Sheffield Doc/Fest Podcast

Newsnight has been the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs programme for over 30 years. Newsnight Editor, Ian Katz, joined the programme in 2013, before which he was Deputy Editor and Head of News at the Guardian newspaper. In conversation with Nick Fraser, Ian will discuss Newsnight’s introduction of a short form documentary element to the programme and the relationship between nightly current affairs, short form content and documentary.

With speakers Ian Katz and Nick Fraser. 

Direct download: Newsnight_Documemtary.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

Climate change is one of the major issues of our time. But covering it on TV is a huge creative challenge. Broadcasters are keen to give it more air time, but they want producers to find a fresh approach. In this session we explore how climate change can be reframed, so that it is seen not just as an environmental issue but one which affects all aspects of life. Sponsored by IBT

With speakers Joe Smith, Emily Shuckburgh, David Glover, Cassian Harrison and Mark Galloway. 

Direct download: Re-framing_Climate_Change.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am UTC


Throughout the year, Doc/Fest has been holding a series of Interactive Filmmaking Workshops around England, supported by Creative England and in partnership with Crossover Labs. These workshops have been investigating six different interactive storytelling platforms; Klynt, Racontr, Korsakow, Popcorn, Interlude Treehouse and Storygami. Reporter Gemma McKinnie will deliver the final verdict on each platform, and will be joined by a panel to discuss the pros and cons of each tool. Supported by Creative England

With speakers Gemma McKinnie, Clare Tavernor, Florian Thalhofer, Maria Gemayel, Gerald Holubowicz and Philo van Kemenade. 

Direct download: Interactive_Filmmaking_101.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

The relationship between filmmaker and subject is a topic hotly debated by filmmakers, academics, and journalists. Methods such as undercover filming, encrypted communication and Skype allow filmmakers to reach individuals who may otherwise be reluctant to speak or difficult to meet in-person. However, unprecedented access to a compelling story can come with a risk to the individuals at the centre of the film. When the telling of a story has potential consequences, how can a filmmaker ensure the protection of their subjects? The panel members discuss circumstances in which the presence of a camera can be risky business.

With speakers Orlando Von Einsiedel, Juliana Ruhfus, Beadie Finzi and Kim Longinotto. 

Direct download: Dangerous_Storytelling.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

A panel discussion on the options available to filmmakers to create an impactful documentary score. We look back on how documentary scoring has evolved over the last 90 years. Have MIDI technologies and electronic plug-ins replaced the need to spend the time and money recording live musicians? Has technology given us more expressive and creative possibilities to storytell with sound in different ways? We will hear audio examples to see who can really tell the difference? The session will inform filmmakers and producers on the realistic options available, and give leading composers a chance to discuss which tools, money and direction they need from you to best perfect your score.


With speakers Kate Townsend, Ed Perkins, Patrick Jonsson, Brendan Woithe and Orlando Von Eiseiedel. 

Direct download: Scoring_a_Doc.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

A panel of doc filmmakers explored the art of cinematography in documentary filmmaking. They will discuss the creative and practical benefits cinematographers bring to the documentary filmmaking process and how best to visually express the story and about collaboration between producer, director, cinematographer and editor. 

With speakers Stephen Robinson, Brian Woods, Joanna Crickmay, Neil Harvey, Anthony Wonke, Nicola Daley and Vanessa Engle. 

Direct download: vision_and_intent.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

In a career spanning 20 years, Dan Reed has established a reputation as one of the most dedicated and talented filmmakers working in Britain today. The award-winning The Paedophile Hunter is widely hailed as the best single documentary of 2014. His acclaimed Terror trilogy uses UGC, CCTV and interviews to powerful effect, depicting acts of terror in seemingly real-time as they erupt across everyday settings. His latest film, The Escorts, screening at Doc/ Fest, takes viewers into the world of high class prostitution; he is also working on a film about money laundering and grand corruption in London. Channel 4’s Deputy Chief Creative Officer Ralph Lee was in conversation with Dan Reed about his body of work exploring the darker reaches of our modern lives.

