Sheffield to show Tilda Swinton’s John Berger doc

In addition to the portrait of the English writer and artist, this year's edition of Sheffield Doc/Fest will feature an artificial intelligence exhibit and a debate on the future of public broadcasting. (Pictured: The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger)
April 7, 2016

Tilda Swinton, snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan, film producer David Puttnam and an archive-based, artificial intelligence experience have joined this year’s Sheffield/Doc Fest line-up.

The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger (pictured), codirectors Swinton, Bartek Dziadosz, Colin MacCabe and Christopher Rother’s portrait of the English artist and writer, will close out the festival.

The film, which had its world premiere at the Berlinale in February, comprises four short films based around each season. Swinton and Dziadosz will attend the screening in Sheffield.

The doc leads the latest round of programming announcements for the 23rd annual festival. The full line-up will be unveiled on May 5.

This year’s festival will also ponder the fate of public media in the UK during the debate “Your BBC, Your Channel 4: A Future for Public Service Television” featuring film producer Lord David Puttnam, Channel 4 deputy chief creative officer and head of factual Ralph Lee, BBC head of docs Patrick Holland and Department of Culture, Media & Sport director Hugh Harris, among others.

Meanwhile, Sheffield’s Alternate Realities Summit and Exhibition will focus on artificial intelligence by giving audiences – the first in Europe – a chance to interact with a filmed, life-sized image of Pinchas Gutter, a Holocaust survivor.

Developed by the USC Shoah Foundation’s Institute for Visual History and Education, New Dimensions in Testimony is a natural language software that allows audiences to have a realistic conversation with a recorded image that responds in real-time using complex algorithms.

The Foundation’s executive director Stephen Smith will be on hand to talk about how audio and visual data was compiled for the project. He will also participate in a panel on innovative uses of archive.

Finally, the festival will host an evening with world champion snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan, who will discuss his love of docs and explain how they inspire his game on June 13.

As previously announced, Michael Moore‘s Where to Invade Next? is the opening night film and Peter Middleton and James Spinney’s Notes on Blindness will have its UK premiere at Sheffield alongside a complementary virtual reality exhibition.

Sheffield Doc/Fest runs from June 10 to 15.

Watch the trailer for The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger below:

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.