheffield we nothing short of revelatory. After a change in artistic team in late 2019, the festival emerged with a renewed focus on championing the boldest and most inspiring documentary forms from around the world. The pandemic meant that this vision couldn't come to Sheffield's screens in the form that was intended, but somehow the essence of that programme survived through the films themselves.

Now one year later the 2021 edition of Sheffield DocFest is over, proving that that ethos was enduring and that despite the limitations that have persisted even until today, making a festival with that rare combination of daring forms and generous spirit is possible. Such a multifaceted focus on the cutting edge of world documentary is indeed something that can be done. This international focus is the subject of Sheffield DocFest: Shifting Frames, a selection of the films that best characterised the spirit of this lost edition of the festival. Hand-picked by festival programmers at Sheffield for DAFilms, these are films that span the globe and together exemplify so many varied and wondrous ways of making non-fiction film.

In cooperation with

  • Sheffield DocFest

Selected films is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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