Following the appointment of a new Festival Director, Cíntia Gil, we are happy to announce the rest of our artistic team for the 2020 edition. Women comprise 60% of Doc/Fest’s programming team. The aim of the group of film programmers, artists, curators and film critics is to bring to Doc/Fest a renewed artistic vision founded on a strong engagement with cinema, art, and the political potential of such a festival in our times. 

Sheffield Doc/Fest’s artistic team will apply the principle of celebrating, sharing and debating non–fiction arts as a collective form of engagement in their approach to programming, exploring the ways in which filmmakers, artists and public may reinvent meanings and create new possible worlds.

Exploring cinematic arts as a collective question

Festival Director Cíntia Gil says:Sheffield is a city of resistance and solidarity, and Sheffield Doc/Fest is a festival that builds itself as a strong platform for those values, exploring cinematic arts as a collective question.  Away from the traditional centers of power and reinventing power relations through filmic encounters, this festival will be an internationalist, plural, rigorous and bold experience, bringing the diversity of the world together as an invitation for openness and collaboration. Through different film strands, art exhibitions, talks and debates, and a strong marketplace, Sheffield Doc/Fest is a place of support for free arts, free thinking and a critical reflection of our world and our lives.’ 


Adam Cook and Joe Cutts to lead on Film and Alternate Realities programmes

Leading film programming for Doc/Fest is Senior Programmer Adam Cook who has most recently served as Founding Curator of Future//Present, a programme on Canadian independent cinema at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Programming Associate for TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) and Programming Consultant for Hot Docs. His writing on film has appeared in numerous publications including Cinema Scope, MUBI, The New York Times, Sight & Sound and Little White Lies.


Curator & Head of Alternate Realities Joe Cutts joined Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2011. He has been integral to shaping the identity and ethos of Alternate Realities programme, stripping away the trend of modern technologies and aligning them with timeless art forms. Cutts is also a video installation artist and curator based at S1 Artspace in Sheffield. 


Bringing years of experience as Programmer for Locarno FF and Doclisboa, and following a long tenure  at la Cinémathèque française, French-born, Lisbon-based Agnès Wildenstein joins Doc/Fest as Associate Programmer. 


Writers, artists and curators joining the Selection Committee

Also collaborating on the programme is a Selection Committee consisting of Christopher Small, Onyeka Igwe, Qila Gill, Rabz Lansiquot, Melanie Iredale, Patrick Hurley and Mita Suri.


Christopher Small is a writer, filmmaker, and programmer, originally from the United Kingdom and currently based in Prague. He is the Project Manager of the Locarno Critics Academy, a respected workshop in film criticism that runs during Locarno Film Festival. Christopher will also curate Doc/Fest's 2020 retrospective to be announced at a later date.


Londoner Onyeka Igwe is an artist filmmaker, programmer and researcher working between cinema and installation, using dance, voice, archive and text to expose a multiplicity of narratives. Her work explores the physical body and geographical place as sites of cultural and political meaning. Onyeka was awarded the New Cinema Award at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival 2019 and is a finalist for the 2020 Arts Foundation Fellowship Award for Experimental Film.


Qila Gill is an artist, curator and programmer. Prior to Sheffield Doc Fest, she has worked for various film festivals including BFI London Film Festival, London Short Film Festival and Encounters Film Festival. She is a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts. 


Rabz Lansiquot is a filmmaker, writer, curator, and DJ. She works alongside Imani Robinson as the artistic and curatorial collective Languid Hands. She was a leading member of sorryyoufeeluncomfortable (SYFU) collective from its inception in 2014 and with SYFU has produced public programmes in a number of institutional and independent contexts in the UK and Europe including curated screenings, collective readings, performances, workshops and discussions, and co-curated exhibitions. Rabz is currently Curator In Residence at LUX Moving Image, developing a public and educational programme around Black liberatory cinema. 


