‘National treasure’ Attenborough to appear at Sheffield Doc/Fest

Sir David Attenborough. Picture: Sophie Lanfear
Sir David Attenborough. Picture: Sophie Lanfear
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HE was dubbed a “national treasure” by our future king when he celebrated his 90th birthday last month, now television royalty Sir David Attenborough will discuss his celebrated career at Yorkshire’s influential documentary festival.

Sir David has been named as the latest high-profile name to be announced for the 23rd Sheffield Doc/Fest, which runs for six days in the city from June 10.

The much-love naturalist and broadcaster will appear at the festival for the first time to discuss his career and talk about the future of television and media.

His illustrious career on screen began in December 1952, when the 26-year-old television producer was plucked from behind the camera to host a short film about an ancient fish called the Coelacanth, which had become headline news after being at the centre of a rights row between France and South Africa.

But Attenborough is not simply a presenter - he has served as Controller of BBC2 and Director of Programmes across the BBC.

He has been responsible for commissioning many innovative titles over the years, including the 13-part documentary television series The Ascent of Man. In 1966

Attenborough oversaw the introduction of colour television to Britain and in 1969 he was responsible for clearing the BBC schedule for the moon landing.

Sheffield Doc/Fest festival dirctor, Liz McIntyre, said: “The Festival is honoured to be welcoming Sir David to Sheffield. He is a giant of the documentary world, whose (natural history) adventures and films are epic, groundbreaking and a feast for the eyes and mind.

“Across the broadcasting world his contribution spanning 64 years continues to be extraordinary and an inspiration to new filmmakers around the world.”

Sir David will appear at the festival on Monday, June 13, at the Crucible Theatre, one of many venues across the city that will host talks, debates and screenings. More than 30,000 documentary-makers and lovers are expected to attend.

Other highlights include two appearances by Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, who will open the festival on with the UK premiere of his latest documentary, Where To Invade Next, on Friday June 10 at the City Hall, before being interviewed on stage at the Crucible on Sunday June 12.

Also appearing will be the rapper and documentary maker Stephen Manderson (Professor Green), who has made deeply personal films about suicide, homelessness and dangerous dogs.

Pioneering filmmaker Donn Alan ‘DA’ Pennebaker, who helped introduce the world to figures as diverse as John F Kennedy and Bob Dylan, will discuss more than 40 years of filmmaking.

Actress, campaigner and documentary-maker Joanna Lumley will be in conversation at the Skiable on Sunday June 12, talking about her eclectic career in film and television, including her documentaries on topics as diverse as journeys across Russia to musician will.i.am.

Ronnie O’Sullivan is no stranger to the Crucible, but will be back in a new way, talking with Guardian journalist Simon Hattenstone on Monday June 13.

Also appearing at the festival will be broadcaster, actor, writer and director, Reggie Yates; cricketer Freddie Flintoff, and Hollywood star Tilda Swinton, who will close Doc/Fest on Wednesday June 15 speaking with her co-director Bartek Dziadosz at the UK premiere of The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger.

But Doc/Fest is not simply about star names, it is also about industry experts.

On Tuesday June 14, Mark Herbet, chief executive of Sheffield-based Warp Films will discuss the future of the award-winning and acclaimed independent film company, at a bespoke venue being built on Tudor Square.

For full listings and tickets, visit www.sheffdocfest.com