Skip to main content
A Magazine for Sheffield

Celluloid Streams: Wide selection of documentaries available to watch now

For obvious reasons, Sheffield Doc/Fest is unable to take place in the city this June. Whilst there are plans for physical screenings in autumn, there's no need to wait because the festival launched its own video on demand service this week, offering over 70 films for UK viewers.

For the public, the Doc/Fest Selects platform includes pay-per-view and subscription options, including free of charge Exchange film programme and Q&As with filmmakers. Tickets and access-all-films subscriptions are available.

We scoured the programme to bring you a few recommendations.


In the Philippines in just two years, over 20,000 men, women and children were killed in president Rodrigo Duterte's war against small street drug dealers and users, while drug moguls are left to roam free. The police forces have organized a "machinery of death" to execute the poorest people. In the dark outskirts of Manila, the filmmaker follows a little boy, a coroner and other characters concerned by this increasing violence and injustice. The shadow of the aswang, the legendary local monster, is haunting the city's bloody nights.

We're Still Here

London's housing is under attack. As developers - with councils and housing associations - demolish social housing to replace it with unaffordable apartments, more people are standing up for their place in the city. Jasmin and other families in the Focus E15 hotel were threatened with being moved outside London. The key workers rent in West Ham was going up by 40%; 72 people were killed in the Grenfell Tower fire: "If you don't like it you can move out!" Their only recourse was a rent strike. We're Still Here documents the impact of a system that puts profit before people - and looks towards those who are fighting back.

Welcome to Chechnya

Since 2017, Chechnya's tyrannical leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has waged a depraved operation to "cleanse the blood" of LGBTQI+ Chechens, overseeing a government-directed campaign to detain, torture and execute them. With no help from the Kremlin and only faint global condemnation, activists take matters into their own hands. In his new documentary, David France uses a remarkable approach to anonymity to expose this atrocity and to tell the story of an extraordinary group of people confronting evil.

Stolen Fish

In the smallest country of continental Africa, Gambia, fish are now being powdered by Chinese corporations and exported to Europe and China to feed animals in industrial farming. As a result, Gambians are being deprived of their primary source of protein while overfishing is depleting marine ecosystems. The film follows three Gambians who share intimate stories of daily struggle, anger, hope and longing for their loved ones in the midst of difficult migration routes. A good example of how the global fishmeal industry impacts the lives of local people of one of the poorest countries in the western coast of Africa.

The Viewing Booth

In a laboratory-like set up, The Viewing Booth, the filmmaker chooses an American student -enthusiastic supporter of Israel, Maia - and invites her to watch and comment on the videos made by a Palestinian activist collective who are filming the daily life of inhabitants of the occupied territories and the behaviour of the Israeli army. The film explores the relationship between viewer, documentary footage, and filmmaker; the way one builds one's own fiction and analyses sounds and images through pre-established opinions.

Mother Child

Young women are taking medical advice in a public hospital in Argentina. This is the place where pregnant teenage girls have to make a decision to keep their child or to have an abortion. The hospital gynaecologists and other members of the staff help them, one case at a time. In these intimate and non-judgmental conversations, the young women, fragile and vulnerable, take this precious time to think and talk. The film takes a delicate approach to the status of women.


In a forgotten seaside town in the north of England, 78-year-old Dave hands out food and kindness to those in need. After ten years of austerity, this nuanced portrait of a volunteer-run food bank penetrates the harsh reality of contemporary Britain.

Shut Up Sona

Being on the receiving end of blasphemy lawsuits, internet trolling and death threats are all in a day's work for Indian singer and leading #MeToo activist, Sona Mohapatra. Over three years, filmmaker Deepti Gupta follows Sona as she battles with music execs and India's patriarchal traditions at large in her fight for equal space in the music industry and beyond. The film also charts Sona's rise as a singer, songwriter and composer - fusing pop, folk, Bollywood and rock - inspiring a generation of women as she performs around her home country.

Filed under: 

Next in series

More Celluloid Streams

More Film

Flaming Assassin is catching fire on the festival circuit

Filmed in Sheffield, the crime thriller by filmmaker, dancer and martial artist Nathan Geering has been picking up awards. Nathan told us more about kung fu, ‘fire breaking’ and being invited to train with Jackie Chan’s stunt team.

More Film