Direct download: Dan_Reed_Interview.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell, stars of ITV's hit documentary series Long Lost Family, came to Sheffield to share their insights into the making of a programme that delivers some of the most emotionally powerful scenes ever seen on television. The series, which aims to reunite relatives after years of separation, is a powerful study of separation, hurt, regret, growing up, identity, family and love.

With Sally Benton, Leanne Klein, Davina McCall, Simon Dickson and Nicky Campbell. 

Direct download: Long_Lost_Family.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

How To Change The World has been wowing audiences at film festivals around the world. Here we joined producer Al Morrow, director Jerry Rothwell, editor Jim Scott and archive producer Elizabeth Klinck for a film archive masterclass.

Direct download: How_to_Change_the_World.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

Filmmakers around the world are facing grave consequences for expressing their creative viewpoint. Broadcasters are being pressured into delaying or cancelling the transmission of documentaries. Hostile nations are rumoured to have carried out cyber attacks following unfavourable portrayal. Are the potential risks to filmmakers and broadcasters outweighing the importance of a story? Is institutional self-censorship hindering vital stories being told? Does everyone have the right to a voice? We’ll hear from those who’ve been censored and those who’ve broken laws to tell their story. Our panel of noted filmmakers, broadcasters and journalists assess what freedom of expression represents in documentary filmmaking.

With Ursula Macfarlane, Patricia MacBride, Parvez Sharma and Nick Fraser

Direct download: Watching_What_We_Say.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

It might be 2015, but when it comes to gender equality, we are only just emerging from the dark ages. In this session, we discussed the challenges facing women trying to forge a career in the independent documentary industry. While there are certainly glimmers of hope –a record number of women directors are featured at Doc/Fest this year – we can’t lose sight of the fact that this remains a male dominated world – as we looked for ways to redress the balance.

With Cat Cooper, Corrina Antrobus, Leslee Udwin, Jeanie Finlay and Debra Zimmerm

Direct download: Women_In_Industry.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

A seminal figure of activist and 'engaged' cinema, British filmmaker John Akomfrah has been leading the charge for over 30 years. As one of the founders of the Black Audio Film Collective, which sought to use documentary to explore questions of black identity in Britain, Akomfrah has continually pushed boundaries in both form and content. We are delighted to be featuring a retrospective of his work in this year’s Doc/Fest. In this session he will discuss his remarkable career with Francine Stock, the presenter of The Film Programme on BBC Radio 4.

With John Akomfrah and Francine Stock

Direct download: Akomfrah.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

Joshua Oppenheimer's films include the BAFTA award-winning and Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing (2012), and the companion piece The Look of Silence (2014) - winner of the Grand Jury prize at the 2014 Venice Film Festival. He is the artistic director of the Centre for Documentary and Experimental Film at the University of Westminster and has worked for over a decade with militias, death squads and their victims to explore the relationship between political violence and the public imagination. In this in-depth masterclass, BBC1 Film Programme critic Danny Leigh, unpicks Joshua's methods and motivations and explore the meaning of his controversial and boundary-pushing films. 

Direct download: Joshua_Oppenheimer.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC


Shorts are taking the world by storm. Find out how new funding and distribution opportunities are helping that success. We’ll screen some of the best shorts from around the web, hear about Channel 4’s latest ‘shorts’ strategy and meet some pioneers who are using shorts to make the world a better place. Whether you are making shorts to get your story out fast, as a stepping-stone to long form docs or because you prefer your content in bite-size chunks, this panel will prepare you for your next ‘shorts’ encounter.

Direct download: Make_it_short.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

How do documentary commissioners win our attention in a crowded marketplace? Are the days of worthiness dead, replaced by documentary as brand enforcer and marketing tool for a channel? To secure a place in the schedules does documentary subject matter have to be provocative - grabbing tabloid headlines? Are commissioners and producers bringing important issues to their audiences?

