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Vicky McClure among first announcements for Sheffield Documentary Festival 2018

This year's festival is beginning to shape up, with big-name speakers and talented live performers

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It may not be known for the glitz and glamour of Venice or have the ultra-famous reputation of Cannes, but the Sheffield Documentary Festival is a highly respected part of the cinematic calendar. Taking place this year from 7-12th June, the festival is sure to be packed with plenty of intriguing films, covering all manner of topics. The decidedly dicey state of world affairs may come under the microscope, but there is no end to the fascinating array of subjects documentarians can tackle; so we can only guess at what films we will see at this year's event.

Image: Channel 4

Having said that, we have had a few bits of information from the festival to whet appetites. There is a focus on Northern talent with the announcement of headline talks from Vicky McClure, Guy Martin and Mark Cousins. This is England and Line of Duty star McClure will appear to discuss her part in making a new BBC series on dementia and music therapy. The talk itself will be dementia-friendly. World-record holder and TV motorbike-man Guy Martin is the subject of this year's Channel 4 interview, covering topics including his love of engineering. The final big-name draw announced so far is Mark Cousins, the writer and filmmaker behind The Story of Film: An Odyssey. He will give a lecture on the concept of 'looking' that will be followed by a Q&A.

The festival have also announced that there will be live performances in Sheffield this year. They consist of three music-based affairs, each accompanying a screening. This will include the live performance of GAIKA's score for Black Mother, a portrait of the Jamaican streets. Also on the bill are beatboxer Reeps One and Singaporean vocal-loop artist Weish, who brings their skills Sundance winner Shirkers.

These early announcements of talks and live performances indicates that this 25th Sheffield Doc Fest will be full of varied and dynamic programming. CEO and Festival Director Liz McIntyre says of the announcement, "I am thrilled that Doc/Fest is presenting these exceptional live events for the Festival's 25th edition. Powerful artistic partnerships fuel explosions in creativity, for new ways of storytelling and seeing the world. Collaboration is at the heart of Doc/Fest: this year, it feels more important than ever that we celebrate connections between global artists." With plenty more still to be announced but exciting people already involved, Sheffield Documentary Festival 2018 is starting to shape up.

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