The BBC at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013

Sheffield is always a chance for us to showcase the latest Storyvilles. We’re delighted to have three Storyville films screening on the opening night which reflect the exciting range of subjects and approach in the strand.”Nick Fraser, Commissioning Editor, Storyville
Date: 09.05.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.59
The BBC will mark the 20th anniversary of Sheffield Doc/Fest with a host of events and screenings, including sessions with channel controllers, a raft of international documentaries arising from the BBC Storyville strand, and a special screening of a new doc about Uri Geller, attended by the man himself.

This year’s BBC Interview will see Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC Two, in conversation with presenter, comedian and one of the stars of Great British Bake Off, Sue Perkins, as they talk about Janice’s work in documentary over the years and the phenomenal changes she has brought to the BBC Two schedule.

Overseeing some of the BBC’s biggest successes of recent years, and turning factual and documentary series into the stuff of water-cooler conversations and Twitter trends, Janice has supervised the rise of a new kind of factual programming, including Gareth Malone’s Military Wives, Stargazing Live with Brian Cox, Great British Bake Off and Sewing Bee, as well as delivering critically acclaimed observational documentaries including Welcome To India, Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die, Protecting Our Children, 7/7: One Day In London, and Keeping Britain Alive.

Charlotte Moore, Acting Controller of BBC One, will host panel event The Art Of The Interview: How The Masters Do It. Interviews are a major weapon in the filmmaker's armoury, but how, when and where should they be deployed, and how can you get to what you really want - the truth? In this session, four of the best filmmakers in the business - Bart Layton, Vanessa Engle, Olly Lambert and Richard Macer - tell us how they go about approaching 'the interview'. Drawing on clips of their own work - as well as others they admire - the session will give an insight into how to conduct the perfect interview. To do so, the tables will be turned on our four expert interviewers and they’ll become both interviewer and interviewee. Each will interview another filmmaker before swapping seats and sitting in the hot seat themselves.

Uri Geller will attend the screening of The Secret Life Of Uri Geller - a 60-min version of which will also air on BBC Two in the autumn. The controversial mentalist, paranormal expert and spoon bender has had a life in front of the cameras, a life surrounded by controversy, a life dotted with amazing psychic demonstrations. But most people don’t know that, away from the bent cutlery and broken watches, he has been leading a second, covert, life as a ‘psychic spy’. This ‘secret life’ has included work for the military and intelligence agencies on three continents. For the first time, this film explores the incredible story with unique and compelling interviews from Uri himself as well as those who knew and worked closely with him.

BBC Storyville, which showcases international documentaries from across the globe, will have 10 films screening throughout the festival – nine of which are co-productions - including three opening night films.

“Sheffield is always a chance for us to showcase the latest Storyvilles. We’re delighted to have three Storyville films screening on the opening night which reflect the exciting range of subjects and approach in the strand,” says Nick Fraser, Commissioning Editor for Storyville.

The three opening night films are Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer about the Russian female punk-rock group arrested and imprisoned after singing an anti-Putin song in a Moscow cathedral. Following the band through the process of the trial and interwoven with their historical backstory, the film explores Russia’s past, present and notions of democracy. The Big Melt- A Brand New Kind of Heavy Metal Music - With Moving Pictures will see Musical Director Jarvis Cocker bring together an exciting range of Sheffield musicians to create and perform a soundtrack of new works and revisited classics to accompany a film of archive footage about steel - the material that has not just forged Sheffield but the entire nation. K2 – The Summit chronicles the worst K2 climbing disaster in history, when 11 climbers perished on this notoriously dangerous mountain. In forensic detail, the survivors tell their chilling stories.

Other Storyville films screening during the festival include Richard Pryor: Omit The Logic - a moving portrait of the legendary comedian, chronicling his meteoric rise to become one of the most respected comic actors of the 20th century and infamous personal problems at the height of his fame. Featuring Mel Brooks, Robin Williams, Dave Chappelle, Paul Mooney and a host of others, the film offers unprecedented access to members of his family and inner circle.

Smash And Grab tells the gripping story of the Serbian Pink Panthers - the world's most successful gang of jewel thieves – and the Interpol task force set up to stop them. The Great Hip Hop Hoax is the incredible story of a Californian hip hop duo tipped for major success, but who, unbeknownst to their record company, were actually students from Scotland with fake American accents and made up identities. The Road To Fame follows students at China’s top drama academy as they attempt to stage the American musical Fame in China’s first official collaboration with Broadway.

In Shooting Big Foot, filmmaker Morgan Matthews heads to America to meet an extraordinary cast of unlikely adventurers intent on proving the existence of Big Foot. Solar Mamas follows the remarkable story of a Jordanian mother, who - along with other mothers and grandmothers from poor communities around the world – travels to India to train as a solar engineer and bring light and electricity back to her village.

Also screening at Doc/Fest is Black Fish – a Storyville acquisition about a killer whale at a Florida sea life park who has been involved in the deaths of three people, including a top killer-whale trainer, in a film that explores the sometimes devastating consequences of keeping killer whales in captivity.