We are thrilled to launch the Youth Jury programme for its 14th edition in 2020. Five young film enthusiasts will be offered the opportunity to meet key figures within the industry, curate a selection of films for the Festival, and select the winner of the Youth Jury Award announced at the Sheffield Doc/Fest Awards Ceremony.

Are you 18-22 years old, based in the UK, and have a passion for documentary? Our Youth Jury programme is for you!
Five young film enthusiasts will participate in celebrating, sharing and debating non–fiction arts as a collective form of engagement and selecting the award winner. Our festival is a space for freedom and for exploration of the ways in which filmmakers, artists and public may reinvent meaning and new possible worlds and we want young people to be a part of that conversation.
This is a free programme and no special qualifications or experience are required to apply.
The programme offers generous insight into the world of international film festivals, and a whirlwind tour of different sectors of the documentary industry. It is a chance to encounter leading media companies, and the best new documentaries over the course of six months.

Previous Youth Jury Award Winners have included Baracoa (2019), Amal (2018), 69 Minutes of 86 Days (2017), Sonita (2016) and 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets (2015).

Past jurors have gone on to work with Sheffield Doc/Fest; broadcasters including the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV; made shorts and feature length documentaries for commissioners including BBC Three; programmed films, produced panels for festivals and gone on to write for Sight & Sound magazine.

In order to provide equal opportunities and increase inclusivity in the film industry, we particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), disabled and under-privileged backgrounds as they are currently under-represented.


- Successful applicants will attend a two-day Youth Jury Lab in London on 20 & 21 February 2020.

- During the Lab you will meet leading organisations from across the industry of production, distribution, curation and exhibition of film.

- Jurors will attend a further one day lab on Tuesday 2 April in Sheffield to finalise their programme nominations and festival preparation.

- Youth Jurors will also receive a Full Festival Pass to attend Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019.

- You will attend screenings of the selected Youth Jury films and a deliberation during the Festival, selecting the winner of the Youth Jury Award 2019.

- UK travel and accommodation costs will be covered for both the London Lab and Sheffield events.

- Each Youth Juror will receive a personal mentorship session at the beginning and end of the programme with the Doc/Fest team.


Jurors need to be available for the following activities:

- 28 or 29 January 2020, Interviews

- 20-21 February 2020, London Lab

- 1 April, Programming in Sheffield

- 4-9 June, Sheffield Doc/Fest 2020


Click here to download the application form.

Please also complete the Equal Opportunities Form.

Please email the application form and your CV to mita.suri@sheffdocfest.com.

Applications are only open to individuals aged 18-22 based in the UK.
The application deadline is Wednesday 15 January 2020, 12:00 (Midday GMT).

Interviews will be held at the Sheffield office or via Skype on 28 and 29 January 2019. Unfortunately we cannot cover travel for this, but please do get in touch to discuss further.

For further enquiries about the programme or on how to apply, please contact Mita Suri, Film Programme Coordinator: mita.suri@sheffdocfest.com.


Meet our previous Youth Jurors:

Liam Taft, 2019 Youth Juror

"Being part of the Youth Jury was a great way to meet like-minded film fans. The awards deliberation sparked lively and heated debate about the nominees, which was a very rewarding process.

Working in film is not accessible for most people, so I’m grateful that Doc/Fest gave us the opportunity to learn more about possible career paths in the industry. We got to meet leading figures from criticism, production, and marketing, which provided us with a sound overview of the possible routes into film. 

The support, guidance, and passion from the Doc/Fest team made it an incredibly enjoyable experience. I can’t wait to return next year!"


Timon Williams, 2019 Youth Juror

"The highlight of the experience was of course the festival itself whereby we had access to an abundance of amazing documentaries and engaging master classes. I was also lucky enough to attend an event called Doc/Dinner in which, along with a number of other filmmakers, I got to have dinner with commissioning editors from VICE, Channel 4, The Guardian and many more established organisations. We were also all offered the chance to host Q&A’s with filmmakers who had their documentaries screening at the festival.

As an aspiring filmmaker, I can honestly say that being on the Youth Jury at Sheff Doc/Fest has greatly enhanced my career prospects. More importantly, I got to meet some really cool and talented people who I hope to keep in touch with over the coming years."


Jenna Mahale, 2019 Youth Juror

"Professionally, I was able to use the access Doc/Fest provided to pitch and write about upcoming documentaries. It was a distinct advantage, as a journalist, to get to watch films that weren’t even officially on the programme yet. 

The meetings we had during the ‘labs’ in London and Sheffield gave me a really comprehensive understanding of the film industry that I’m not sure I’d be able to get anywhere else, and introduced me to the workings of areas I had very little knowledge of, including film-programming and distribution. 

At the festival, I got to meet so many incredible journalists and filmmakers, and learned so much from the conversations I had with them. Doc/Fest also offered us the chance to host Q&As with a director of our choice; a nerve-wracking, incredible opportunity to get deeper under the skin of some of the films we loved."


Maeve Allen, 2019 Youth Juror

"Being a Youth Juror has undoubtedly helped inform my CV. I now work as a Junior Researcher for Marble Films, a documentary production company in Bristol. I have also secured work experience at The Guardian in November. I wouldn't have got my job or work experience without having had the experience of being a Youth Juror. Being chosen proves your interest in documentaries, it shows you've been involved in one of the most successful documentary festivals in the world and that you can debate and discuss films and understand the process of filmmaking.

If you love documentaries you should absolutely apply to be a Youth Juror. I learnt so much from our week in Sheffield. I was able to see documentaries from all over the world, attend talks that challenged or changed my opinion and was inspired to start making my own films. If that isn't enough to persuade you, then let it be the drag queens, drinking and dancing at all the parties that convinces you!"


Alex Lancastle

Alex Lancastle is one of our 2017 Youth Jury Alumni. Since then, he’s continued to work with Doc/Fest, undertaking an internship and then landing the position of Operations Coordinator.

“Sitting on the Youth Jury at Doc/Fest was simply one of the best experiences of my early career. The team really went above and beyond in providing us with the most valuable and insightful experience as possible. We had masterclasses with industry professionals, chances to network and meet new people, whilst watching and debating as many films as possible! I since went on to complete a 3-month internship at Doc/Fest, and have the team to thank for equipping me with the knowledge and experience for a career in film.”


Simran Hans

Simran Hans now writes for publications including Sight & Sound, Dazed, Little White Lies and is a film critic for Observer New Review.

“From meeting Michael Palin to the David Bowie-themed roller disco, my experience at Sheffield Doc/Fest was a whirlwind. The one event that stands out in my memory though, is listening to Ira Glass (the host of 'This American Life') discuss the nuances of radio documentary as part of the Festival's cutting-edge industry programme, in a chapel no less.”