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The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Sheffield DocFest picks

Each June, the world of documentary filmmaking gathers for Sheffield DocFest. The UK’s leading showcase of documentary films and one of the most influential markets for nonfiction storytelling, the festival returns for its 29th edition on 23–28 June 2022.

Over six days, Sheffield DocFest will showcase films, talks, industry sessions and its Alternate Realities exhibitions at cultural venues across the city. Inviting audiences to "ReConnect with Documentary," the programme features 135 films exploring individual and collective stories, how we live, our environment and the ways it is changing globally. Strands in this year’s programme include the music-focussed Rhythms, the past-informed Memories, a spotlight on Ukraine, a selection curated by Asif Kapadia (director of the documentaries Amy, Senna, and Diego Maradona), and more.

Scroll down for our top 10 picks of the films in the DocFest 2022 programme.

Written by Raluca de Soleil.

8 Bar – The Evolution of Grime

Multiple dates

Showroom

One of the most exciting docs of the festival, showcasing the people, sounds, fashion, hidden hits and global appeal of grime. Interviewing its originators and unsung heroes in an attempt to give the art form the wide recognition it deserves.

Our Bodies Are Your Battlefields

Multiple dates

An urgent investigation into Argentina’s struggle against the patriarchal culture of violence and oppression, led by trans women risking their lives for the liberation of all marginalised genders.

The Territory

Multiple dates

Showroom

The Amazonian rainforest has become a battlefield. Farmers are destroying its crucial ecosystem for profit at unprecedented levels while its protectors, such as the Uru-eu-wau-wau Indigenous Surveillance Team, fight tirelessly to to protect it.

Night Shift

Multiple dates

A refreshingly non-judgemental portrait of two strip club workers with contrasting ideals, shot in Gothenburg by an all-female team. A short film acknowledging that we are all selling ourselves for money under capitalism.

Ithaka

Multiple dates

Ithaka follows the battle against the British establishment to save WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange faces a 175-year prison sentence in the US for unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defence.

Pongo Calling

Multiple dates

​​​​​​Štefan Pongo starts a campaign for Romani in the Czech Republic to post selfies from their workplaces after the president claims that Romani people are “socially unadaptable and refuse jobs”. As the movement grows, his family life is affected.

The Melt Goes On Forever: The Art & Times of David Hammons

Multiple dates

A portrait of the socially committed conceptual artist David Hammons. With interviews with artists, curators and critics, evocative sounds from Marshall Allen, Idris Ackamoor and Shabaka Hutchings, and a reading by hip-hop forefather Umar Bin Hassan.

Marwan – Tomorrow's Freedom

Multiple dates

A portrait of Marwan Barghouti, the ‘Palestinian Nelson Mandela’, serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison while predicted to become the next Palestinian president. The relentless struggle of a people fighting for freedom, justice and peace.

I Didn't See You There

Multiple dates

Reid Davenport offers a first person account of disability and (in)visibility from his wheelchair. Prompted by a circus tent appearing outside his home, he reflects on the ableist consequences of freak shows, (in)accessibility, stigma, and beauty.

Julie on line

Multiple dates

Julie is a survivor of psychiatry, in the pursuit of the autonomy to redefine her present and reinvent her future. Could her childhood trauma and unusual experiences be grounds for identity and culture, resistance and meaning?