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Sheffield DocFest appoints new Managing Director


Sheffield DocFest has named Annabel Grundy as its Managing Director.

Grundy will join from the BFI, where she’s been project-managing its new £7m UK Global Screen Fund. Over the last 2 years, she’s been responsible for establishing and launching the fund, as well as oversight of international co-production, business development and film sales awards.

“Taking up this role with Sheffield DocFest feels like coming home,” said the Sheffield native.

“I have participated in the festival as an audience member, as a consultant and an industry decision maker, so I know intimately how much care and expertise goes into crafting an outstanding programme each year. I’m honoured to join the dedicated and passionate team that delivers a world class programme, right here in Sheffield, and excited to take the charity forward into our 30-year celebrations in 2023, developing future editions and our year-round activity.”

Over the summer, SheffieldDocFest, said that it was restructuring its leadership team, with a Creative Director and Managing Director. Raul Niño Zambrano has already been installed as Acting Creative Director.

This all came following the departure of interim Managing Director, Sylvia Bednarz. Interim CEO Clare Stewart will also be stepping down at the end of the year.

“I love Sheffield DocFest and have relished the opportunity to be its custodian this last year,” said Stewart.

“The festival plays a hugely important role in the British documentary ecosystem, has impressive global impact and is deeply embedded in a city that embraces creativity and curiosity. At a time of great challenge for film festivals everywhere, it is important to underscore and properly value how much this charitable organisation achieves, and to support its inspiring new leadership – Annabel Grundy and Raul Niño Zambrano – and their vision for the future”.

Alex Cooke, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Sheffield DocFest added:

“We are delighted to welcome Annabel to lead Sheffield DocFest into the future as our new Managing Director.

“Strategic and business-minded, Annabel combines international perspective and experience with a deep commitment to Sheffield and audiences in the North, evidenced by her time working with BFI’s Film Audience Network. This combination of strengths sees Annabel well-placed to consolidate all the potential that South Yorkshire offers and to continue to grow Sheffield DocFest’s global impact.”

Before working at BFI, Grundy has produced large scale festivals and film industry events in Sydney, London and Edinburgh.

“Documentary can give voice to the unheard, act as a powerful tool for change and can simply tell incredible stories that connect people,”she continued.

“Sheffield DocFest backs local talent and has strong bonds with an international community in a growing sector. We also continue to expand boundaries of storytelling and technology with our immersive Alternate Realities programme.  It’s an exciting time to join the organisation as we move beyond pandemic recovery and focus on our true purpose – championing the art of docs – for local audiences looking for an extraordinary experience on their doorstep, and for the makers and filmmakers who continue to join us for inspiration, business connections and a great time in June each year!”

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