Future aleppo 5

Sheffield Doc/Fest is delighted to announce an opportunity for an artist to create an interactive or immersive documentary work for Sheffield Doc/Fest in June 2018.

With the support of Arts Council England, we are offering £12,000 for an artist(s) based anywhere in the world to create an imaginative immersive documentary work to be installed and premiered as part of Sheffield Doc/Fest taking place later this year 7 – 12 June 2018.


About the Commission

Following the success of 2016’s winning project Indefinite by virtual reality artist Darren Emerson and 2017's winning project Future Aleppo by Alex Pearson/Marshmallow Laser Feast (image courtesy of), this is the third open commission of its kind for Sheffield Doc/Fest. This is an opportunity to truly innovate in the field of documentary-based interactive storytelling. The chosen project will be exhibited as part of the 25th Edition of Sheffield Doc/Fest in the Alternate Realities Exhibition at this year's Festival. 

About Alternate Realities

Alternate Realities is a leading forum for interactive and mixed reality projects. It explores innovative forms of storytelling through experimenting with technology to deliver immersive experiences.

Sheffield has now firmly established itself as a go-to event for cutting-edge VR material.” – Sight & Sound, June 2016.

Along with the Alternate Realities Exhibition, the Alternate Realities Summit and 26 new projects in the Alternate Realities Market, the 2016 Festival included the most comprehensive programme yet, reaching 10,000 Festival-goers, as well as piloting a tour to South America, showcasing virtual reality and interactive works to Doc Montevideo, DocSP and Noviembre Electonico. 

Who is this for?

Artists and documentary makers from anywhere in the world are invited to submit proposals.

To be considered, projects must be immersive or interactive documentaries. We are particularly interested in projects that push the boundaries of what is technically possible within factual storytelling.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate a strong commitment to innovation in interactive storytelling in the realm of non-fiction and documentary-making.

Evidence of a strong body of artistic work in the field, including a proven track record of recent work, projects, exhibitions, publishing, and/or commissions is desirable, but not essential.

The panel is open to projects that may have already been started or developed or are in production, providing they respond to the brief and we are made aware of any other partners or funding bodies involved in the project.

The commissioned project will be presented for the first time as a World Premiere at the Alternate Realities Exhibition as part of the 25th Edition of Sheffield Doc/Fest. One member of your project team must be available to be present during the Festival, 7 – 12 June 2018, plus two days+ for installing and one day de-rigging where necessary. We hope that the selected artist will document the production of this commission through a blog or Twitter feed or through supplying images that may be shared with our networks.

Support for the Commission

The selected proposal will be awarded £12,000 GBP to cover artist fees and all production costs and expenses. Travel (including international flights) and accommodation for the artist to install their work and participate in the Festival will be covered in addition. The venue and AV equipment needed to exhibit the work will be provided, as will technical help with install for the Festival. Sheffield Doc/Fest offer additional support in the development, production, delivery, marketing, and touring of the commission as appropriate.

Closing Date and Selection Process

Applications for our Alternate Realities Commission have now closed
The deadline for proposals was 12noon GMT on Tuesday 13 March.

Selection will be made on the basis of materials submitted, and the chosen proposal will be selected on the basis of artistic merit and concept, how well they relate to our mission to support makers in the emerging field of immersive, interactive documentary, as well as benefit to applicant’s practice and feasibility of production.

The commission will be selected by the Monday 29 March, for delivery Tuesday 28 May 2018.

Shortlisted artists will be invited for an informal Skype chat to discuss project details w/c 26 March.

 Arts Council Logo


Thanks to support from Arts Council England to tour projects from our 2018 Alternate Realities Exhibition to venues across the UK this Autumn, and to British Council for a second Realidades Alternativas tour to Latin America this Winter, projects selected for Doc/Fest will have the chance to be seen beyond Sheffield and beyond June as part of our touring activity.