Sheffield Doc/Fest launches VR commission

The UK documentary festival is offering £5,000 (US$7,075) for an international artist to create a virtual reality doc project for the June event.
February 23, 2016

UK festival Sheffield Doc/Fest is offering £5,000 (US$7,075) for an international artist to create a virtual reality (VR) project.

The documentary-focused work will be displayed alongside other VR installations as part of the June festival’s ‘Alternate Realities’ program at contemporary art space Site Gallery.

The ‘Alternate Realities’ strand explores innovative forms of storytelling by experimenting with technology to deliver immersive experiences.

To be considered for the inaugural VR commission, projects must be documentary-driven and demonstrate innovation in interactive storytelling. Projects must also utilize a virtual reality headset as its main platform.

VR projects that are currently in development or production will be considered for the commission, providing that other partners or funding bodies involved in the project are made aware upon submission.

The successful project will be selected by a panel of judges that includes Mark Atkin, curator of ‘Alternate Realities’ at Doc/Fest; Laura Sillars, artistic director of Site Gallery; Lucia Pietroiusti, public programs curator at Serpentine Galleries; and Catherine Allen, producer for iWonder at BBC Knowledge and Learning.

Applications for VR doc proposals are open until 9 a.m. GMT on March 14. Shortlisted artists will be selected by March 30, with a delivery date of May 30.

Sheffield Doc/Fest has previously partnered with the Site Gallery to co-present the VR Arcade, which highlighted nine innovative VR experiences, including a commission from Interactive Award recipient Oscar Raby.

The festival runs from June 10 to 15. Full details for the Sheffield Doc/Fest VR commission can be found here.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.