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DocFest funding approved for next three years

Cllr Martin Smith, Showroom Cinema
Cllr Martin Smith, Showroom Cinema

Sheffield City Council have approved funding of £100,000 a year to support the delivery of the International Documentary Festival Sheffield (DocFest), for the next three years.

In an Economic Development and Skills Committee meeting on 20th December 2023, councillors approved long-term funding for the event, that is estimated to contribute almost £2 million to the Sheffield economy.

Sheffield DocFest is the UK’s leading documentary festival and celebrates the art and business of documentary and all non-fiction storytelling.

Councillor Martin Smith, Chair of the Economic Development and Skills Committee at Sheffield City Council, said: “Events like DocFest have a fantastic impact on the local economy, bringing in thousands of visitors from across the globe, who come and spend money at our local venues and with local businesses. The return on our funding investment is really impressive and hugely valuable to residents. 

“These events are also hugely beneficial to Sheffield’s cultural offer, and as next year will see the launch of our culture strategy, aiming to make culture an integral part of the city’s identity, it’s even more important for us show our support.”

DocFest regularly attracts more than 2000 industry experts from 69 countries, which in turn is expected to result in millions spent with Sheffield businesses.  

As the event is spread across multiple venues, with 36 being used in 2023, it is likely to result in almost 40,000 public admissions to cultural and entertainment sites across the city.

The report to committee also states that hosting the festival will benefit the city’s reputation as a cultural and creative destination, and in 2023, 37 of 114 total films were world premieres. 

Sheffield DocFest also has a year-round programme of training, workshops, mentoring and networking, as well as internships and volunteering opportunities for young people, giving Sheffield a year-round profile on the national and international stage.

Annabel Grundy, Managing Director of Sheffield DocFest, said: “Confirming three years of support from Sheffield City Council is hugely beneficial to the charity, and gratefully received. 

“With this core support we can continue to be ambitious for our festival and the city, attracting diverse audiences, presenting brilliant films and events and showing off all that Sheffield has to offer on the international stage. 

“We also look forward to working in partnership with the Council and city partners to open up the festival even more to local people, whether that's helping them get first jobs in the film industry, getting involved in our community workshops or simply coming to a fabulous film premiere at  Showroom or one of our other brilliant, independent venues.”

Funding will support Sheffield DocFest to maintain a programme of international significance, in an environment of reduced funding from national bodies.

The Council will also support Sheffield DocFest in unlocking further funding to directly benefit local filmmakers and audiences, as well as providing the resources to secure commercial backing.

Sheffield DocFest is set to return on Wednesday 12th June 2024. Visit the DocFest website for more information.  

Read the report to committee here.