Applications to Doc/Fest's 2019 Youth Jury will open soon. Check back for more info.

Sheffield Doc/Fest's Youth Jury programme will be welcomed back for its 13th year in 2019. Five young film enthusiasts will be offered the opportunity to meet key figures within the industry, curate a selection of films for the Festival, and select the winner of the Youth Jury Award announced at the Sheffield Doc/Fest Awards Ceremony.


Sheffield Doc/Fest welcomes applicants from a variety of backgrounds, with no special qualifications or experience needed. If you are aged 18-22, based in the UK, and have a passion for documentary and the media industry, this is the programme for you.

This free programme is a tremendous way to see how an international film festival and jury work, and will allow you to have your say about the best documentary films being made today. Previous Youth Jury Award Winners have included Sonita (2016), 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets (2015) and The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014).

Past jurors have gone on to work with broadcasters including the BBC, Channel 4 and ITN; made shorts and feature length documentaries for commissioners including BBC Three; programmed films, produced panels for festivals and gone on to write for Sight & Sound magazine.


- Successful applicants will attend a three-day Youth Jury Lab in London in February (Dates to be confirmed) where they will select a shortlist of nominees.

- During the Lab you will receive expert guidance and training from a number of industry insiders at the UK’s professional association of filmmakers, Directors UK.

- Youth Jurors will also receive a Full Festival Pass to attend Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017.

- You will attend screenings of the selected Youth Jury films and a deliberation during the Festival, selecting the winner of the Youth Jury Award 2017.

- Travel and accommodation costs will be covered for both the Lab and Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017.


- Applications for the 2019 Youth Jury will open soon.

For further enquiries about the programme, please contact Hannah McHaffie, Programme Coordinator.


Past Youth Jurors

Kristofer Thomas

Kristofer Thomas is a design and architecture journalist at Sleeper Magazine. He sat on the 2016 Youth Jury.

“Being a member of Sheffield Doc Fest's 2016 youth jury was an incredibly rewarding experience. I learnt a great deal about the industry, and the people and practices involved, expanded my knowledge of the medium, and spent time in the company of influential, interesting and engaging people. Following the festival I gained full-time employment as a journalist, a job I've wanted for years. I believe this career progression was largely due to having both this experience and the festival on my CV. The abilities to discuss a subject with a degree of authority, to work as part of a team to reach an important decision and to judge creative work based on its merits are essential in every industry, not just film, and being a member of the youth jury provided me with experience in all three. In short: I got to meet and discuss documentary filmmaking with Louis Theroux and subsequently landed a job I love. If either of these things appeal to you, then the youth jury programme will be invaluable.”

Alice Carder

Alice Carder gained invaluable advice and support through her time on the Youth Jury. After she sat on the Youth Jury, she had the confidence to pitch her first documentary, which was commissioned by BBC Three. She also pitched a documentary that was commissioned by and broadcasted on London Live. She is currently working for the BBC Development team in documentaries and current affairs.

“Sheffield Doc/Fest is my home from home and always will be. It's where I feel happiest, most stimulated intellectually and inspired by the like-minded people around me, the collaborative, friendly vibe and the mind-blowing films which never fail to bring a tear to my eye and an openness to my heart.”

Chadwick Jackson

Chadwick Jackson sat on the Youth Jury, which propelled his career in film. He has since curated a short film programme at Flat Pack Film Festival, and is currently a Junior Digital Producer, as well as a director of an interactive documentary.

“In a World that often forget that young people are the next generation, the Sheffield Doc/Fest family makes sure the younger people of the Documentary family are looked after. My stand-out moment was when I met Walter Murch and although I did not have the vaguest clue who this man was, I started talking to a stranger who turns out to be his wife. She then introduced me and we had a very spontaneous conversation. Everyone at Doc/Fest was incredible, they went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure I was a part of the group and stayed fully engaged in the process of being a jury member.”

Christian Villarba

Christian Villarba sat on the 2014 Youth Jury and credits the experience to the progression of his documentary career.

“The Sheffield Doc/Fest Youth Jury experience is one that is rare, incredible and life-changing. Although I could say that the whole experience is my favourite moment, the most memorable one has to be the Jury Lunch and picking the winning film - not to mention the legendary parties and masterclass events, where I got the chance to meet leading industry figures and professionals. Sheffield Doc/Fest is THE place to learn, experience and grow as an aspiring film-maker and cinema-goer!”

Simran Hans

Simran Hans sat on the Youth Jury in 2013, and her career in film has progressed exponentially ever since. She became part of the programming team for the 2014 Sheffield Doc/Fest, interned at Dogwoof, worked at the BBC Writersroom TV Drama Writers’ Festival, led a sold-out discussion panel at the Underwire Festival, and was named runner-up in Sight & Sound’s Female Film Reporter competition. She is currently a contributor to BFI’s LFF liveblog, a freelance researcher for BBC Radio 4, and a freelance writer for multiple online and print publications, as well as a postgrad student at King’s College London where she is earning her Masters in Film Studies.

“From meeting Michael Palin to the David Bowie-themed roller disco, my experience at Sheffield Doc/Fest was a whirlwind. The one event that stands out in my memory though, is listening to Ira Glass (the host of 'This American Life') discuss the nuances of radio documentary as part of the Festival's cutting-edge industry programme, in a chapel no less.”

Hannah Ruddle

Hannah Ruddle believes that sitting on the Youth Jury will help further her career. Her experience gave her the confidence to speak to people in the industry.

“My favourite moment at Doc/Fest on the Youth Jury was getting to meet and interview the directors of all the films in our categories! It definitely sparked my journey into filmmaking!”

Rachel Watts

Rachel Watts credits her time on the Youth Jury as a new experience that expanded her knowledge of films and stories, bolstering her confidence.

"My favourite part of Doc/Fest was both exploring Sheffield and the opening screening of Doc/Fest 2014: PULP: a Film about Life, Death and Supermarkets. I had never been to Sheffield before and the film was an enjoyable introduction to Sheffield which I found to be a bold and energetic city. I know for a fact that without the Youth Jury I wouldn't have the skills, or more crucially the confidence, to approach filmmakers and apply for experience.”

Tarnia Mason

Tarnia Mason’s love of documentary film was fuelled by her time on the Youth Jury. She was involved in other community projects after Sheffield Doc/Fest, and still remains in contact with the other jurors and industry professionals she met at Doc/Fest.

“Having always loved documentary, to find myself on a panel as part of such a vibrant festival was wonderful. I have utterly lovely memories of Doc/Fest, from the team and all the other people I met (two fellow jurors have become gorgeous friends), to the relentless disco dancing and of course, the astonishingly wide range of films.”