Sheffield’s Doc/Fest Opens Today

Sheffield’s Doc/Fest, in its 19th consecutive year, features 120 docs and wall-to-wall sessions that will inspire, provoke and entertain in equal measure.

This year Doc/Fest welcomes a number of special guests. At the two Opening Night events, indie rock band British Sea Power will perform the soundtrack to “From the Sea to the Land Beyond” from filmmaker Penny Woolcock. Later that same evening, ‘70s singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez will attend “Searching for Sugar Man.”

On June 17, punk poet John Cooper Clarke will attend for “Essentially John Cooper Clarke.” On June 16, director Julien Temple will be at the festival for his new doc Glastopia. Also on June 16, the Finnish punk band Pertti Kurikka’s “Name Day” will play following the screening of their film The Punk Syndrome.”

On June 17 at 2:30 p.m. at the HUBS, Turner prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller will talk about how music has played a major role in his films, followed by a sneak preview of the new film, “The Bruce Lacey Experience,” directed by Deller and Nick Abrahams. This intimate portrait showcases the irrepressible Bruce Lacey — an artist, musician, robot maker, shaman and all round silly bugger — who, at the age of 85, is still living the bohemian dream, creating art and magic in a farmhouse near Norwich. Deller’s work is also part of a multi-artist exhibition: “A Peculiar Form of Fiction,” at the Site Gallery and S1 Artspace.

Also within the sessions programme, the festival welcomes BAFTA award-winner Gareth Malone, last seen conducting the Military Wives at the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Concert, and Michael Apted, renowned director of the “7 Up” TV series. And on June 15 at 12:30 p.m. at the Crucible Studio, BAFTA will present the team behind the extraordinary “Frozen Planet” season.

Making a rare trip from their isolated mountain home in Colombia, members of the Kogi — the last indigenous tribe of the Sierra Nevada, and the subject of the Alan Eriera’s doc “Aluna” — are in Sheffield on June 15 and 17 to show us how to reconnect with the world we’ve been over-exploiting.

The festival also will welcome activist Tim Pool, who became an overnight online phenomenon the night Occupy Wall Street was first evicted from Zuccotti Park in New York City. His live stream marathon drew more than 20,000 simultaneous viewers and 250,000 unique visitors throughout the course of the day.

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