Clare Stewart, former festival director of BFI London Film Festival, BFI Flare and Sydney Film Festival will take on the role of interim CEO for the 29th edition of the Sheffield Doc/Fest (June 23-28, 2022).
In addition, Oscar-winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia (“Amy”) will serve as guest curator for the 29th edition and will personally select some sections of the screenings program and work with the team on events, talks and other initiatives.
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The festival, one of the world’s premier festival and markets for documentaries has been through some turbulent times recently when a clash between artistic and commercial values led the entire programming team to be ousted following the departure of artistic director Cintia Gil. The Doc/Fest board of trustees subsequently apologized to the programming team.
On Tuesday, the festival opened the search for a new senior programmer who will work with Stewart on the overall selection. The position will also work collaboratively with Sylvia Bednarz, partnerships and operations director and Patrick Hurley, industry director. Bednarz will take on an expanded role incorporating operations, and Hurley will continue to lead on the festival’s MeetMarket and other industry initiatives.
“Clare’s track-record inspiring and delivering change in the international film festival arena is exemplary and we are confident she will make a positive impact on the festival’s future as well as continue to support our commitment to nurturing local talent,” said Sheffield DocFest chair Alex Cooke. “Asif is one of the world’s great filmmakers and documentary voices and he returns to Sheffield DocFest after opening the 2019 festival with ‘Diego Maradona’ and delivering a BAFTA masterclass the same year. We look forward to his contribution to the 29th festival edition as guest curator with great anticipation.”
“Sheffield DocFest is renowned as a potent, innovative and fun festival that brings together works of great urgency and creativity,” Stewart said. “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to build on the legacy of past leadership and to work with the board of trustees and the dedicated Sheffield DocFest team at a time when the landscape for festivals, documentary makers and audiences is shifting so radically.”
“The documentary in all its forms — film, television, immersive and art — has never been more vital as we make sense of the critical state of our world and Sheffield DocFest has an important role to play as we strive for a more inclusive industry in the UK and internationally,” Stewart added.
“While the festival will continue its vital role providing an annual showcase of outstanding documentary work, I am excited to be making a curatorial contribution to the program, sharing films and bringing filmmakers I love to the event, while working with Clare and the DocFest team on the overall shape of the festival,” Kapadia said.
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