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Sheffield DocFest and IDA Announce Alternate Realities Collaboration

By IDA Editorial Staff

Abby Sun (Director of Artist Programs, IDA) and Dominic Asmall Willsdon (Executive Director, IDA) on the stage at the closing night of Getting Real ’24 conference.

Dominic Asmall Willsdon (Executive Director, IDA) on the stage at the closing night of Getting Real ’24 conference on April 18, 2024.

During the closing remarks at the Getting Real '24 conference on April 18, IDA's Executive Director Dominic Asmall Wilssdon announced the new collaboration between Sheffield DocFest and the International Documentary Association (IDA) for the Alternate Realities Exhibition and Summit during the 31st edition of Sheffield DocFest taking place 12 - 17 June 2024. An international collaboration supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

The Alternate Realities Exhibition will be curated by Sheffield DocFest Creative Director Raul Niño Zambrano alongside the IDA’s Keisha Knight, Director of Funds, and Abby Sun, Director of Artist Programmes, supported by Alternate Realities Programme Producer Jack Rutherford.

Raul Niño Zambrano, Sheffield DocFest Creative Director, says: “We are very excited to join forces with IDA, an organisation we have always felt close to and that shares our passion for works at the intersection of technology, arts and documentary. Our conversations and explorations around the future of immersive work have allowed us to gather an incredible group of pieces and artists that will connect with our audiences during the festival and beyond.”

Dominic Asmall Willsdon, IDA Executive Director, says: "On the close of Getting Real '24, we are thrilled to announce this collaboration with Sheffield DocFest’s Alternate Realities. On their decennial anniversary, Getting Real and Alternate Realities are two essential events where non-fiction makers from around the globe connect in meaningful ways. We are looking forward to the showcase of international immersive nonfiction work at Sheffield in June.”

Sheffield DocFest’s Alternate Realities programme was initiated in 2013 and developed into a full programme and exhibition in 2014. For over ten years the exhibition has celebrated innovative non-fiction and immersive documentaries in all forms, breaking the boundaries of traditional documentary practice and using cutting edge technology – including virtual reality, use of artificial intelligence, video gaming platforms, augmented reality, and interactive web documentaries.

Selected artists and industry speakers will participate in the onsite Alternate Realities Summit on Sunday 16 June as an opportunity to connect with industry including curators, international festivals, galleries, media institutions, educational institutions, production companies, tech companies, broadcasters and distribution platforms for new media.

Sheffield DocFest will present a free exhibition of works at Site Gallery that are open to industry delegates and to the public, with selected works retained and exhibited in a partnership that extends post-festival for local audiences to enjoy.

The Sheffield DocFest public programme including Artificial Realities will be launched on May 8.

About Sheffield DocFest:
Sheffield DocFest is the UK’s leading documentary festival and one of the world’s most influential markets for documentary projects. We champion and present the breadth of documentary form – film, television, immersive and art – in the vibrant city of Sheffield each June. We offer makers and audiences a place for inspiration, debate, development, learning and challenge. Our programming represents our core values – creativity, empathy, freedom, inclusivity and internationalism.

Sheffield DocFest is run by International Documentary Festival Sheffield, an independent registered charity (no.1184849), whose purpose is to advance the art of film, education and training in documentary filmmaking. Our core values as a charity centre around empathy, inclusiveness, social engagement, freedom and internationalism.

About International Documentary Association (IDA):
IDA supports the vital work of documentary storytellers and champions a thriving and inclusive documentary culture. IDA is dedicated to the vision of a world where documentary creators flourish. Through our work, we connect audiences with the best of the form, provide resources, create community, and defend the rights and freedoms of documentary artists, activists, and journalists around the globe. We do this work because we believe that documentaries enrich and deepen our culture, fostering a more informed and connected world.