Sheffield Doc/Fest announces retrospective on Black British cinema

The event says it wants to celebrate "a wide and diverse filmography that has been largely overlooked and undervalued in film discourse"

Sheffield Doc/Fest has announced a retrospective on the history of Black British Cinema for its 2021 event – get all the details on the event below.

The festival will run from June 4-13, with the full line-up set to be unveiled on May 11.

A statement announcing the retrospective – whose full title is The Retrospective: Films belong to those who need them – fragments from the history of Black British Cinema – read: “In 2021 Sheffield Doc/Fest wants to spotlight and celebrate the history of Black British screen culture – a wide and diverse filmography that has been largely overlooked and undervalued in film discourse.


“We want to find connections between past and present, and to spark a conversation about how this filmography resonates with contemporary filmmakers and artists, and how it can inspire and inform the ways in which we conceive our own communities.

The statement added: “Doc/Fest is excited to announce that for the first time, we have invited guest curators, with a range of perspectives that will transcend the idea of a singular, complete narrative. The guest curators come with a breadth of experience: as filmmakers, film programmers, broadcasters, photography curators, film students and historians.

“With such an abundant, complex and diverse filmography, which has a contested history of visibility and access, we felt it essential to present programmes curated by people who inhabit this history through their work, their existential pursuits, and their curiosity and care. We will present works by voices that could multiply,  intersect, and together bring a rich spectrum of work.”

See the current list of curators for the retrospective below.

Anthony Andrews & Teanne Andrews (We Are Parable)


Campbell X (writer/filmmaker)

David Olusoga (historian, broadcaster and filmmaker)

George Amponsah (filmmaker)

Judah Attille (filmmaker)

Mark Sealy (curator and cultural historian)

A group of Film Studies / Screenwriting & Film students from Sheffield Hallam University as part of a partnership project led by Dr Chi-Yun Shin (Principal Lecturer in Film Studies).

Last year, director Steve McQueen criticised the racism in the UK film and TV industries, calling it “shameful”. The 12 Years A Slave director said the race imbalance in the industries was “blindingly, obviously wrong,” and his comments came after he was told when he was making 12 Years A Slave that “a movie with Black leads wouldn’t make any money”.