Melanie Iredale is Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Deputy Director, appointed in 2014, and served as Interim Director of the 2019 edition. Born and bred in Yorkshire, Melanie’s background is as a film curator and festival producer, at first specialising in bringing Nordic cinema to the North of England. As Director of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival 2009-2014, she commissioned new moving image works and installations for heritage sites which have gone on to tour to festivals and galleries internationally.


Patrick Hurley has been the Director of Marketplace & Talent at Sheffield Doc/Fest since 2017, connecting creative teams with industry Decision Makers to get new documentaries made and seen. Formerly Distribution Manager for five years at Dogwoof, he has worked closely with filmmakers, producers and partners on a diverse slate of over 100 feature documentary releases. Prior to working in film, Patrick was a Researcher and Senior Tutor at the University of Sydney, specialising in Geopolitics, International Security and Political Analysis.


With a background in community cinema exhibition, Mita Suri worked her way up in Doc/Fest from a volunteer, then supported the Doc/Circuit tour as a Distribution trainee before being appointed as Film Programme Coordinator. Mita is your first point of contact for all things submissions and also coordinates Doc/Fest's year-round activity outside of the festival. 

Programme consultants from Brazil, the Middle East, Russia, Southeast Asia and Japan

Danielle Arbid, Juliano Gomes, Boris Nelepo, Kong Rithdee and Yu Shimizu joining as programme consultants from around the world will bring a range of regional expertise to Doc/Fest, informing the films programme that “hopes to challenge trends, bring diversity and enrich debate”.


Born in Beirut, Lebanese Danielle Arbid studied journalism and literature in Paris before directing films. Selected for numerous festivals including Toronto, New York FF, San Francisco, Locarno, Busan andTokyo,  Danielle Arbid's first two features, In the Battlefields and A Lost Man, were screened at the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Festival in 2004 and 2007, as well as in around thirty other festivals, picking up numerous awards, including the Directors' Fortnight Europa Prize and the Milan Grand Prize. 


Juliano Gomes is a film critic and programmer based in Rio de Janeiro. He has a masters degree in Esthetics Technologies in UFRJ, where he studied Jonas Mekas films. Gomes has worked as a programmer for Sessão Cinética at IMS-Rio and São Paulo since 2011. 


Boris Nelepo is a film critic and curator. He served for official juries of Locarno FF, Doclisboa, Mar del Plata IFF, Cinéma du Réel and FICUNAM. He’s worked as the Russian film consultant for the Locarno Film Festival and collaborated with Doclisboa. He’s currently a guest programmer of Mar del Plata IFF and an Artistic Director of International Festival of Film Debuts "Spirit of Fire" in Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia).


Kong Rithdee has been writing about film, literature and politics for the Bangkok Post for 24 years, contributing to other publications around the world as well. He is currently the deputy director of Film Archive Thailand, the national archive preserving the country’s audiovisual heritage and running a cinematheque. He’s also a (part-time) documentary filmmaker; his docs The Convert (2008), Baby Arabia (2010) and Gaddafi (2013) were released in Thailand and screened at various festivals including Vancouver, Busa, Hawaii, and Amsterdam.


Yu Shimizu is a Tokyo based programmer. She started her career as a production staff for an independent films. While working as a hall manager at the Auditorium Shibuya and EUROSPACE, which are the art house theaters in Tokyo, she started programming. From 2017, she became a freelance programmer and contributes to Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions (is mainly organized by Tokyo Photographic Art Museum). She joined Aichi Triennale 2019 as an assistant curator for the film programme.


The appointed artistic team of Doc/Fest reflects the trans-disciplinary and intercultural approach of the festival whose programme consists of events across six areas: Films, Live Events, Alternate Realities, Talks, Marketplace and Social. In 2019 Doc/Fest welcomed industry delegates from 59 countries and included 200 works from over 50  countries. The 2020 festival, which will announce its first batch of programming picks on 6 May 2020, will showcase work selected from international submissions, in line with Doc/Fest’s strategy to nurture new and emerging talent.