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Sheffield Doc/Fest Announces Full Lineup, Including Laura Poitras’ ‘Risk’

Laura Poitras' 'Risk' to compete for Grand Jury Award; Andrea Arnold to serve on jury

Sheffield Doc/Fest Announces Full Line-up
Courtesy of Praxis Films

Oscar-winner Laura Poitras’ “Risk” (pictured) will compete for the Grand Jury Award at this year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest, which will see fellow Oscar-winner Andrea Arnold serving on the jury. Nick Broomfield and Louis Theroux will headline a packed program for the 24th Sheffield Doc/Fest, which announced its full lineup Thursday.

“American Honey” director Arnold will serve on the panel that selects the winner of Doc/Fest’s Grand Jury Award from a selection of seven films. The other jurors are British journalist and broadcaster Paul Mason and Indian documentary director Anand Patwardhan.

Films competing for the Grand Jury Award include Poitras’ “Risk,” which sees the Oscar-winning director of Edward Snowden documentary “Citizenfour” turn her focus to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’ “Dina”; “Cartel Land” director Matthew Heineman’s “City of Ghosts”; Gethin Aldous and Jairus LcLeary’s “The Work,” which goes inside an intense group-therapy retreat inside Folsom Prison; Raed Andoni’s “Ghost Hunting,” which saw its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February; and David France’s “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson,” which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.

“The Work” and “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” will see their international premieres in Sheffield. The other five competing titles all see their U.K. premieres at the festival.

“In a media climate of fake news, post-truths and murky political agendas, these films are our navigators between information and perspective, evidence and opinion, proof and wild possibility,” said Luke Moody, director of film programming at Sheffield Doc/Fest, Britain’s leading documentary festival.

Both Broomfield and Theroux have garnered attention and controversy with their recent documentaries about Whitney Houston and the Church of Scientology, respectively. The two filmmakers will feature in conversation together for this year’s BBC Interview. Broomfield’s “Whitney: Can I Be Me,” which played at last month’s Tribeca Film Festival, will receive its U.K. premiere as part of the festival. Theroux’s “My Scientology Movie” was released in the U.K. last July and became the biggest documentary hit of the year, grossing £1.1 million ($1.35 million) for distributor Altitude.

The fest awards 10 prizes in all. British actor and presenter Reggie Yates will join the jury to judge the New Talent Award as well as fronting new initiative Doc/Dinner, which is aimed at new and emerging black, Asian and minority ethnic filmmakers between the ages of 18 and 25.

Oscar-winning editor and sound designer Walter Murch will return to the festival to speak at the newly introduced Doc/Fest Craft Summit. Maverick filmmaker Greenaway’s participation in a festival talk had previously been announced in April. Participants in other talks include British actor Lenny Henry; Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani; conductor Charles Hazlewood; YouTube sensation Elijah Quashie; and Patwandhan.

The program includes a total of 182 documentary features and shorts, including 35 world premieres, 21 international premieres, 24 European premieres and 73 U.K. premieres. The festival will open with the world premiere of Daisy Asquith’s “Queerama.” The closing film will be the BBC’s “Jo Cox: Death of an MP,” about the British Labour Party politician who was killed in an attack last June.

Sheffield Doc/Fest runs from June 9-14. The full program is available here: https://sheffdocfest.com/