Introducing our 2024 Industry team

A collage of the 2024 Industry team for Sheffield DocFest: Top Left: Lisa Marie Russo, centre: Patrizia Mancini, top right: Vanessa Lobón Garcia, bottom left: Sophie Duncan, bottom right: Lieven Heeremans

We are thrilled to announce our 2024 Industry Team who will be shaping our Marketplace and programme of talks and sessions for Sheffield DocFest 2024, taking place 12 - 17 June.

Our newly appointed Head of Industry, Patrizia Mancini, leads our Industry team and is supported by Marketplace and Talent Programmes Producer, Sophie Duncan, who has been with the festival since 2018, and Marketplace Consultant, Lisa Marie Russo, who returns for 2024.

We also welcome to the team: Vanessa Lobón Garcia, who joins us as our Talks and Sessions Senior Producer, and Lieven Heeremans, who returns as Podcast Programme Producer for our 31st Edition.

“In the past years I have always looked at Sheffield DocFest as one of the most engaging and inspiring festivals dedicated to documentaries. Its commitment towards diversity and inclusion, the dedication to involve communities and young audiences, the lineup of great documentaries shown at the festival as well all the activities for professionals…All this and more make it a not to be missed meeting and I couldn’t be happier at the prospect of starting this new exciting adventure alongside my new colleagues!” 

Patrizia Mancini, Head of Industry

“Our industry marketplace, talks and sessions, pitches and meetings are essential elements of DocFest’s creative energy and international standing.  I am so thrilled to welcome both our returning experts in audio and exec producing alongside new colleagues with international reach, passion for live events and founding new doc ventures.  These attributes reflect DocFest’s vision as well as the industry ecosystem we serve and it is so exciting to be turning our plans for 2024 into reality with this team.” 

Annabel Grundy, Managing Director


Meet our Industry Team


Headshots of Sheffield DocFest's Head of Industry: Patrizia Mancini, Marketplace and Talent Programmes Producer Sophie Duncan and Marketplace Consultant Lisa Marie Russo


Patrizia Mancini (she/her)

Head of Industry

Patrizia joins Sheffield DocFest in January 2024 to lead the festival’s industry strategy and activity including the Marketplace, with oversight of the festival Industry programme and year-round activity. With a Masters in History and Critic of Cinema from the University of Rome and a background in theatre and dubbing, Patrizia arrived in France in 2010 working as sales assistant at Chalet Pointu, DVD distribution company specialised in short films.

With the same team she participated at the second edition of the now well-known Festival Europeen des Arcs. In October 2011 she joined WIDE HOUSE as Servicing and Marketing Manager and later as Head of Sales, working closely with the General Director Anais Clanet. At the end of 2016, after an experience as selector for Paris Co-production Village, industry event part of the Champs Elysée Film Festival in Paris, she started collaborating with Manuela Buono’s Italian sales company Slingshot Films as consultant for sales and acquisitions. 

From 2017 to 2021 she was the International Development Executive and then Head of Talents & International Development at the French co-production market Sunny Side of the Doc in La Rochelle, one of the leading events in documentary co-production. In 2022 she came back to distribution as a consultant for sales and acquisitions, working alongside Liselot Verbrugge and Hanne Biermann at Deckert Distribution GmbH. 

From January 2023 Patrizia has been working as a freelancer consultant assisting international producers and working as jury member for markets such as CoPro, Sunny Side of the Doc, East Doc Platform, MIA Doc Rome, DMZ Docs, IDFA and others.


Sophie Duncan (she/her)

Marketplace & Talent Programmes Producer

Sophie Duncan first joined Sheffield DocFest in 2018 and became Industry Programme Producer in January 2023, our 30th edition. As Marketplace and Talent Programmes Producer she produces the Marketplace & MeetMarket - a major funding, sales and distribution platform of match made meetings and co-financing. Previously, she has worked at UK and international festivals and markets including IDFA Forum, London Short Film Festival, Open City Documentary Festival, Leeds International Film Festival and BFI Flare. Sophie also produces Women X Film Festival, an event based in the North East of England which celebrates women and gender nonconforming filmmakers.


