Sheffield Doc/Fest announces selections for virtual marketplace

Sheffield Doc/Fest announces selections for virtual marketplace

For the 15th edition of MeetMarket, 48 projects chosen from over 500 submissions have been invited to present online to international industry representatives including funds, foundations, commissioning editors for broadcast and SVOD platforms, distributors, sales agents, festival programmers, NGOs, and co-production partners. 


The Alternate Realities Talent Market, now in its 7th edition, seeks to foster collaborations between artists, creatives and organisations focused on using digital technologies to push storytelling in exciting new directions. This year 20 teams have been selected for matchmaking with curators, exhibitors, galleries, museums, international festivals, broadcasters, funding bodies, NGOs and distributors.


Says Patrick Hurley, Doc/Fest’s Director of Marketplace & Talent: “We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from our global network of industry decision makers since we announced the plan to run a virtual market this year. Everyone remains keen to connect which is fantastic because this year’s selected projects are incredibly strong and exciting.”


This year’s Marketplace will present projects from 30 countries including Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greenland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Kenya, Myanmar [Burma], Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.



At MeetMarket 20 of the 48 selected projects (42%) have a first-time filmmaker attached to direct, while 21 (44%) are new works from emerging directors. Twenty of the projects will be pitched by established producers (3+ films completed), many of whom are teaming up with new and emerging directors.


“We are delighted by the proportion of first-time and emerging filmmakers represented in this year’s slate whose projects rose to the top through a rigorous selection process. These ideas for new documentaries are timely, creative, and presented by teams who we absolutely believe will deliver stunning result,” comments Hurley.


Thematically the MeetMarket continues to offer prospective industry partners “a veritable smorgasbord of projects spanning a wide range of topics, territories and creative approaches”. 


This year’s MeetMarket external assessment committee comprised Salma Abdalla & Andrea Hock (Autlook Film Sales), Vesna Cudic (Met Film Sales,) Tiny Mungwe (STEPS / Durban FilmMart), Roxy Rezvany (Director/Producer), Eric Sloss (Cinetic Media) and Olivier Tournaud (Cinephil). 


For organisations so-far confirmed to take part, see below.*



The creative teams this year range from exciting emerging artists working in digital for the first time, to veteran VR Award winners at Venice Film Festival. There is a wide range of media that the participants are working in, ranging from VR headset experiences, to multi-channel video installations, augmented reality, live motion capture, and immersive dance and theatre performances.


This year’s cohort was selected with an external assessment committee comprised of Catherine Baxendale (Invisible Flock), Emma Cooper (VR gamemakers Cooperative Innovations), Alex Davidson (The Barbican) and Julia Scott-Stevenson (i-Docs/UWE).


For confirmed industry representatives, see below**.





Against the Tide


Director: Sarvnik Kaur

Producer: Koval Bhatia

Climate change is scorching the world of two brothers. Alienated from the other, they’re pushed in different directions for survival.




Director/Producer: Shaunak Sen

A story of Delhi’s apocalyptic air is told through the black-kite, the dragonfly and their human entanglements. Two brothers, ex body-builders, open a healing-centre for kites in their garage, treating thousands every year. An ecologist wages an absurd battle to resettle dragonflies outside Delhi.


Are You Wearing You!?

Uganda, South Africa

Director: Nikissi Serumaga

Producers: Lesedi Oluko Moche, Patience Katushabe

A luxury designer returns home to make a streetwear brand from Ugandan cotton in Kampala, a mecca of 2nd hand clothes. But this innocuous crop is electric, and exploring home with fresh eyes unravels complex histories and uncertain futures for his young generation in a country on its knees.


Atomic Hope


Director: Frankie Fenton

Producer: Kathryn Kennedy

A small number of unpopular pro-nuclear advocates have positioned themselves in a David and Goliath battle, to save the climate with a proven yet completely misunderstood and mythicized solution; carbon free nuclear power.


Bam Bam: The Story Of Sister Nancy


Director: Alison Duke

Producers: Alison Duke, Ngardy Conteh George

‘Bam Bam-The Story of Sister Nancy’ is a feature documentary that explores the wild story behind the making and prolific exploitation of the world’s most popular reggae anthem today.