Direct download: Commissioning_Panel_Documentary.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC


From climate change to medical emergencies to self-experimentation and radical cures, science is rarely immune to controversy. Join journalist and presenter Jon Snow and documentary makers, Ingvil Giske (Good Girl), Teresa Camou (Sunu) and artist, Brian Lobel, to explore how to turn political hot potatoes into groundbreaking and insightful science stories with the potential to change lives. 

Direct download: Making_Waves.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC


Join comedian Robin Ince to explore the uncharted territories of unthinkable, forgotten and dream commissions. Following a scene-setting talk, Robin is joined by academic, David A. Kirby, writer and campaigner, Alice Bell and Executive Producer, Tom Gorham to glean from the history of science, the silver screen and science fiction.

Direct download: Final_Frontiers_101.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC


Sheffield Doc/Fest welcomes historian and TV presenter Lucy Worsley to the 2015 Festival. Lucy’s inimitable way of bringing English history to life has made her a firm TV favourite. Her most recent programmes for the BBC include; The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain (2014) and Dancing Cheek To Cheek: An Intimate History of Dance (2014) with Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman. Lucy will share insights into her work as both a presenter and social historian, which focuses on where history meets human interest. 

Direct download: Lucy_Worsley.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

A masterclass with the celebrated American documentary filmmaker Brett Morgan. Dubbed the ‘mad scientist’ of documentary film by The New York Times, Morgan is best known for his films Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane, The Kid Stays In The Picture, about the legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans, and now Cobain: Montage of Heck, his portrait of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, billed by Rolling Stone as ‘the most intimate rock doc ever’. 

Direct download: Brett_Morgan.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC


A chance to hear BBC controller Kim Shillinglaw, who will discuss her ambitions for the future of factual on her channels, BBC 2 and BBC 4. Kim will be in conversation with the makers of the new BBC 2 series The Detectives, following a Greater Manchester Police specialist unit investigating sex offences. Kim will also talk about her wider ambitions for narrative and storytelling on BBC 2 and BBC 4. 

Direct download: Kim_Shillinglaw.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

Over the last few years Chris King has earned himself a reputation as one of the most creative and incisive documentary editors in Britain, bagging two Academy Award nominations, two BAFTAs, and numerous other awards for projects like Senna, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Our Way and Welcome To Lagos. In a conversation with Sam Anthony from BBC Factual Commissioning, Chris will share his unique take on storytelling, illustrated with numerous clips, as well as despatches from some of the most creative cutting rooms in the country

Direct download: Chris_King.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

This year The BBC Interview invites choirmaster, presenter and populariser of choral singing, Gareth Malone to join them for an exclusive interview. Explore Gareth’s extraordinary rise to fame, and hear how his passion for music has reignited interest in choral music through the BAFTA and RTS award-winning BBC 2 series The Choir. His 2011 follow-up series The Choir: Military Wives led Gareth to not only beat the annual X Factor winner’s single to Christmas Number 1, but the single is the most pre-ordered music item of all time on Amazon in the UK


Taken from Doc/Fest 2012

Direct download: Gareth_Malone.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

In the changing world of print journalism, newspapers and magazines have to adapt quickly to the increasing demand of readers on television, on the net, and even on their phones. In order to address this widening gap between news and technology, traditional print media have begun to incorporate video and film work to heighten, enhance and even stand for their work. This panel will discuss how media outlets are commissioning and incorporating video and how filmmakers can find a place, and a voice in this medium. 


Recorded at Doc/Fest 2011. 


Direct download: Cinematic_Journalism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

A Masterclass with Bedlam Productions' Gareth Unwin, Simon Egan and Simon Breen as they celebrate the success of The Kings Speech (2010) and discuss their latest documentary projects. They will also examine how the demand for history films often results in documentaries that become dramas. 

