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Catherine Harte, a producer/director who has worked on Channel 4 series Emergency and Night Coppers, has secured the broadcaster’s First Cut Pitch award at Sheffield Doc Fest.

Harte has secured a 60-minute doc commission from the broadcaster, plus one month of fully paid development with an indie to put the idea together.

She was one of five film-makers who presented and discussed a three-minute micro-documentary on the theme of ‘Brave New World’ at the festival, alongside Christine Saab, Jake Lea-Wilson, Holly Godfrey and Will Shears.

Harte’s short centred on an ‘anti-natalist’ who publicly challenges perceptions about childbirth, telling anyone who will listen that humans should stop procreating as living brings about inevitable suffering. The pitch came with a twist: he is a father of three.

C4 commissioning editor Janine Thomas said: “Her film not only showed her flair for storytelling and keen directorial eye to the judges, but also enthralled the Sheffield audience.  A huge congratulations to Catherine.”

As well as the pair of blue-light returner from Blast! Films and The Garden, Harte has also worked on Flicker Productions’ C4 doc Untold: Life After Love Island and BBC Current Affairs’ BBC3 doc The Instagram Effect.

Thomas was joined on the judging panel by former Sundance Film Festival director Tabitha Jackson, producer/director and Rogan Productions founder James Rogan and director and Candour Productions founder Anna Hall.

Other winners

Two docs shared a new £3,000 development pot for international feature docs. Mia Harvey and Ayo Akinwolere’s With Woman and Lukasz Konopa’s Kashpirovsky both scooped the prize in the BBC Storyville Development Pitch, with the doc strand’s commissioners Emma Hindley and Lucie Kon among the judges.

Harvey produced Flicker Productions' upcoming C4 doc Wayne Couzens: Misogyny in the UK Police and was an AP on Frank Films' Surviving Dad, also for C4, while Akinwolere is a former Blue Peter and BBC Commonwealth Games presenter who runs C4 Indie Accelator company Milk First Productions.

The festival's Audience Award went to Your Fat Friend, the ninth doc feature from Jeanie Finlay (The Great Hip Hop HoaxSeahorse, Orion: The Man Who Would Be King). The doc profiles Aubrey Gorbon, the creator of the eponymous (and anonymously-posted) blog, who rose to fame by challenging perceptions of overweight people.

Finlay produced the feature with Suzanne Alizart, Charlotte Cook, Sandra Whipham and Shanida Scotland.

Other award-winners at this year’s DocFest include:

International Grand Jury Award:
In the Rearview - Maciek Hamela (Poland, France, Ukraine)
Special mention: Stone Town - Jing Guo and Dingding KE (China)

International First Feature Grand Jury Award:
Q – Jude Chehab (USA, Lebanon)

Whickers Pitch, Film & TV Funding Award (prize: £100,000)
Women of My Life - Zahraa Ghandour (Karada Film, Iraq)

Whickers development prize (£20,000)
I Want to Kill My Grandfather - Lilyana Torres & Carlos Morales (The Lift, Mexico)

Podcast Pitch: first prize (£5000)
Time, Paper, Bone - Catherine Boulle and Bongani Kona

Podcast Pitch: second prize (£2000)
Breathing Lyrically - Taqwa Sadiq

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