United States

Directors: Bella Graves, Adam Dietrich

Producers: Susan Bedusa, Douglas Tirola

Bella’s life was irreparably changed at age 13 when a fake profile of her was posted online, leading to a series of pedophiles arriving at her doorstep with instructions to rape her. Ten years later, Bella investigates this online sexual assault and confronts the childhood friend who betrayed her.


Caring for Kathryn

United States

Director: Adam Isenberg

Producer: Senem Tüzen

Kathryn’s ALS has left her paralyzed and her family’s relations in tatters. Though despair finally overwhelms her, she holds on to see her daughter’s wedding.


Children Of The Mist


Director: HA LE Diem

Producers: Swann Dubus, TRAN Phuong Thao

In the misty mountains of North Vietnam, a teenage Hmong girl walks the thin line between childhood and becoming an adult. Over a period of two years, girls in her minority are forced to lose their innocence, discover the traps of seduction, or fight for their independence.


Don’t Call Me Mad

United Kingdom, Germany

Director: Zora Kuettner

Producer: Loran Dunn

After uncovering a never-before-seen archive, a filmmaker revisits an idealistic, politically charged psychiatric trial her father led in the 90s. As father and daughter track down the last surviving patients, they face up to our progress in mental health care and are affronted by our shortcomings.



Azerbaijan, Czech Republic

Director: Imam Jabirowich Hasanow

Producer: Maria Ibrahimova

Mamed, a former football player from the remote village of Sheki, is dedicated to forming an all-girl football team. But in traditional Sheki, not everyone agrees that girls should play football.


Dreaming Walls

Belgium, France, Netherlands, Sweden

Director: Amélie van Elmbt

Producer: Hanne Phlypo

The New York Chelsea Hotel is being renovated into a luxury hotel. In the chaos of the construction, the remaining residents hold on and try to keep the bohemian spirit alive.


Drifting Images


Director: Nicolás Tabilo

Producer: Felipe Garrido

A documentary-essay that submerges us in a sensorial experience about love, forgiveness and the lack of communication between a son and his mother where secrets and painful childhood traumas from the past come to life through images from the present and the future.



United States

Director: Nesa Azimi

Producers: Elise McCave, Kellen Quinn

DRIVER follows a community of women truck drivers. Threatened by sexual violence and bound by a system in which multibillion-dollar megacarriers leave the individual driver anonymous and disposable, one woman brings together a group of drivers to find strength, solidarity, and self-determination.


Eat / Sleep/ Cheer / Repeat


Director: Tanya Doyle

Producers: Daniel Hegarty, Sinead Ni Bhroin

This is the world of competitive Cheerleading in Ireland. No girls cheering male sports teams on from the sidelines. No American wannabes. Instead future Olympians…big stunts…strong girls battling stereotypes…Real girl power.




Director: Neary Adeline Hay

Producers: Fabrizio Polpettini, Jasmin Basic

The survival story of a mother and her daughter, the filmmaker, through the desperate flight from a crumbling Cambodia after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime.


F@CK This Job

United Kingdom

Director: Vera Krichevskaya

Producers: Mike Lerner, Vera Krichevskaya

Natasha is a newly rich and successful woman who decides to open an independent TV station – Dozhd in Putin’s Russia. Natasha hires young reporters and minorities, as LGBTQ. Soon her “baby” became the lone island of political and sexual freedom. She lost all her money and started fighting.


Friends Not Food

United States

Director: Jason Goldman

Producer: Elizabeth MacKenzie

Friends Not Food is an observational documentary that follows Renee King-Sonnen in her daily work of rescuing farm animals and aiding ranchers in transitioning their businesses out of animal agriculture. As seen through her tireless efforts, the film will explore the complex process of farm transformation. 


Hello Stranger

United Kingdom

Director: Beryl Richards

Producer: Alex Usborne

BAFTA winning drama director Beryl Richards chronicles the troubled love story of adopting son Joe. Told through 30 years of home video footage; family therapy reports; doc footage; and lyrical sequences, Hello Stranger uncovers an emotional and challenging story of identity, memory and motherhood.