Taken from Doc/Fest 2011.



Direct download: Bedlam_Masterclass.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am UTC

Adam Curtis is a documentary maker with one of the most distinctive visual styles. Prolific in his blogging about some of the world’s most pressing issues, his films often reflect the opinions and arguments he has developed through meticulous research and rigorous planning. In various series commissioned by the BBC, Curtis has made extensive and imaginative use of their archive footage, often employing it as a visual accompaniment to his informative narrative. Recipient of Doc/Fest's inaugural Sheffield Inspiration Award and the winner of numerous other accolades, Curtis has built a reputation for consistently producing innovative output across different spectrums. His films can be broadly characterised by their thought provoking content, carried by twists of irony and laconic humour. His credits include The Living Dead, The Century of the Self and The Power of Nightmares, and span across a career stretching 25 years. 


In this session from Doc/Fest 2011, Adam will be discussing the inspiration behind his latest documentary, All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace. The Three-part series questions that altruistic nature of the human species, and explores the philosophical parallels that can be drawn between machines and ourselves. 


Direct download: Adam_Curtis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm UTC

Want to know the tricks of the trade for making your first documentary? Well this is the place to start. This session will cover the crucial areas for making your first feature documentary, looking at how to put your crew together, creative ways to raise a budget, how to make that all important taster video and how to gain access to that amazing story and pitch it. Hear firsthand from a range of young filmmakers who have managed to break through the industry. 

This session was part of the Film Nation: Shorts scheme, a competition that invites young people to make, and vote for, films celebrating the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Recorded at Doc/Fest 2011.

Direct download: Film-maker_Masterclass.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 5:00am UTC

British feature documentary hot shots come together to debate the space for docs on the silver screen. Every panellist will bring something different, from highlighting the importance of a story's international appeal, to enlisting a solid key crew, to using an authentic stylistic approach-feature producers, directors and distributors will be sharing their experiences with the audience. 


Direct download: Theatrical_Docs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

Recorded at Doc/Fest 2011. The mass media of the past century have been restrictive by nature, with audiences confined to a passive role- but that has now completely changed. The inclusive nature of the Internet invites open participation amongst storytellers and audiences alike, and that means putting the audience right and the centre of the action in a game-like fashion. Storytellers of every stripe will now have to learn a new grammar of storytelling, one that is only now being invented. The challenge for those working within the media industry is to keep up with these changes- and the question becomes, how can storytellers use the new possibilities at their disposal to their advantage? 


Direct download: Frank_Rose.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

What does it take to be a successful indie? How to stay around long term? Come and hear from some different companies. KEO Films, Storyvault Films and Century Films work mainly in the UK and World of Wonder works mainly in the USA> All have been making prime time TV for years and have chosen to remain independent rather than get bought by a super indie. What are the pros and cons of not selling to a studio or a super indie? Hear how they stay alive and thrive in today's landscape. From Doc/Fest 2014.

Direct download: Running_an_Indie_Doc.m4a
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 7:00am UTC


Join film legend Albert Maysles of Maysles Films in a conversation featuring selections from his unsurpassed body of work, which spans over 55 years of filmmaking. This masterclass is from Doc/Fest 2011. The inaugural recipient of The Sheffield Docfest Lifetime Achievement Award will take questions about his iconic work — from Gimme Shelter and Grey Gardens to Muhammad and Larry and current projects — and share his philosophy as a documentary filmmaker. He was the guest of honor at the Friday Night Gala Dinner.

Direct download: Albert_Maysles.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 1:55pm UTC

Join legendary journalist and presenter Jon Snow for this Conversation session from Doc/Fest 2014. Jon will discuss his extensive career in television and share some highlights with the audience. 


