Sheffield DocFest is a regular and growing fixture on the film festival circuit, with documentaries premiered or promoted there often moving into the Oscar conversation. Now a clutch of films that played at this year's festival are coming down to London for a mini-season "DocHouse presents Pick of Doc/Fest 2015" at the doc-oriented Bertha DocHouse at Curzon Bloomsbury in December.
Good Girl (Dir. Solveig Melkeraaen/Norway 2014) Friday 4th December / 18:30 An acclaimed portrait of one woman’s descent into the darkness of mental health, Norwegian director Solveig Melkeraaen’s film Good Girl is nevertheless an often humorous and poetic response to her own condition. Taking the worst aspect of her illness - a compulsive, controlling anxiety – and puts it to good use, Melkeraaen creates an extraordinarily stylised docu-drama both heart-breaking and hopeful in equal measure. With unprecedented access to her treatment process and her loving family, Melkeraaen takes the audience on a journey through the devastating consequences of depression. The results leave us with an extremely raw but stylish autobiographical tale as deftly executed as any Michel Gondry movie.
Containment (Dir. Robb Moss, Peter Galison/Japan, United States 2015) Saturday 5th December / 18:30 The question of what becomes of our nuclear waste has been largely confined to the news archives of the 80s and 90s. However, in the aftermath of incidents such as the terrifying meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan in 2011, filmmakers Robb Moss and Peter Galison (Secrecy, 2008) re-open the debate to frightening effect in their haunting documentary Containment. Using the example of plutonium waste sealed in tanks and buried underground in the deserts of New Mexico, the film cleverly imagines how we leave our world for future generations and whether out of sight can ever really mean out of mind.
Drone (Dir: Tonje Hessen Schei/Denmark 2014) Sunday 6th December / 18:30 The ultimate exposé, Tonje Hessen Schei’s film Drone is as gripping as a blockbuster and as terrifying as any newsreel. In an age of increasing demand for virtual reality content an all-too-real kind of soldier has been born, the so-called ‘Drone Warrior’. Revealing the deadly consequences of the post-9/11 war on terror extent and spookily topical in its subject matter, Drone uncovers the perpetrators and victims on both sides of this deadly phenomenon, and asks potent questions about the legality, technology and morality of this thoroughly modern warfare.