How To Build A Library


Directors/Producers: Maia Lekow & Christopher King

Two ambitious women are on a mission to revitalize Nairobi’s dilapidated libraries, and bring them up to speed with the rapidly expanding metropolis. But before realizing their dream, they must navigate the patriarchal halls of politics and address the colonial past.


I Am Sarah

United Kingdom, Germany

Director: Charly Wai Feldman

Producers: Anna Von Dziembowska, Daniel Druhora

I am Sarah follows young Sarah Mardini, a Syrian swimmer turned humanitarian in Europe, at a critical point in her life: she’s accused of running a people smuggling operation by the Greek government and could face a life sentence. In her fight for justice, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery.


In Whose Name?

Brazil, United States

Directors: Veronica Medina-Matzner, Natalia Castro Leite

Producers: Erica de Freitas, Veronica Medina-Matzner

Synopsis withheld. For more information, please contact the organisers.


Just A Band

United States, Canada, Kenya

Director: Anjali Nayar

Producers: Wanuri Kahiu, Caryn Capotosto, Katie Doering

Four nerdy Nairobians drop out of university to form an Afroelectric pop band, a counter-narrative to the lives expected of them. Borrowing from a post-modern cultural mishmash of Sun Ra and blaxploitation films, the film is a fresh coming-of-age story in the post-dictatorship art renaissance.


La Vida Es Un Musical

Denmark, Sweden

Director: Patty Pajak

Producers: Emil Johnsen, Thor Hampus Bank

‘La Vida es un musical’ follows the transformation into adolescence of Alvaro, a vivid, philosophical child who’s biggest passion is to perform musicals – on the stage and on the town square – and dress as a lady. How do you stay true to your passion and dreams when you’re told that you are wrong.



United States

Director: Alex Pritz

Producer: William Miller

When a group of Brazilian farmers expand into a new area of the Amazon rainforest, a conflict erupts at the forest’s edge. 


Made In Ethiopia

United Kingdom, United States, China

Directors: Max Duncan, Xinyan Yu

Producer: Xinyan Yu

The biggest Chinese industrial zone in Ethiopia provides tens of thousands of much-needed jobs. But can its freewheeling female director, Motto, negotiate labour unrest, political chaos and the painful relocation of farmers to make it a success story of China’s historic push into Africa?



Myanmar [Burma], Germany, Canada

Director: Hnin Ei Hlaing

Producer: Ulla Lehmann

Two midwives work side by side in a makeshift medical clinic. Filmed over three tumultuous years, their remarkable relationship reveals both tensions and the hope inherent in their common cause.



United States, France

Director: Nora Mandray

Producer: Joe Bender

$1,650 for a bullet? The day mass shooting survivor Carli turns to the murderabilia market to make ends meet, she sets out on a unique path to recovery…



Hong Kong SAR China, United States

Director: Jennifer Ngo

Producer: Lorraine Ma

Four young people swept up in the 2019 Hong Kong protests undergo personal struggles and sacrifices as part of an uprising against the autocratic Chinese government. In the process, a city is awoken, and a new identity for an entire generation is forged.



Norway, Sweden

Directors: Petter Aaberg, Sverre Kvamme

Producers: Carsten Aanonsen, Even Benestad

In search of a calmer mind, Petter, a young man without the will to live, gets help from likeminded characters and the co-director of the film to find the tools needed to deal with his demons.


Of Boys And Men


Director: Anders S. Jepsen

Producer: Anne Köhncke

Synopsis withheld. For more information, please contact the organisers. 


On The Edge


Directors: Anupama Srinivasan, Anirban Dutta

Producer: Anirban Dutta

In the dense forests of northeast India, a young woman scientist studies moths. The film follows her fascinating journey in one of the most bio-diverse hotspots in the world, as she tries to predict the impact of climate change on these mysterious insects that form a crucial part of the ecosystem.


