SheffieldI am just back from the hills of Sheffield UK and their exuberant Doc Fest. Five days of high energy started as soon as I stepped off the train; most of the festival venues were right by the station and crowds were already milling.

The sold out opening night film was Moving to Mars, a film we supported this past summer through the Good Pitch and a strategy summit. Out of these efforts, the film developed a community engagement campaign that takes them on the road with refugee supporters and a new effort with City of Sanctuary.

I ran into Karen Katz, the film’s producer, the next morning and she said the opening was getting wide news coverage, including video posts to Australia.

On Thursday morning, Doc Fest moved me into the MeetMarket, pitching innovative project ideas from selected doc filmmakers. I met with over 20 makers and exchanged first ideas about exciting and vital stories, from a musical about the National Health Service in the UK to the Stonewall riots and private prisons in the US. These first chats were focused on the films’ potential campaigns.

On Thursday afternoon, I moved into The Chapel, to present “Working Your Film” with my colleagues Jess Search, filmmaker David Bond and web guru/creative director of Pixeco James Franklin. A packed house responded favorably to our stories of effective impact, and the successes we shared about creating new pathways to reach audiences and turning them into impassioned viewers – so when the lights come up they are ready to act.

Thursday night we all headed to the premiere of Erasing David, another film that collaborated with Working Films on their audience engagement campaign, for a brilliant reception by a sold out house. With humor and superspy intrigue, David brings an important message about protecting our privacy from the surveillance state.

lucyOn Friday, we headed to join our crew at the BRITDOC Bar, where Lucy Cooke was serving up luscious Mojitos.

About Working Films UK: We have supported the development of strategic plans for a number of films breaking new ground, including: The Hunger Season, The Age of Stupid and End of the Line. And we are key collaborators for the Good Pitch, the new public face for audience engagement and partnership strategies.

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