I come from Lisbon Portugal, another city built on seven hills and immediately felt this corner of Yorkshire to be a home from home. Sheffield is a unique city with a strong industrial and sporting heritage forged by working people. It is also a city that has embraced culture and creativity with a population that challenges the status quo politically, economically and socially. My view of Sheffield is therefore one of admiration: the dignity of a city and its populace that has retained an air of freedom and rebellion in our present times. The generosity of a city like Sheffield that welcomes so many migrants, students and artists is admirable. I feel thankful and inspired by this and it is because of these qualities of the city and the Sheffield people that I chose to join Doc/Fest as Director in November 2019, and why Doc/Fest originally chose to call Sheffield home.
It is my belief that film can bring people from all walks of life together and my goal is to curate and make quality documentary film and art accessible to everyone. Doc/Fest is a combination of future imaginations and possibilities for action, made by a group of people who want to be part of an urgent conversation: one about freedom and solidarity, the other about how to build bonds through culture to create generous environments for co-existence. Doc/Fest gathers filmmakers, practitioners, artists, children, and people from diverse backgrounds into a common task: to imagine life and a view of the world through the lens, to critically discuss it and take ownership of it. A film festival like Doc/Fest is an opportunity for change but is also a safe place to celebrate our human capacity to welcome the unknown, create the unexpected - whether that is subversive or mainstream - in collaboration.
As a film programmer my passion is showing films and art to people that provoke encounters, discussions and (hopefully) result in meaningful experiences. I believe cinema can have a transformative experience and have a deep trust in the people of this city as a collective force for change. My experience of Sheffield is of a place with a strong history of resistance and a surprisingly resilient culture. A city that has six working 35mm projectors says something about a population, many cities have thrown these to the wasteland in the pursuit of the new.