Our Daughters

United States

Director: Chithra Jeyaram

Producers: Chithra Jeyaram, Nico Opper (Consulting Producer)

A single white mother makes a bold move and chooses an Indian American couple as her twin daughters’ adoptive parents. The feature documentary “Our Daughters” flips the narrative on transracial adoption and captures what unfolds. It looks at open adoption through an immigrant’s lens.




Director: Denis Shabaev

Producers: Max Tuula, Maria Gavrilova

An uncommon story of the common villagers that started a manufacture of sex toys in the notoriously conservative south of Russia.



Ukraine, Netherlands, Denmark

Director: Olga Zhurba

Producer: Darya Bassel

The turbulent youth of young Roma from a 13-year-old hero of the Maidan revolution to the 18-year-old adult trying to survive in the criminal jungle of a small provincial town.


Siunissaq – The Last Human

Denmark, Greenland, Norway

Director: Ivalo Frank

Producers: Rie Hougaard Landgreen, Ulannaq Ingemann

The Last Human is a poetic documentary told through the eyes of Greenlandic children, scientist Minik Rosing and Artists. All relating to the origin of life and paying a tribute to humanity in between its two poles, the beginning and the possible end.


Softly In All Directions

United States

Director: Anna Barsan

Producer: Shannon Fitzpatrick

Thirty years after the fall of a brutal dictatorship, Softly in All Directions weaves together the stories of queer Romanians and former political dissidents, departing on an intimate journey into the country’s past that traverses memory, political repression, and desire.


Song Of Giants

United Kingdom

Director/Producer: James Rogan

A theatrical documentary tells the story of how the discovery of whale song changed the relationship between whales and man forever.


Stories From The Debris

Sweden, France

Director: Jennifer Rainsford

Producers: MIrjam Gelhorn, Michael Krotkiewski, David Herdies

With the Japanese Tsunami of 2011 as a backdrop, Stories From The Debris assemble a collection of peculiar, uncanny, hopeful and poetic stories about how humans and nature rebuild after trauma.


The Break Of The Brick


Directors: Carola Fuentes, Rafael Valdeavellano

Producer: Carola Fuentes

After half a century living under the neoliberal economic model established by the Chicago Boys in Chile, a jaded crowd rises throughout the country demanding economic and social transformation. The awakening of the Chilean citizens and the death of a model.


The House Is Still Dark

Denmark, Chile

Director: Felipe Roa Pilar

Producer: Thor Hampus Bank

Isolated indigenous families in Northern Nicaragua are threatened by a mysterious mental disorder while they fight to keep away invading violent landgrabbers from their rainforest.


The Last Year Of Darkness

China, United States

Director: Ben Mullinkosson

Producer: Sol Ye

Ten partygoers relentlessly search for themselves in the night, trying to savor the last moments of anonymity before the Chinese government shuts down their underground sanctuaries and pulls them out of the darkness forever.


The Pathan Sisters


Director: Eléonore Boissinot

Producer: Claire Babany

Gujarat, West of India. Sofia and Suzain are two teenage sisters brought up in a humble household, taken care of by their father since their mother left. Refusing the grim day-to-day routine and the shadow of the past, the girls want to embrace life to the fullest. While they grow up, reality comes knocking.


The Sixth Wall

United States

Directors: Noah Collier, Emily Mackenzie

Producers: Riel Roch-Decter, Sebastian Pardo

In the carpet Capital of the world, Dalton Georgia, a self fashioned Scottish cowboy wields the influence of Americana as he crafts an “organic country lifestyle brand” and then outsources himself to the Philippines. Where does the myth of American identity begin and end and who gets to cash in?


The Vinyl Records: Destroy Phallus Oppression


Directors: Juhi Sharma, Em Baker

Producers: Samantha Dinning, Philippa Campey

Against the backdrop of epidemic sexual violence, India’s only all-girl punk band THE VINYL RECORDS take to the road, singing the war-cry of a nation’s women.


To Set A Prisoner Free


Director: Reece Smith

Producer: Joachim Vogel

After a drunk driver kills her husband and infant daughter, Natalie slowly finds her way back by forgiving the offender.


