PREVIEW: Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017 from Joe Cocker to Jo Cox - 20 must things to see and do

Whitney - Can I Be Me'Whitney - Can I Be Me'
Whitney - Can I Be Me'
Full Monty celebrity strippers, twerking dance classes, talks with big names like Sir Lenny Henry and documentaries about Joe Cocker to Jo Cox are all part of this year's Sheffield Doc/Fest.

This year's 24th annual documentary festival - from June 9 to 14 - will also feature special guest appearances from TV documentary superstar Louis Theroux, satirist Ian Hislop, Silk and Shameless actress Maxine Peake, TV star Alexander Armstrong, Diversity dancer Ashley Banjo and more.

Sheffield Doc/Fest, a showcase for the world's best new documentary films, virtual reality and interactive experiences - with 182 documentaries and short films on this year's bill - is a meeting place for film makers to do business, but it is also open to the public to attend screenings, including world premiers, talks and workshops.

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Screenings and talks will be held across the city at Sheffield's Showroom cinema, Sheffield City Hall, The Leadmill, Crucible Studio, Abbeydale Picturehouse, the new Light Cinema on The Moor, two outside pop up screens, a Free Screen on Tudor Square and The Light Free Screen on Howard Street.

It will also put the spotlight on 26 state-of-the-art alternate realities projects, with eight immersive virtual reality and nine interactive installations in the Alternate Realities Exhibition at The Millennium Gallery.

Liz McIntyre CEO & Festival Director said: “This year at Doc/Fest, we’re thrilled to be bringing the most extraordinary and inspiring stories, born out of this time of seismic change. From remarkable new talents to world renowned greats, documentary and Alternate Realities storytellers are converging on Sheffield to show their work both maverick and influential, funny and quirky, heart stopping and heart breaking."

Here we look at 20 things not to miss - some of the many daily highlights. For full details visit


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Whitney - Can I Be Me'Whitney - Can I Be Me'
Whitney - Can I Be Me'

Doc/Fest Exchange: Developed with Wellcome, elements of film, alternate realities and talks will come together with a line-up of inspiring, entertaining and free of charge daily talks and activities - an open-to-all taster of the wider festival, in Tudor Square, from Friday to Wednesday, June 9 to 14.

Munduruku: The Fight to Defend the Heart of the Amazon: Taste, see, smell, hear and feel the heat as you immerse yourself in the lives and struggle of the Munduruku indigenous people, deep in the heart of the of the Amazon rainforest - in this immersive VR exhibition, combining cutting edge virtual reality filmmaking and multi-sensory storytelling. pat of Alternate Realities, at Millennium Gallery, June 9 to 14.


Queerama: Documenting the UK’s rollercoaster journey towards sexual equality, directed by Daisy Asquith with a soundtrack by Alison Goldfrapp, Hercules & Love Affair and John Grant, dealing with relationships, desires, fears and expressions of gay men and women during a century of change, at Sheffield City Hall, Friday, June 9, 7.30pm. Out Aloud, Sheffield’s LGBT choir, will perform on the steps of City Hall at 6.55pm. Queerama also showing Bertha DocHouse Showroom 4, Saturday, June 10, 9.30am.

Joe Cocker: Mad Dog with SoulJoe Cocker: Mad Dog with Soul
Joe Cocker: Mad Dog with Soul


Elijah Quashie aka ‘The Chicken Connoisseur’: Discussing the social media sensation's hugely popular YouTube series The Pengest Munch and his future plans, with BBC 1xtra presenter Mim Shaik, at Doc/Fest Exchange, Saturday, June 10, 4pm.

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Docs Till Dawn: HyperNormalisation: A rare chance to catch Adam Curtis’ introduce his celebrated latest film Hypernormalisation on the big screen - and immerse yourself in his archival tour de force, as he explains in his unique style the events leading to some of the chaos we live in today, at Showroom Screen 1, Saturday, June 10, 10pm.

Lost In Vagueness: This retraces Britain’s subculture history, to see how anti-hero Roy Gurwitz, anarchic punk traveller and festival founder Michael Eavis came together to reinvigorate Glastonbury Festival. It gets its world premiere plus Q&A at PBS American Showroom, Saturday, June 10 12.30pm.

The BBC Interview: Louis Theroux meets Nick BroomfieldThe BBC Interview: Louis Theroux meets Nick Broomfield
The BBC Interview: Louis Theroux meets Nick Broomfield

Olly Alexander Talks Documentary: The Years and Years British electronica trio frontman discussing why the gay community can be vulnerable to mental health issues, as he opens up about his own long-term battles with depression, at Crucible Studio, Saturday, June 10, 5.30pm.


