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The Alternate Realities Summit returned to Sheffield Doc/Fest on Sunday 11 June 2017.

The world’s leading interactive and immersive storytellers discussed how they use the latest technology to examine who we are. Covering games to graphic novels, virtual reality to augmented reality, this day of engaging panels and playful presentations informed and inspired.

The Summit morning, titled ‘Reflections’ explored the role of identity in documentary, kicking off with a keynote from Phil Stuart, Creative Director of the UK’s leading games studio, Preloaded, with his observations on creating games with purpose. Following Phil, Pervasive Media Studio’s Verity McIntosh chaired a panel on the universal power of stories of family and heritage, and games journalist Holly Nielsen chaired a session on the importance of audience agency in interactive docs.

The Summit afternoon, ‘Togetherness’, focused on how technology in interactive and immersive docs can be a uniting force for good. Alternate Realities commission collaborators Marshmallow Laser Feast talked through what makes an engaging communal experience; VR journalist Charlotte Mikkelborg chaired a panel exploring the political power of interactive and immersive stories, and Google’s Jessica Brillhart shared the details of her ambitious new project Voyager which aims to celebrate the breadth of human experience for life on Earth. 

Recordings of all the talks and sessions are available on the Doc/Fest YouTube channel

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Welcome from Alternate Realities Curator and Co-Hosts Anagram
Sun 11 June / 10:00 / Crucible Studio

We welcome you for an insightful day of talks and discussions with the international digital storytelling community.

SPEAKERS

Dan Tucker (Sheffield Doc/Fest)
Amy Rose (Anagram)
May Abdalla (Anagram)

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Play Like You Mean It
Sun 11 June / 10:10 / Crucible Studio

Phil Stuart, Creative Director of Preloaded and leader of Games with Purpose takes us on a tour of the new generation of mesmerising, meaningful games for grown-ups, and explains how games are changing the way we think about ourselves and others.

SPEAKER

Phil Stuart (Preloaded)

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It’s A Family Affair: Small Stories, Big Meaning
Sun 11 June / 10:40 / Crucible Studio

The values, traditions, history, and language of our family help to shape our identity, but are also ours to look after. How do digital storytellers use technology to preserve stories of heritage and home? Verity McIntosh chairs a panel discussion that looks at family history through digital innovation, preservation, and play.

CHAIR

Verity McIntosh (Pervasive Media Studio)

SPEAKERS

Alex Pearson (RedThread.Media, Creator Future Aleppo)
Genaro Vallejo, (GameCo, Co-creator & Developer Borders)
Jen Brea (Director Unrest / Creator Unrest VR)

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EYE YAM MEE with Anagram
Sun 11 June / 11:30 / Crucible Studio

Throughout the day our co-hosts, Anagram, will generate a portrait of our digital selves: the distorted persona of us represented by our online activities, obsessions, and habits. Look out into the audience and there is a sea of strangers. Are you curious enough to burrow past the banal and find what makes each person uniquely human?

SPEAKERS

Amy Rose (Anagram)
May Abdalla (Anagram)

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Choose Your Own Misadventure
Sun 11 June / 12:00 / Crucible Studio

The choices we make in our lives create our journey and shape our evolving identity. Agency in documentary is still a new concept and a complex challenge. Games journalist Holly Nielsen chairs a panel examining the role of the audience as co-storyteller and the impact of agency on our understanding and investment in factual stories.

CHAIR

Holly Nielsen (Games journalist)

SPEAKERS

David Oppenheim (National Film Board of Canada, Producer The Space We Hold)
Mike Orwell (BBC, Creator Tell Me Your Secrets)
Vassiliki Khonsari (Ink Stories, Creator Blindfold)
Michelle Feuerlicht (Head of Digital, KEO)

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LUNCH BREAK 

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Sharing Our Imagination
Sun 11 June / 14:00 / Crucible Studio

New and immersive technology is often labelled as isolating, but some digital artists are using tech to create imaginative and engaging communal experiences. Robin McNicholas, Creative Director of Marshmallow Laser Feast, shares his insights on how they use tech such as light cameras, artificial intelligence and haptics to build virtual worlds that encourage us to connect as a collective.

SPEAKER

Robin McNicholas (Marshmallow Laser Feast, Co-creator Future Aleppo)

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Join the Resistance
Sun 11 June / 14:35 / Crucible Studio

New technology empowers us to express our opinions and protest the injustices we see around us. 2017 has seen VR, social media, augmented reality and web documentaries charged with political meaning. Virtual reality director and journalist Charlotte Mikkelborg chairs a panel exploring the political power of interactive and immersive stories.

CHAIR

Charlotte Mikkelborg (VR Director / Journalist)

SPEAKERS

Ali Eslami (Artist, Creator DeathTolls Experience)
Anna Ridler (Artist, Creator Wikileaks: A Love Story)
Ché Ramsden (Amnesty International UK)
Darren Emerson (VR City / East City Films) 

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HOO R UZZ? with Anagram

Sun 11 June / 15:30 / Crucible Studio 

Anagram return to reflect on the portrait that has been collectively constructed by the audience. If there was one thing in the world that this group of people could achieve, what would it be? With silly games involving awkward questions and deflating balloons, we ask, in this temporary community of curious humans, “who are we together?"

SPEAKERS

Amy Rose (Anagram)
May Abdalla (Anagram)

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Of Worlds and Visitors
Sun 11 Jun / 16:00 / Crucible Studio

In 1977, NASA commissioned Carl Sagan and his team to create the Golden Record – a message from the human race to life beyond our solar system. Forty years after its launch, Google’s Jessica Brillhart presents the beginnings of an ambitious new project – Voyager – which aims to re-imagine this content in virtual reality.

SPEAKER
Jessica Brillhart (Google, Creator Beethoven's Fifth & Navajo Nation)

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Closing Remarks
Sun 11 Jun / 16:30 / Crucible Studio