Lisa Marie Russo (she/her)

Marketplace Consultant

Lisa Marie Russo is a filmmaker and producer and has led three UK Funds. Her films have shown globally at A-list festivals, in cinemas, and on TV and streamers. She led the BFI Doc Society Fund from 2018 - ‘21, then executive produced select titles. Her eighteen feature Fund tiles include Is There Anybody Out There? (Sundance 2023, BAFTA nominated 2024), Nothing Compares (Sundance 2022, two BIFA’s, PGA nomination 2023),  A Bunch of Amateurs (Sheffield DocFest Audience Award 2022, BBC), Poly Styrene: I am a Cliche (two BIFAs), Locked In (BAFTA, Grierson), If the Streets were on Fire (2 BIFAs) and  shorts The Nightcrawlers (Emmy) and The Black Cop (BAFTA).  She was also Development Exec on Scala!!! and Blue Bag Life (BAFTA nominated 2024). 

In 2009, Lisa Marie and Kate Ogborn launched Fly Film. She produced Ken Loach’s The Spirit of ’45, Gillian Wearing’s Self Made and Andrew Kotting’s Swandown, and was EP on Hockney, and Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea (starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston) and Of Time And The City.  She was BAFTA nominated for The Tale of the Rat that Wrote (1998). 

Her career started at Philadelphia’s WHYY, directing documentaries on subjects including homelessness, rap music and motherhood. LM is a consultant for Sheffield DocFest and ACE Producers, and is developing the animation feature Lollipop Tattoo, inspired by her two-time breast cancer journey.


Meet our Talks & Sessions and Podcast leads

Headshots of Sheffield DocFest's Talks and Sessions Senior Producer, Vanessa Lobon Garcia and Podcast Programme Producer Lieven Heeremans

Vanessa Lobón Garcia (she/her)

Talks and Sessions Senior Producer

Vanessa Lobón Garcia is a Barcelona-born, London-based film industry leader with over a decade of international production management experience. She is co-founder and CEO of Doc'n Roll Films, a music documentary agency focusing on exhibition, distribution, sales and production. Vanessa is a key force behind the Doc'n Roll Festival, expanding its presence across the UK, Ireland and since 2023 in the US where her role extends beyond festival leadership. Her expertise lies in curating engaging talks, sessions, and parties, creating dynamic spaces that celebrate the intersection of music and film. Collaborations with the GLA (Greater London Authority), Hull City of Culture, Amazon, Converse, Dr. Martens, and Vans on year-round curated film events, further enhanced her impact on the UK's cultural landscape.

A founding member of the international Music Film Festival Network, Vanessa’s commitment to amplifying outlier and marginalised voices in the film and music industries is evident in projects like the award-winning documentary Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliche (2021), where she began her production journey. She currently holds executive producer and consultant roles in a number of film projects in development and production, leveraging her deep industry connections to assist UK filmmakers in accessing international markets.

Vanessa’s dedication to fostering new talent and diverse voices is evident in both her longstanding support for emerging documentary filmmakers, and her work in creative alliance-building in the industry. Via her deep expertise in curating engaging roundtables, screen talks and innovative film-related public and industry events, she is inspired by opportunities to forge dynamic spaces that celebrate the intersection of music and film and facilitate creative alliance-building. 


Lieven Heeremans (he/him)

Podcast Programme Producer

Based in Amsterdam, Lieven is a full-time independent podcast producer since 2020 and delivered Sheffield DocFest’s inaugural Podcast Pitch and Podcast Stories sessions and events in 2023. He is one of the co-founders and the artistic director of the Dutch Podcast Network, which among other things has put on Podcast Festivals in the Netherlands annually since 2018. In 2021 he started a popular podcasting newsletter titled ‘Heb je nog een podcasttip?’ (do you have any podcast recs?) since people kept asking him this.

The deadline for MeetMarket submissions is 6 February 2024. Find out more about how to submit your project to our 2024 MeetMarket.

Our Partners