South Yorkshire in focus at 21st documentary fest

Jarvis Cocker at Sheffield DocFest 2014. Photo: Brian Eyre.
Jarvis Cocker at Sheffield DocFest 2014. Photo: Brian Eyre.

Documentary makers and watchers descended on Sheffield for the 21st annual Doc/Fest from 7th - 12th June.

The city hosted films, parties, live music and outdoor events many of which showcased Yorkshire, its people, places and heritage.

Jarvis Cocker at Sheffield DocFest 2014.Photo: Brian Eyre.

Jarvis Cocker at Sheffield DocFest 2014.Photo: Brian Eyre.

Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets was one of the most eagerly anticipated documentaries of the festival - and rightly so.

A glitzy screening at Sheffield City Hall, followed by live Q&A with the band, was sold out and live link-ups were broadcast to audiences at cinemas across the city.

If ever there was a film that delves into the strangely subversive yet soothingly warm nature of Sheffield folk - this is it.

Director and Pulp fan Florian Habicht interviews the band and a medley of followers on the eve of December 2012’s homecoming arena gig.

Battle For Orgreave

Battle For Orgreave

Heart warming snippets reveal the formative effect Sheffield had on Pulp’s music and Jarvis Cocker’s lyrics, but also the deep affection the townsfolk have for the band.

Another documentary made against a South Yorkshire backdrop was The Battle of Orgreave - Mike Figgis’ 2001 re-enactment of the miners’ strike clash that erupted on the South Yorkshire coalfield.

Dramatic scenes are caught on film as miners re-live the bloody battle between riot police and protestors on that fateful day in 1984.

They are meant to be acting but are clearly brimming with rage at the injustice that closed the pits and still burdens their community to this day.

A similarly masterful retelling of the miners’ strike was Still The Enemy Within directed by Owen Gower.

Archive footage mixed with interviews with former miners and their families, made for an emotionally charged documentary - essential viewing to mark this year’s 30th anniversary of the strike.

Other festival highlights for me included wedding videographer Doug Block’s heartwarming catch-ups with the couples whose special days he has captured over 20 years.

Hipster band Summer Camp performed a throbbing live score at the Crucible to accompany Charlie Lyne’s high octane film Beyond Clueless.

It charts the proliferation of teen flicks released by Hollywood after 1995’s cult classic Clueless.

And Adam Buxton returned by popular demand to finish up the festival programme with a special BUG show, celebrating the wacky wonderfulness of David Bowie’s music videos and films.

All in all another eye opening line-up from Doc/Fest which gets more deliciously daring every year.

Hayley Gallimore