Highlights from Sheffield Doc/Fest 2022

01 Jul 2022 BY Michael Prescott in Film Features

4 mins
Off the Rails
Off the Rails

Each June sees the city of Sheffield play host to one of the world's leading documentary film festivals, Doc/Fest. For the first time since 2019 the festival was at full capacity, with audiences flocking back to engage in the rich programme.

The 29th edition of the festival contained 135 films of all lengths, with the David Bowie archive-led biography Moonage Daydream as the opening film, plus a programme of immersive technology, talks from the likes of Asif Kapadia, and lots more.

We picked out four of our favourite titles for young audiences.

Fashion Reimagined

Trailblazing fashion designer Amy Powney is a rising star of the London fashion scene, winning the Vogue award for Best Young Designer of the Year in 2017. Using the prize money, she decides that her upcoming collection - No Frills - should be entirely sustainable, having being raised on a remote, eco-friendly homestead by activist parents. Incorporating this ethos into her work will prove no easy feat though, leading Amy - alongside her colleague - to properly interrogate the production process. Attempting to reduce emissions, the duo embark on a journey to countries around the world to ensure the source of any materials are just as interested in ethical practices as they are. Not only is this a great documentary for fashion students, but it also covers areas across Business Studies, Geography, and Science.

If you like the sound of Fashion Reimagined¸ you may also be interested in The Biggest Little Farm. This documentary follows a married couple who attempt to follow their dream of creating a sustainable farming haven but encounter various problems across the years. Available to stream now on Into Film+.

Off the Rails

Shot over a number of years, this pulsating coming-of-age doc follows the lives of two parkour-obsessed teenagers, Rikke Brewer and Aiden Knox. Growing up working-class in the town of Guildford with nothing to do, Rikke and Aiden sought escapism through wild stunts and tricks using their urban surroundings as the arena. But as the feats become more dangerous - including trips to European cities to perform ‘train-surfing' - tragedy strikes, resulting in the death of a close friend. Attempting to process their trauma and grief, the two teenagers start to drift apart and must begin to navigate the rest of their lives, juggling family relationships, legal threats, and career options. Off the Rails is an adrenaline-fueled adventure which explores topics around friendship, growing up, and mental health through astonishing footage.

If you like the sound of Off the Rails¸ you may also be interested in Intermission. This French language short follows three friends as they spend the day at the cinema, trying to sneak into the latest blockbuster. But the experience may just change one of them forever. Available to stream now on Into Film+.


With Wimbledon currently occupying televisions around the country, featuring player-turned-pundit John McEnroe as part of the BBC coverage, a documentary on his playing career receives a timely release. Largely comprised of archive footage of his matches - including his famed rivalry with Swede Björn Borg - the film also candidly reveals more about McEnroe's personal life, as well as an insight into his psyche, as disclosed by the man himself. Delving into topics including his upbringing, family relationships, competitive nature, mental health, celebrity status, and lots more, McEnroe is an illuminating look at a sporting icon and just what it is that makes him tick.

McEnroe will be released in UK cinemas on July 15.

If you like the sound of McEnroe¸ you may also be interested in Next Goal Wins. This British documentary tells the inspirational story of the ‘worst football team in the world', American Samoa, who had lost every game they'd ever played before this film, including a record 31-0 loss to Australia in 2001. With the help of a new coach, the team finds a new lease of life. Available to stream now on Into Film+.

And Still I Sing

This film follows two female singers who are competing for the top spot on TV talent show ‘Afghan Star'. In its 13 years on the air, the hit show has never before had a female winner, but protagonists Zahra and Sadiqa are both ready to win hearts to break that record. With the support of pop icon and activist Aryana Sayeed who sits on the judging panel, the two women are voracious in their quest for success and proudly spread a message of gender equality. But as the contest reaches its latter stages, the US and allied forces announce their withdrawal from Afghanistan, leaving an uncertain future ahead for its citizens with the Taliban set to return to power. This documentary acts as both a suspenseful competition and a timely exploration of modern-day politics in the Middle East.

If you like the sound of And Still I Sing¸ you may also be interested in The Breadwinner. This animated feature from Cartoon Saloon is set in 2001 in Taliban-controlled Kabul and tells the story of a young girl who must dress up as a boy after her father is falsely imprisoned. Available to stream now on Into Film+.

Michael Prescott

Michael Prescott, Curation Coordinator

Michael has an MA in Film Studies with Screenwriting from Sheffield Hallam University. He has previously worked at the British Council and on the BFI Film Academy, and has volunteered at organisations including Sheffield Doc/Fest and Cinema for All.

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