The BBC Interview: Louis Theroux meets Nick Broomfield: TV documentary star Theroux talking to influential documentary maker Broomfield (Driving me Crazy, Biggie and Tupac, Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of A Serial Killer and Kurt & Courtney), in an extended Q&A ahed of the screening of Whitney Can I Be Me (Sheffield City Hall, 6.15pm), which explores the career and complicated life of Whitney Houston, at the Crucible Theatre on Sunday, June 11, 3.30pm.

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Sir Lenny Henry in Conversation with June Sarpong: The comedy legend talking about his documentary work for Sky Arts and the best ways to campaign for change through the media, humour and his passion for blues music, Crucible Theatre, Sunday, June 11, 6pm.

What’s Their Story - Francis Lee?: Yorkshire film maker Francis Lee, whose debut God’s Own Country stormed this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and whose documentary The Last Smallholder premiered at Doc/Fest 2014, will feature his latest work at Doc/Fest Exchange, Sunday, June 11, 6pm.

Whitney - ‘Can I Be Me': The story of song queen Whitney Houston gets its UK premiere, with a tribute performance by Michelle John and followed by a Q&A with director Nick Broomfield at Sheffield City Hall - broadcast live to 130 UK cinemas - on Sunday, June 11, 6.15pm.

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017 - from June 9 to 14Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017 - from June 9 to 14
Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017 - from June 9 to 14


Digging Deeper: The Making of 8 Minutes: This mixes dance, film and science, with choreographer and director Alexander Whitley and BAFTA winning visual artist Tal Rosner, ahead of a special preview of the work-in-progress multi-media performance 8 Minutes on at Doc/Fest Exchange, Monday, June 12, 12 noon.

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8 Minutes: Combining dance, film, music and solar science data, looks at the wonders of the universe, is a special work in progress preview of work by Alexander Whitley Dance Company featuring a stunning installation of high-definition imagery from BAFTA award-winning visual artist Tal Rosner, and a specially created score by the electroacoustic music innovator Daniel Wohl, at the Octagon Centre, Monday, June 12, 6.45pm.

The Real Full Monty: TV presenter and comedy star Alexander Armstrong and Diversity street dancer Ashley Banjo discussing the making of The Real Full Monty - how they taught male celebrities to strip and perform their own ‘Full Monty’, to raise awareness of men’s cancers. Followed by a preview screening of the ITV film, part filmed at the Shiregreen working men’s club featured in the original Full Monty film, at the Crucible, Monday, June 12, 6pm.

Charles Hazlewood: Exploring My Own Beatles Black Album: Conductor Hazlewood at the piano, will discuss his Sky documentary examining the break-up of the world’s greatest pop group, at the Crucible Studio, Monday, June 12, 6.30pm.

Maxine Peake: My Desert Island Docs: The Salford-based star of Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies, Shameless, The Village and Silk, in conversation about the documentaries that have inspired her her life, sense of humour, work and politics, at the Crucible Studio on Monday, June 12, at 8.30pm.


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Bruk Out!: World premiere about female expression, taking a look at the raw, energetic world of Jamaican Dancehall culture and legendary twerking, by Cori McKenna, with a Q&A at The Light Screen 8, Monday, June 12, 6pm; Dancehall queen Ale Camara will then give a dance class, bringing the raunchy dance craze to Tudor Square, Monday, June 12 , 7.45pm. The film is also being screened at The Light Screen 3, Tuesday, June 13, 12.30am.

Ian Hislop & Jolyon Rubinstein: Post-truth & Satire: The Have I Got New For You TV quiz show star and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, talking with BAFTA winning actor and satirist Jolyon Rubinstein (The Revolution Will be Televised, Revolting), exploring the fundamental role that satire plays in documenting our world and searching for the truth, as well as how the medium reflects a political landscape, at Crucible Theatre, Tuesday, June 13, 5.30pm.

Joe Cocker: Mad Dog with Soul and Discussion: John Edginton’s latest documentary tracks the musical career and difficult journey to sobriety of legendary Sheffield born soul singer Joe Cocker. With live acoustic performances, this is a unique opportunity to see the film in the iconic Leadmill where he frequently performed, Tuesday, June 13, 6.30pm.

Jo Cox: Death of an MP: Closing this year's festival Doc/Fest will honour Yorkshire's Jo Cox, the murdered Batley and Spen Labour MP, with the world premiere screening of Toby Paton’s documentary, followed by a discussion about Jo’s legacy, at the Showroom Cinema, Wednesday, June 14, 7pm. nspired by the Great Get Together, Doc/Fest bosses are urging festival-goers to unite and remember Jo before the screening with a performance by the Sheffield Socialist Choir, in Tudor Square, at 5pm.

For more details visit