Sheffield stars in major city film festival

More than 3,400 film, TV and digital industry delegates are expected to attend Sheffield Doc/Fest

Film fans are counting down the days to the start of Sheffield Doc/Fest which this year will see the University of Sheffield kicking off the event and playing a major part in the packed programme.

The documentary film festival – which is regarded as one of the best in the world – opens in the city on Friday 5 June 2015 and will run for six days celebrating documentary and factual storytelling in all forms.

The world premiere of The Greatest Shows on Earth: A Century of Vaudeville, Circuses and Carnivals, is the opening night event at Sheffield City Hall. The film is based on exclusive access to the University’s National Fairground Archive (NFA) and the expertise of NFA Director and Head of Engagement at the University of Sheffield, Professor Vanessa Toulmin.

Director Benedikt Erlingsson will take the audience back to the days when the most outlandish, skillful and breath-taking acts travelled the world. The film tells the story of circus performers, cabaret acts and fairground attractions with rarities and never-before-seen footage of fairgrounds, circus entertainment and vaudeville along with music hall and seaside entertainment all chronicled from the 19th and 20th century.

It will also feature an epic new score by Georg Hólm and Orri Páll Dýrason of Icelandic rock band Sigur Rós in collaboration with the Head of Iceland’s Pagan Church, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson.

There will also be a live circus show and a question and answer session from the director and the band members.

Mark Atkin, Acting Festival Director said: “Sheffield Doc/Fest is already one of the top three documentary festivals in the world and is continuing to grow.

‘We are delighted to be expanding our partnership with the University of Sheffield to co-produce and co-host a number of inspiring events which are sure to encourage even more Sheffield people to engage with this year’s festival.’

The festival, now in its 22nd year, will close with the international premiere of Monty Python: The Meaning of Live, a film about the ups and downs of the Python troupe as they were preparing for last year’s comeback – their first live show in 34 years. It will be followed by a conversation with Michael Palin and directors Roger Graef and James Rogan.

Sheffield Doc/Fest takes place annually and is attended by over 3,400 film, TV and digital industry delegates. 2015 is the third year that University of Sheffield has worked in partnership with Sheffield Doc/Fest.

For a full list of Doc/Fest events visit

Images courtesy of the University of Sheffield Library’s National Fairground Archive.

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