The 2015 Sheffield Doc Fest begins today. It’s one of the top three international documentary festivals in the world and Indiewire has even described it as “Cannes for documentary people”.
This year’s festival runs for six days, until 10th June, and features plenty of different strands from Women In Docs, Best Of British and retrospectives on John Akomfrah (The Stuart Hall Project) and Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens, Iris). You can find the full festival programme here but with over 150 films screening over the course of six days, there’s a lot to get through! To help you out, here are some of my highlights from this year’s programme.

Claude Lanzmann: Spectres Of The Shoah

This film from Adam Benzine explores the arduous twelve year journey Lanzmann undertook to create one of the greatest documentaries of our age: the nine and half hour Holocaust documentary Shoah. Benzine secured a week long interview with Lanzmann and the resulting documentary includes some of Lanzmann’s previously unseen Shoah footage.
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres Of The Shoah is screening on Saturday 6th June at 6:30pm and Monday 8th June at 6:45pm.

Generation Right

Michelle Coomber’s documentary explores the political career of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, particularly her attempts to create “a climate of opportunity and enterprise” in the UK. Interviewees include Michael Howard who talks about “winners versus losers”and David Blunkett who notes that “all of us who lived through the premiership of Margaret Thatcher remember the complete disconnect between what she said she wanted for Britain and what was really happening”.

Generation Right screens on Sunday 7th June at 3pm.

A Sinner In Mecca

Following his film Jihad For Love, which explored Islam and homosexuality, Parvez Sharma embarks on a dangerous pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia where homosexuality is punishable by death. Already labelled an infidel, Sharma records his experience on his iPhone. The Hollywood Reporter has already described the film as “wrenching… gritty… surreal and transcendent; visceral and abstract… an undeniable act of courage and hope”.

A Sinner In Mecca screens on Sunday 7th June at 6:15pm and Tuesday 9th June 2015 at 6:15pm.

The Hunting Ground

Studies show that 20% of women will suffer a sexual attack at university. This powerful American documentary from Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering “presents dozens of testimonials detailing how universities of every shape and size collude to cover up sexual crimes on their campuses, creating an ideal ‘hunting ground’ for serial offenders”.

The Hunting Ground screens on Saturday 6th June at 6:15pm and Wednesday 10th June 2015 at 1:30pm.

Limited Partnership

When newly-wed Richard Adams was denied a request for a US green card by a letter stating “you have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots”, it sparked a legal battle that would last four decades. Filming Adams and his husband since 2001 and using a “treasure trove” of archive footage, Thomas Miller tells a love story described as “profoundly moving in its intensity and endurance”.

Limited Partnership screens on Wednesday 10th June at 6:15pm.
Over the next few days I’ll be covering these screenings and more right here on the blog. To keep in touch, follow me by email using the link near the top of the sidebar, or find me on Facebook, Twitter, or Bloglovin.