The delegation of Chinese commissioning editors pulled out of the Sheffield Doc/Fest last week. “Officially we have been told that the reason the Chinese delegation cancelled is related to a restriction on the number of travel trips they can make to Europe,” said Heather Croall, Sheffield Doc/Fest director. However, she said that unofficially, there were a number of difficult conversations regarding films that they were screening in the programme that challenge issues of freedom of speech in China.

“We came under pressure to not show certain films. We resisted the pressure, and the films remain in the programme,” said Croall. According to Croall, the organising body was very disappointed that the Chinese delegation pulled out of the festival.

“But we remain very hopeful that they will attend in future. Chinese filmmakers, distributors and commissioners will always be welcome at Doc/Fest. We believe in the power of coproduction and have helped to facilitate hundreds of co-productions over the years,” Croall said.