UK documentary festival Sheffield Doc/Fest has unveiled the programme for its 25th edition, which runs from June 7th to 12th. The programme features a vast array of UK and international non-fiction content including a record number of worlds, international, EU and UK premiere titles across the Film and Alternate Realities programmes. Included in this year’s lineup are 4 films from Ireland: The Ballymurphy Precedent, I, Dolours, The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid, and Lovers of the Night.
Callum Macrae’s The Ballymurphy Precedent will have it’s world premiere at the festival. The film tells the unknown story death of eleven innocent people at the hands of the British Army in a Catholic estate in Belfast in 1971. This is a massacre that few have heard of, yet it was one of the most significant events in the Troubles. The British army continues to cover it up because they cannot afford to admit the truth. The relatives of those who died are fighting for justice – and our investigation shows why. This secret massacre led directly to the Bloody Sunday killings by the same Parachute regiment just five months later.
Maurice Sweeney’s I, Dolours, which is enjoying its European premiere at the festival, is a complex portrait of Dolours Price, militant IRA activist, hunger striker and dissident Republican who two years before she died gave a filmed interview on condition that it would not be broadcast in her lifetime.
Fergal Ward’s The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid will have its UK premiere at SheffDocFest. Thomas Reid farms cattle on his 70 acres of land outside the town of Leixlip in Ireland. He lives alone in a 300-year-old farmhouse; threadbare clothes, self-cut hair and tough, weathered hands reveal a life of land and toil. Thomas’s next-door neighbour occupies 350 acres of industrialized land and is the biggest producer of computer microchips in the world. Rumour of further industrial expansion abound, and the quiet and reclusive Thomas reluctantly finds himself in the face of impending change. The State issues an unprecedented Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) against him; Thomas is to be forced from his ancestral home and lands. This is the film of a man who stubbornly holds out in the face of adversity. A layered portrait of man and land, power and principle will unfold.
Anna Frances Ewert’s Lovers of the Night will have it’s European premiere. The film is a contemplative portrait of a monastery and small farm in rural Ireland that spotlights seven elderly monks, who reflect on faith, aging and the challenges they face with frankness and humour. Punctuated by atmospheric footage of the surrounding countryside, the film captures sacred rituals and the Fathers’ everyday pleasures, notably following the fortunes of Munster’s provincial rugby team.
Also screening at the festival is Northern Irish filmmaker Mark Cousins’ The Eyes of Orson Welles. With exclusive access to hundreds of private drawings and paintings by Orson Welles, Cousins dives into the world of the legendary man to reveal a portrait of the artist as he’s never been seen – through Welles’ own eyes. He vividly brings to life the passions, politics and power of this brilliant 20th-century showman, exploring his genius in the age of Trump.
Sheffield Doc/Fest is a world leading and the UK’s premier documentary festival, celebrating the art and business of documentary and all non-fiction storytelling.