Direct download: John_Snow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:37pm UTC


Channel 4 pioneered the use of The Rig with The Family. Since then the technology has spawned many series from 24 Hours in A&E to One Born Every Minute and it’s now pushing into new territories such as The Marines. After having changed the way that we view many traditional observational documentary spaces, The Rig itself is now transforming. First the more mobile mini-rig used in The Chicken Shop and Nightclub Toilet and now the Digital Rig. Channel 4 commissioned RAW to take The Rig a step further and reflect our digital life - the thoughts and feelings that are captured on mobile phones and computer screens, but which don’t necessarily feature in real world conversations and interactions.

This gave rise to the ‘D-Rig’ which has been used to explore the connections and secret life of students and teens, effectively providing a whole different narrative and perspective on their lives. For 4 months the D-Rig captured every text, call, tweet and Facebook update of twelve students alongside traditional observational filming. This data was then used on screen to tell the complete story of the social network of students. In this session Dimitri Doganis and Emma Cooper discuss the vision for the D-Rig, the impact it had on the narrative (effectively providing two sets of rushes), the implications of using the data and the reaction of the contributors to seeing their digital lives.

Direct download: Behind_the_Digital_Rig-_The_Secret_Life_of_Students.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am UTC


Roger Graef OBE has been a leading figure in the TV documentary industry over the last 50 years. As a director, producer and executive producer, he has been responsible for more than 160 documentaries, a number of which have directly influenced policing, criminal justice and social policy. His pioneering contributions include developing the fly-on-the-wall technique and creating the first TV documentary co-production in the UK. Introduced by Brian Woods, Roger Graef is in conversation with Robyn Bright discussing the last half-century of documentary filmmaking in Britain, explored through a chronological selection of Roger’s landmark films.

Direct download: Roger_Graef_2014_reduced.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 11:00am UTC


This session, from Sheffield DocFest 2104, looks at fact-based drama (examples: Argo, Last King of Scotland, Rush) vs docudrama (Dreams of a Life, The Imposter, Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight). With the new UK tax credit designed to encourage drama, comedy and documentaries, how can documentary makers take advantage of it? When does it make sense to look at filming your story as a docudrama or as a fact-based drama? When do the facts get in the way of a good drama and vice-versa? Speakers include Penny Woolcock, Neil McKay, Tony Grisoni and Leslie Lee.

Direct download: Based_on_a_True_Story_reduced.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 11:00am UTC


A masterclass on the craft of documentary filmmaking with BAFTA-winning filmmaker Olly Lambert who was awarded the Current Affairs award at the 2104 Arqiva British Academy Television Awards for his film Syria: Across The Lines. Olly has also been awarded the BAFTA Scotland Documentary Series Award for The Great Game with Rory Stewart. Seen as one of the most accomplished filmmakers in factual today, Olly makes films about ordinary people caught in extraordinary situations, thoughtfully portraying their worlds with care and an honest intimacy, and often using their stories to shed light on international current affairs. As recipient of the 2014 Peter McGhee Fellowship award, Olly has been honoured as a filmmaker whose work reflects excellence, intelligence, fairness and scholarship. Grierson, Rory Peck and RTS-winning speaker Olly shares insights into his filmmaking from the perspective of journalist, director and cinematographer.

Direct download: BAFTA_Olly_Lambert_reduced.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 4:22pm UTC


How are we treating the intimate subject of sex and sexuality on TV? As we increasingly push the boundaries of what we can show on television, are certain subjects still invisible, misrepresented or taboo? Questioning the necessity of being explicit or provocative, our expert panel of leading documentary commissioners and filmmakers look at the changing attitudes towards sex, and their role in shaping our understanding of human sexuality, in all its forms. From female sexuality, to young people, bisexuality, pornography addiction, and on to the elderly, who remind us they're not quietly tucked up in bed. The panel includs Greg Sanderson, Sunny Bergman, Barbara Truyen, Sara Ramsden and Anna Rodgers.

Direct download: Sex_on_Screen_reduced.mp3
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 11:00am UTC