‘Summer of Soul,’ ‘The Story of Looking’ to Bookend Sheffield Doc/Fest

The 2021 Sheffield Doc/Fest will open with the European premiere of Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s “Summer of Soul” and close with the world premiere of Mark Cousins’ “The Story of Looking.”

“Summer of Soul (…Or When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” explores the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which celebrated African American music and culture, and promoted Black pride and unity.

“The Story of Looking” is a fresh look into the world’s complexities, contradictions and beauty. Cousins will also be in conversation, live-streamed from Sheffield, about his personal relationship to film and images.

Both films will also simultaneously premiere in cinemas around the U.K.

“We’re honored to premiere our film on the closing night of Sheffield’s acclaimed Doc/Fest,” Cousins said. “We hope it will send audiences and delegates back out into the world with hearts aglow and fresh eyes.”

“We wanted to open and close with films that spoke to our program and to what Sheffield Doc/Fest stands for, and to inspire our audiences after a very difficult time,” festival director Cintia Gil said. “These films have helped us imagine our program along the winter lockdown months, and will hopefully add to the joy of coming together again to share life and film before the summer blooms.”

The festival also revealed four films from the Into the World strand. They include the U.K. premieres of “The Return: Life After Isis,” by Alba Sotorra, a portrait of a group of Western women whose teenage years were spent supporting ISIS, but who now want to return to their countries and transform their lives; and Kazuo Hara’s “Minamata Mandala,” an epic, 15-year journey and three-part film that raises global questions about public health, corporate accountability and the environment.

Nick Green’s “Carlos Ghosn The Last Flight,” a world premiere, focuses on international fugitive businessman Ghosn’s escape to Lebanon. European premiere “Alvorada Palace,” by Anna Muylaert and Lô Politi, is set in Brazil’s presidential palace, and follows former president Dilma Rousseff and her closest members of staff over the days that lead up to the impeachment trial that resulted in her downfall.

The festival runs June 4-13 at cinemas in Sheffield and online.

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