Untitled Courtney Barnett Documentary


Director: Danny Cohen

Producers: Philippa Campey, Samantha Dinning

With unprecedented access to the private life of notoriously shy, but acclaimed musician Courtney Barnett, this documentary intimately explores the inner life of an artist in conflict with herself.


Untitled Saudi Football Girls

United Kingdom, Canada, United Arab Emirates

Directors: Sarah McCarthy, Anjali Nayar

Producer: Tewe Pannier

When Leen, Reem and Noura lead Saudi Arabia’s female soccer team through their first international season, they risk their freedom, safety and family relationships to redefine what it means to be a woman in a nation torn between a repressive past and a rapidly shifting future.


XR Beyond the Emergency

United Kingdom

Directors: Maia Kenworthy, Elena Sánchez Bellot

Producer: Katrina Mansoor

The story of a group of ordinary people who devote their lives to a radical climate movement with mass civil disobedience at its core; they are rebellious, they are law-breaking, they are flawed. And they won’t stop until governments tell the truth.




Alejandra Canales, Nathan Anderson


Current Project(s): OUT OF THE BOX

Medium: Immersive, Virtual Reality, Live Performance, Installation, Mixed Reality, Multisensorial VR


Alexander Whitley, Sandra Rodriguez, Sébastien Grenier-Cartier

United Kingdom, Canada

Current Project(s): FUTURE RITES

Medium: Immersive, Virtual Reality, Live Performance, Room-Scale Experience, Installation, Multi-user experience, Optitrack Motion Capture Rig


Andrew Lancaster, Jessie Mangum, Adam Butcher

United Kingdom


Medium: Linear film/documentary, Interactive, Immersive, Virtual Reality, Games, Immersive Sound Technology, Mobile AR, Headset AR


Baff Akoto

United Kingdom


Medium: Linear film/documentary, Artists Moving Image, Immersive, Virtual Reality, Live Performance, Room-Scale Experience, Installation, Immersive Sound Technology, Multi-Channel Video Installation


Ben Joseph Andrews, Emma Roberts, Hannah Silva

United Kingdom, Australia


Medium: Linear film/documentary, Interactive, Immersive, Virtual Reality, Live Performance, Room-Scale Experience, Installation, Mixed Reality, Immersive Sound Technology, Pressure Vests, Breath Sensors


Bruno Martelli, Alexa Pollmann, Dan Tucker

United Kingdom

Current Project(s): DAZZLE

Medium: Linear film/documentary, Artists Moving Image, Interactive, Immersive, Virtual Reality, Live Performance, Room-Scale Experience, Installation, Artificial Intelligence, Mixed Reality, AR Masks, Projection Mapping, Spatialised Sonic Environments


Cassie De Colling, Michala Holland, Dr Harry Van Issum, Lester Francois


Current Project(s): MUGGA MUGGA VR

Medium: Immersive, Virtual Reality, 360-Video, Immersive Sound Technology


Catalina Alarcon, Maria Court, Daniela Camino


Current Project(s): GOING BACK HOME VR

Medium: Immersive, Virtual Reality, 360-Video


Damien Smith, ISO, Verena Henn, Tim Neil, Andrew L. Jones

United Kingdom


Medium: Linear film/documentary, Interactive, Immersive, Virtual Reality, Games, 360-Video, Room-Scale Experience, Installation, Immersive Sound Technology


David Callanan, Anna West, Steph Clarke, Jamie Finlay

United Kingdom


Medium: Immersive, Virtual Reality, Live Performance, Installation, Artificial Intelligence, Mixed Reality


Deniz Tortum, Kathryn Hamilton, Firat Sezgin

United States, Netherlands

Current Project(s): ARK

Medium: Linear film/documentary, Artists Moving Image, Interactive, Immersive, Virtual Reality, 360-Video, Room-Scale Experience, Installation, Immersive Sound Technology


Jamie Starboisky, Shannon Yee, Rosie Summers, Andy Campbell, Justine Barker, Manoli Moriaty, Marty Two Bulls Senior

United Kingdom, United States


Medium: Interactive, Immersive, Virtual Reality, Live Performance, Room-Scale Experience, Installation, Quill Animation


Kris Hofmann, Abigail Addison

United Kingdom, Austria

Current Project(s): INSECTS & US (working title)

