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Sheffield DocFest confirms Raul Niño Zambrano as creative director

Raul Niño Zambrano, courtesy Sheffield DocFest

Sheffield DocFest has appointed Raul Niño Zambrano as creative director, following a successful year as acting creative director.

Raul was previously senior programmer at IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam), where he started life as a programmer in 2008.

During his tenure at IDFA, Zambrano conducted a ground-breaking study on the position of women within the documentary world The Female Gaze (2014) and initiated the IDFA Queer Day (2013 – present). In addition to being a lead programmer on the overall selection, he curated such programmes as Emerging Voices from Southeast Asia, and Cinema do Brasil.

He has participated in many international festivals as a juror, including Hot Docs, DocPoint and Guanajuato International Film Festival and as an expert/tutor at DocMontevideo, FESPACO, Brasil CineMundi, If/Then Shorts Global Pitchand Guadalajara Doculab.

This year he also joins the judges of the Whickers Pitch, which will award £100,000 to a filmmaker to make their first feature-length documentary, with the winner announced at Sheffield DocFest on Sunday 18 June.

Zambrano will be responsible for setting the programme agenda across the Sheffield DocFest’s film programmes, Alternate Realities exhibition, marketplace and talent activities, and talks & sessions. The role is a joint leadership position and will work collaboratively with Annabel Grundy who is the MD.

Alex Cooke, chair of the festival’s board of trustees, said: “We congratulate Raul on his creative leadership and for such a strong line up for our 30th edition. Raul and Annabel make a great team. We look forward to their continued collaboration and vision for the future of Docfest.”

Zambrano added: “Since the very first moment I joined Sheffield DocFest I knew it was the right place for me. A nurturing environment for developing ideas as a team is what has made Sheffield DocFest play such a vital role in the international documentary arena as well as for the British industry and I am delighted to move forward in the Creative Director role. We have already started to put in place the festival’s vision and connect filmmakers, industry professionals and audiences with the latest trends, necessary conversations and best examples of creative practice so that DocFest truly feels like the home of documentary in the UK.”

This year’s Sheffield DocFest opens tomorrow (Wednesday June 14) with the world premiere of Tish, Paul Sng’s intimate portrait of British documentary photographer Tish Murtha, who dedicated her life to documenting the lives of working-class communities in North East England, and her daughter’s fight to preserve her legacy, and continues until June 19.

In addition to films, this year’s event includes an abridged verbatim play (Jews. In Their Own Words), live podcast events, premieres of TV series and virtual reality exhibitions. The film programme includes 37 World Premieres, 20 International Premieres, 10 European Premieres and 47 UK Premieres, from 52 countries of production.

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