Sheffield Doc/Fest to Open With World Premiere of ‘Queerama’

Maverick filmmaker and artist Peter Greenaway to headline festival talks

Sheffield Doc/Fest to Open with World
Courtesy of Sheffield Doc/Fest

The 24th Sheffield Doc/Fest will open with the world premiere of Daisy Asquith’s “Queerama,” in keeping with the festival’s themes this year of resistance and change.

“This year at Doc/Fest we have our most urgent and loudest call to action to join the groundswell movements of resistance and change, where we celebrate those who disobey and resist to shape the future global narrative,” said Liz McIntyre, the festival’s CEO and director. “We’re stepping into the early scenes of a tragicomic new world story.”

Britain’s leading documentary festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest runs from June 9-14. Its official program launch will be on May 3,

Marking the 50th anniversary of Britain’s landmark Sexual Offenses Act, which decriminalized private homosexual acts in England and Wales, “Queerama” will be followed by a live performance by U.S. singer-songwriter John Grant, whose music features in the film. The documentary, created from footage from the BFI National Archive dating back as far as 1919, captures the relationships, desires, fears and expressions of gay men and women.

Other films announced include the European premiere of Damon Davis and Sabaah Folayan’s “Whose Streets” and the U.K. premiere of Yance Ford’s “Strong Island.” Both U.S. productions feature unflinching examinations of race in today’s America.

Director Peter Greenaway will headline the festival’s talks, discussing his career and his new documentary about theologian and religious reformer Martin Luther. The award-winning director of “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover” and “The Tulse Luper Suitcases” will also explore the forms art takes when responding to social and political change.

Doc/Fest will host a 50th-anniversary retrospective of films from 1967 titled “1967: Summer of Love and Disobedience.” Included will be a rare screening of Edouard (Yves) de Laurot’s “Silent Revolution/Black Liberation,” about the civil rights movement, which features Malcolm X and is narrated by Ossie Davis.

The retrospective also includes Allan King’s “Warrendale”; portmanteau film “Far From Vietnam,” produced by Chris Marker and directed by French New Wave filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais, Agnes Varda, Joris Ivens, William Klein and Claude Lelouch; and Peter Whitehead’s “Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London.” The final four titles in the eight-film retrospective are yet to be announced.

The festival’s “Alternate Realities” interactive exhibition at Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery will be the world premiere of Anna Ridler’s “WikiLeaks: A Love Story.” The installation explores the conflict between issues of privacy versus public interest, using data from real e-mails between two people to construct an unlikely love story of love in the workplace.