Medium: Artists Moving Image, Interactive, Mixed Reality


Michelle Leddon, Julia Scott-Stevenson, Liz Steininger, Jason J. Snell

United Kingdom, Germany, United States

Current Project(s): PRIVY TO

Medium: Linear film/documentary, Interactive, Immersive, Live Performance, Installation, Mixed Reality, Immersive Sound Technology, EEG Biofeedback Visualizations


Ngardy Conteh George, Alison Duke, Amanda Shelby

Antigua and Barbuda, Canada

Current Project(s): WA’OMONI RISING

Medium: Linear film/documentary, Interactive, Immersive, Virtual Reality, 360-Video


Nina Barbier, Hsin-Chien Huang, Chloé Jarry, Alexandre Roux



Medium: Interactive, Immersive, Virtual Reality, Games, 360-Video, Room-Scale Experience, Installation, Immersive Sound Technology


Patricia Bergeron, Ghassan Fayad, Colas Wohlfahrt


Current Project(s): HOTSPOT

Medium: Linear film/documentary, Interactive, Immersive, Virtual Reality, Live Performance, Installation, Mixed Reality


Sergii Polezhaka


Current Project(s): FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL

Medium: Interactive, Immersive, Virtual Reality, 360-Video, Augmented Reality


Sucharita Ghosh Stephenson, Madhumita Ghosh Sharma, Andrew Stephenson

United Kingdom, India

Current Project(s): DEVI DIARIES

Medium: Linear film/documentary, Artists Moving Image, Interactive, Immersive, Virtual Reality, Games, 360-Video, Room-Scale Experience, Mixed Reality, Immersive Sound Technology


Suki Chan, Anna Jancso

United Kingdom

Current Project(s): FOG; CONSCIOUS

Medium: Linear film/documentary, Artists Moving Image, Interactive, Immersive, 360-Video, Room-Scale Experience, Installation


* Organisations so-far confirmed to take part within MeetMarket include: 

Altitude Film Sales, ARD/NDR, ARTE France, AVROTROS, BBC Storyville, Berlinale EFM, Blue Ice Docs, Boudica Films / Initialize, Canal+ / Movistar+, Cargo Film Sales, CAT&Docs, Catapult Film Fund, Chicken and Egg, Cinephil Distribution & Co-Productions, Cinereach, Cineteve, Compulsory Viewing, Creative Artists Agency, Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR), Deckert Distribution, DocSociety, Documentary Educational Resources, Dogwoof, ESPN, Field of Vision, First Hand Film Sales, Fremantle Media, Globo News, Icarus Films, IFP Independent Filmmaker Project, Impact Partners, Java Films, Journeyman Pictures, Kino Rebelde, KinoSmith, Kloos & Co. Medien / Rise and Shine World Sales, Little Dot Studios, Mediawan, Monoduo Films, National Geographic, NEON, New York Times, NHK, NRK, NTR, Open City Documentary Festival, ORF, Passion Pictures Films, Picturehouse Entertainment, POV, RBB/ARTE, SBS, Sideways Film, Sky, SomeSuch & Co, Submarine, Sundance, Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute Fund, SVT, Sweet Spot Docs, Syndicado Film Sales, Taskovski Films, The Film Sales Company, The Guardian, The Party Film Sales, Together Films, TOPIC Media, Tribeca Film Institute, TRT World, Upside, VPRO, VRT, Whicker’s World Foundation, WideHouse, WRD, YesDocu / DBS, ZDF.


** Confirmed industry representatives so far include: 

Abandon Normal Devices, Artangel, ARTE, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Birmingham Open Media, Bradford Media & Science Museum, British Underground, Centre Phi, Coventry City of Culture Trust, Crossover Labs, Digital Catapult, FutureEverything, HOME MCR, HTC Vive, Iconic Engine, National Film Board of Canada (NFB), Open City Documentary Festival, Raindance Film Festival, Serpentine Gallery, Sky VR, SXSW, Tate Galleries, Tribeca Film Institute, Wellcome Trust, Venice Biennale and York Mediale.