Sheffield Doc Fest Returns Next Week with VR Premieres, Awards and Summit

by Jamie Feltham • June 2nd, 2016

Last year’s Sheffield Doc Fest made hugely progressive steps towards highlighting VR. This year the event is taking it even further.

Doc Fest 2016 takes place from June 10th – 15th in the UK city. Along with hosting a wide range of groundbreaking traditional documentaries, the festival will once again highlight VR works with a huge VR Arcade as part of its Alternate Realities section. A total of 12 experiences will be on offer, ranging from 360 degree films such as the world premiere of Darren Emerson’s Invisible – commissioned by the festival itself – to fully CG experiences like Mars 2030.

There’s even content from the UK’s National Theatre like Home: Aamir and a chance to see the anticipated Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel from Oscar Raby and the BBC. Each of the experiences on display will also be up for the Alternate Realities VR Award, which is to be judged by a jury that includes members of the Tribeca Film Institute and Channel 4. You’ll also have the chance to meet many of the creators of these experiences at various points throughout the event.

But that’s far from all to look forward to this year. The Alternative Realities Summit will also return for a full day on Sunday June 12th with a host of talks from industry leaders and more. Highlights include a talk on ‘The Future of Virtual Reality’ from Jessica Brillhart, Principal Filmmaker for VR at Google, a look at VR Journalism with Hugo Ward from The Economist, and an in-depth discussion about the United Nation’s latest VR film designed to raise awareness of global issues.

I was able to attend Doc/Fest last year and I came away impressed with just how much of a spotlight VR had at the show. The event had a diverse range of experiences that highlighted the many different ways in which VR can capture your attention, raise awareness and lose you in a new world. It’s VR at its most diverse and I encourage anyone that can go to check it out.

Best of all, the Alternate Realities offerings will be free to come and see throughout the week. Day passes for the festival are still on sale, while tickets for individual screenings can also be purchased.

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