Sheffield Doc/Fest announced June 2 2020 that Alex Cooke has been appointed as Chair of its Board of Trustees. From 1997 to 2001 Cooke was a film programmer of Sheffield Doc/Fest, programming films and masterclasses. She is currently the CEO and one of the two founders of Renegade Pictures.
With charitable status awarded in October 2019 and Cíntia Gil having taken over as Festival Director in November 2019, Cooke will be responsible for sustaining good governance and fiscal probity. Working alongside the executive team, “she will lead the board to enhance Doc/Fest’s long-standing reputation for supporting the non-fiction filmmakers – engaging existing and new stakeholders and acting as an advocate for Doc/Fest domestically and internationally,” the festival stated.
Cooke has jointly overseen Renegade Pictures’ rapid growth and its acquisition, seven years ago, by Warner Brothers. Last year she initiated and executive-produced Doing Money, her first feature length drama for BBC2. The film has won many international awards and was nominated for both Broadcast and RTS awards. Over the past ten years Alex has jointly produced a range of feature documentaries for American, British and international broadcasters including Baghdad High by Ivan O’Mahoney, Children Of The Tsunami by Dan Reed, Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, and The Yes Men Fix The World.
She has also overseen the development and production of many current affairs and documentaries for Broadcast Television. Alongside running Renegade, Alex spent six years as an active Trustee on the Board of The Grierson Trust. Her work as a director includes the BBC current affairs documentaries Closing Guantanamo (with Michael Portillo), Tea Party America (with Andrew Neil) and United Gates Of America.
On joining the Board of Trustees, Cooke said: “I was involved in the very early days of the Festival, having spent four inspiring years as festival programmer at the start of my professional career. I am delighted to come back to the festival as Chair to work with my peers on both the Advisory Committee and the board and to support a dedicated and impressive festival team, who have worked through enormous difficulties recently to keep the festival successfully on track. I owe a great deal to the festival, and I cherish the community it nurtures, both domestically and internationally. I love that the festival not only celebrates such a varied range of excellent documentary work, but also gives us, as practitioners and viewers, an opportunity to reflect on and debate our ambitions and priorities.”
Cíntia Gil, Festival Director, added: “I welcome Alex Cooke as Sheffield Doc/Fest’s new Chair, and I look forward to working with her to imagine the future of the festival. We are living [through] challenging times, and Alex’s enthusiasm and vast experience will be essential to Doc/Fest’s mission for its audiences and among the film industry, creating anengaging and hopeful environment for all of us.”