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Making Doc/Fest Happen



Sheffield’s Doc/Fest starts soon and we are excited to be volunteering at the festival. Emmie Waugh talks to the festival’s operations manager about how the festival comes together and what attendees can look forward to!


We are all looking forward to volunteering at the festival! Can you tell us where in Sheffield is the festival held?

The festival programme takes place across many venues in Sheffield including film screenings at: City Hall, Showroom Cinema, the Curzon Cinema, Abbeydale Picture House, the Library Theatre, as well as free outdoor screenings at the Guardian Screen on Tudor Square and the Beijing Screen on Howard Street.  The free Alternate Realities programme is at Site Gallery and The Space, and the Millennium Gallery. Talks are at The Crucible and for the first time this year there’ll be a public programme at the Doc Exchange in Tudor Square which is designed by award-winning Sheffield architect Tony Broomhead.


How long does the festival take to put together?  

12 months! But this is our 23rd year, so we have many systems in place that work for us, so its like a big wheel that keeps on turning. We just tweak, add and improve each year to make a bigger and better festival for Sheffield.


How many people are you expecting to attend? 

In 2015 we welcomed over 30,000 documentary-makers and lovers to Sheffield, including 3,500 industry delegates from over 60 countries. 350 volunteers helping us to put the Festival together!


Your job must be really interesting project managing the festival. How did you end up in your job role? 

I have always had a passion for the arts. I went to college and volunteered in as many different projects as I could. I started to work for Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2012 as a Venue Coordinator and have developed my role from there. It’s great fun!


What is your favourite bit of the festival? 

The few weeks before when everything that we have been working on comes together! It’s so exciting and rewarding to see the results!


What is you favourite Documentary?

I have many, but for me it’s got to be ‘From the Sea to the Land Beyond’, which is a beautiful archive film. I worked on the premier event with a live soundtrack performed by British Sea Power.


What kind of themes of Documentary will we see this year? 

Reflected too in the Alternate Realities programme, the Doc/Fest Film film programme is organised into award categories plus new strands: Get Up and Dance, No Place Like Home, Outdoor Adventure, Food & Drink, as well as firm favourites Behind the Beats, Instigators and Agitators, Women in Docs, Queer Screen, Global Encounters, Euro/Doc and Best of British.


Will we see you at the after parties? 

Of course- I love to go to the Doc/Fest parties! I’m particularly looking forward to Vogue, Strike a Pose Party at the O2 Academy on Saturday night which celebrates two of the films in the programme – Kiki and Strike a Pose!

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