Magazine article Screen International

Aguilar Talks Female Focus at Doc/Fest

Magazine article Screen International

Aguilar Talks Female Focus at Doc/Fest

Article excerpt

Nearly 50% of the films in this year's Sheffield Doc/Fest line-up (73 out of 150) have been either directed or produced by women filmmakers, under its new head of programming and industry engagement Claire Aguilar.

"I wanted to address certain issues in the programming balance - to get films made by and about women," said Aguilar.

"People said it would be difficult, but it wasn't a hard goal to achieve, there are plenty of women filmmakers out there."

Aguilar, who took up the post in January, has also introduced a special Women In Docs strand to this year's festival (June 5-10) with films in the line-up including Kim Longinotto's Dreamcatcher, Leslee Udwin's India's Daughter, Chloe Ruthven's Jungle Sisters and Iiris Harma's Leaving Africa.

Other changes for this edition include the renaming of the Special Jury Prize to the Grand Jury Prize and the introduction of a new strand - Instigators and Agitators - to cater for the large number of films focusing on activism and advocacy.

"I want Sheffield to be an A-list international festival where people have the confidence to premiere their films here. We're getting there," said Aguilar, who joined the festival from US public broadcaster Independent Television Service (ITVS).

The line-up this year includes films from 35 countries, including Japan, China and Mexico. "We have people travelling here from all over the world and that will continue to be a goal," said Aguilar.

Amongst the festival's record 2,000 submissions, Aguilar points to a large number of political documentaries, as well as a "proliferation of environmental films - from films about sustainability on a farm in England to nuclear waste to recycling in Paraguay. …

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