13 June 2014

All This Mayhem at Sheffield Doc/Fest

The festivals I've been to involve mud, warm wine and a tent you absolutely cannot stay in past daybreak thanks to the hot hot heat.  

Then along came Sheffield International Documentary Festival.

This is one of the biggest documentary festivals in the world. Showcasing the latest talent, it's launched some of the world's best documentaries during its 21-year history.

I popped on my culture hat and went along.

Chilled wine at a festival? Cheers. 

Pulp led the charge with Pulp: a Film about Life, Death & Supermarkets. I was too slow off the starting blocks to get in, but my husband and some friends saw it, giving it mixed reviews at best.

Husbo spotted Jarvis Cocker. I spotted a rainbow.

Rainbows and a watery outdoor screen at Sheff Doc/Fest

By far and away my favourite documentary was All This Mayhem. It's the incredibly powerful story of Australian brothers Tas and Ben Pappas, once ranked the first and second best pro skateboarders in the world.

Heard of Tony Hawk? In the mid-90s, these guys were better than him. They were also really good at taking drugs. The more successful they got, the more drugs they took.

But Ben was caught smuggling cocaine and after that his life took a tragic nose-dive. He got mixed up with heroin and killed himself.

Skateboarders, I've learned, love to film each other, and shockingly sad footage of Ben's deterioration peppers the doc.

The story is told retrospectively by older brother Tas. He's the guy in red, talking during the q&a after the documentary aired.

Tas Pappas after the All This Mayhem screening

Produced by the same guy who did Banksy's Exit Through The Gift Shop, it's a gripping portrayal of the dark side of success.

Next up, a documentary by Rich Peppiatt, the former Daily Star journo who quit his job with the paper after becoming disillusioned with tabloid journalism.

I know Rich, we worked a few jobs together back when I was in London, like following Katie Price and her former-husband / cross-dresser around a haunted house one weekend. Long story.

So I was keen to watch One Rogue Reporter. In it, Rich turns the tables on the men behind our tabloid news through a series of pranks, like leaving a dildo outside one editor's London home and taking paparazzi style snaps of another.

It's funny, well researched and packs a punch - disgruntled-with-the-press celebs like Hugh Grant are interviewed.

I do feel saddened by the view du jour that all journalists are utter swines, though. I write for women's magazines but still people react thus when I tell them what I do: "Ooh, are you tapping my phone right now?"

Har har. It's exasperating and I deal with it the only way I know how... some serious side eye.

A festival with its own beer? Fancy!

After party and scene of some Tour de France anticipation

The great thing about Sheffield Doc/Fest is the amount of stuff available to do... like roller discos, after parties, bumping into familiar faces, workshops and picnics at Chatsworth House.

But mostly I'm just glad I got to see All This Mayhem and I really hope you get the chance, too.


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