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SHEFFIELD DOC FEST 2020 Marketplace

Sheffield Doc/Fest announces its selection for this year’s virtual marketplace

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- The UK-based gathering has had to adapt to the current situation and is moving its flagship industry initiative online

Sheffield Doc/Fest announces its selection for this year’s virtual marketplace
Belgian director Amélie van Elmbt, who is taking part in MeetMarket with her debut documentary, Dreaming Walls

Having had to adapt to current circumstances, Sheffield Doc/Fest has moved its flagship industry initiative into the virtual world. As a result, MeetMarket, which is focused on features and series, and the Alternate Realities Talent Market, intended for new-media creatives, will unspool via video conference from 8-10 June.

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Patrick Hurley, Doc/Fest’s director of marketplace and talent, stated: “We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from our global network of industry decision makers ever since we announced the plan to run a virtual market this year. Everyone remains keen to connect, which is fantastic because this year’s selected projects are incredibly strong and exciting. It’s been inspiring to witness other markets successfully switch to a virtual format. The feedback from participants in Thessaloniki and CPH:DOX has been great, and we market organisers are talking to each other plenty in order to share tips on best practices.”

Starting with the MeetMarket, 48 projects have been selected from among the 500 submitted, and they will be presented to international industry professionals. The selection includes mainly newcomers, as 20 of them are being directed by debutant filmmakers, and 21 are new works from emerging directors who have already made up to three films. Hurley also added: “We are delighted by the proportion of first-time and emerging filmmakers represented in this year’s slate, whose projects rose to the top through a rigorous selection process. These ideas for new documentaries are timely, creative and presented by teams who we absolutely believe will deliver stunning results.”

More than half of the projects, 25, are European co-productions, and some of the highlights are Eskape, the sophomore film by Neary Adeline Hay (Angkar [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), who once again deals with post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia in a survival story about a mother and a daughter; Belgium’s Amélie van Elmbt (The Elephant and the Butterfly [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Amélie van Elmbt
film profile
]
) and her debut documentary, Dreaming Walls, which follows the renovation of New York’s Chelsea Hotel; Atomic Hope, the new project by Irish director Frankie Fenton (It's Not Yet Dark [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), which follows a small group of pro-nuclear power advocates; and BAFTA-winning drama director Beryl Richards, who chronicles the troubled love story of her adopted son, Joe, in Hello Stranger.

Furthermore, in Untitled Saudi Football Girls, Sarah McCarthy (The Dark Matter of Love) and Anjali Nayar (Silas) follow those in charge of Saudi Arabia’s female soccer team during its first international season; Greenland’s Ivalo Frank is bringing along the poetic documentary Siunissaq – The Last Human, on the theme of the origins of life; Russian documentarian Denis Shabaev (Mira) follows a group of villagers who manufacture sex toys in Polymers; and East Doc Platform-winning (see the news) Ukrainian filmmaker Olga Zhurba is presenting her new project Roma. You can find the complete selection of MeetMarket here.

Meanwhile, 20 international teams have been confirmed to attend the Alternate Realities Talent Market, which is celebrating its seventh edition this year. The teams range from experienced individuals who have won VR awards at the Venice International Film Festival to artists who are availing themselves of the digital format for the first time. There is also a vast array of media that the teams are working with, ranging from VR headset experiences to multi-channel video installations, augmented reality, live motion capture, and immersive dance and theatre performances.

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