How Sheffield International Documentary Festival became a blockbuster event - in numbers

The profile of Sheffield International Documentary Festival has risen in recent years, with high-profiles guests such as Werner Herzog highlighting its success in 2019.

Sheffield City Hall. Picture by Steve Ellis.

A report released this month has shown the impact of the event, which takes place annually in June and is known as Sheffield Doc/Fest, and how it continues to reach new heights.

It revealed:

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- Over the course of six days the festival drew 28,098 public admissions, up nine per cent from 2018 and representing an increase of 15 per cent in the number of tickets sold.

- In addition, 3,489 industry delegates attended the festival from 59 countries.

- This year’s edition featured over 200 documentaries across all lengths and formats, drawn from a record number of 2,548 submissions, from 52 countries around the world, more than 50 per cent of which were co/directed by women.

-> Melanie Iredale, Sheffield Doc/Fest interim director: ‘I take so much from film when I see a part of me represented on screen’- It featured 36 World Premieres, 19 International Premieres, 12 European Premieres and 91 UK Premieres.

- The film programme kicked off with the UK Premiere of Diego Maradona, by Asif Kapadia, to an audience of more than 1,000 in Sheffield’s City Hall.

- It facilitated 1,650 meetings which enabled numerous collaborations between a great slate of 87 documentary projects in the making and a record number of 340 industry decision-makers from more than 30 countries around the world.

-> This is what happened after Sheffield filmmaker asked 61 people for a hug- The event held 84 talks and similar sessions, 205 speakers - 61 per cent of whom were females and 24 per cent of whom were of black and minority ethnic heritage.

- It has been estimated that the combined audience impact on the local economy was worth £2,469,840.20.

- Some 96 per cent of audiences said they would likely return in June 2020.

For more information and to read the full report, visit