Ken Loach, Chantal Akerman Retrospectives Set for Sheffield Doc/Fest

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Ken Loach

Michael Moore will open the U.K.'s biggest documentary event with 'Where to Invade Next,' while HBO's Sheila Nevins will give a talk.

The U.K.'s biggest documentary event on Thursday unveiled its upcoming program.

Sheffield Doc/Fest, now in its 23rd edition in the northern British city, has lined up 160 features and short docs, including 27 world premieres, alongside a series of live talks and debates.

In honor of late filmmaker Chantal Akerman, who died in October, the festival will screen a selection of her films, including her final work No Home Movie, featuring "conversations" between Akerman and her mother Natalia, an Auschwitz survivor.

Also in the spotlight at this year’s event is the work of British auteur Ken Loach, looking back at over half a century of filmmaking, which continues with this year's Cannes competition entry I, Daniel Blake. Alongside screenings of Loach's Spirit of '45 and Cathy Come Home, Louise Osmond's biographical doc Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach will have its U.K. premiere, followed by a Q&A between Osmond and Loach, which will be live streamed to 114 cinemas across the U.K. through distributor Dogwoof.

Elsewhere, HBO's documentary president Sheila Nevins will appear in conversation with BBC editor and producer Nick Fraser, discussing some of the many breakout hits in a career that has garnered nearly 30 Emmy awards.

Other films in the Sheffield lineup include the international premiere of Serena, a "verite-style portrait" of Serena Williams; Miss Sharon Jones!, Academy Award-winner Barbara Kopple's profile of a funk and soul frontwoman confronted with a cancer diagnosis; and Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, the first doc made about the late American poet and civil rights icon. 

As previously announced, Michael Moore is set to open the festival with his latest politically charged title Where to Invade Next and present a filmmaker master class, while Tilda Swinton and her co-director Bartek Dziadosz will draw the event to a close with The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger, chronicling their encounters with the reclusive writer, painter and art critic.

The Sheffield Doc/Fest is set to run June 10-15.