Free Youth Jury opportunity now open for Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015

Young people aged 18-22 are invited to apply for the Sheffield Doc/Fest Youth Jury 2015. Now in its 9th year the Doc/Fest Youth Jury has proven to be an invaluable accelerator into the documentary and film industry. Christian Villarba, one of 2014’s youth jurors, said “Sheffield Doc/Fest is an extremely unique experience for young people like me. This opportunity is certainly a rare one – not many prestigious festivals offer anything like it!”

Past jurors have gone on to work with broadcasters including the BBC, Channel 4 and ITN; written for national and international film publications; made shorts and feature length documentaries for commissioners including BBC3; worked with music labels and created music videos; and programmed films and panels for other festivals.

The free programme offers five young people unprecedented access to industry insiders at the three-day ‘hothouse’ in London, as well as a full festival pass to attend the June festival. At last year’s hothouse young jurors went to Directors UK for three days where they viewed festival docs, nominated five for the Youth Jury Award, and were advised by producer Simon Chinn, critic Catherine Bray, and filmmaker Penny Woolcock.

At the festival the young jurors announce the winner of the Youth Jury Award to the winning film that best reflects interests for a youth audience at the Awards Ceremony on the final day of the festival. Past winners include The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014), God Loves Uganda (2013) and Photographic Memory (2012)

Throughout the process the jurors are closely mentored by senior Doc/Fest staff, this year led by the Deputy Director Melanie Iredale: “It’s exciting and incredibly satisfying to see the jurors develop their critical and presentation skills, as well as their passion for documentaries during this process. Doc/Fest is rightly very proud of the Youth Jury which genuinely gives young people a leg-up in a very competitive industry”.

Applicants do not need experience in the media, but do need a passion for documentary. Applications are open from Wednesday 22nd October until Friday 9th January. Application forms can be downloaded from the Sheffield Doc/Fest website: www.sheffdocfest.com/view/youthjury

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