Virtual reality brings the Venice International Film Festival to the world

“We thought there would be no way not to return to the island this year, but here we are mostly virtual,” laments virtual reality screening programmer at the Venice International Film Festival, Michel Reilhac, on the opening day. Her curator, Liz Rosenthal, is sitting next to her in Venice, Italy, where a much smaller version of her program is underway. Last year, the team successfully piloted a quarantined festival. The series of events welcomed more than 100,000 guests, which the floating city would never have been able to physically accommodate or perhaps never have wanted. The festival repeated its model this year, adding to its network of satellite locations where participants can access equipment for free.

The prohibitive costs of virtual reality equipment often define a select audience; similarly, the historical elitism of glamor and the Venetian location of the film festival. However, Reilhac and Rosenthal have a global vision, a goal recently accelerated by the invention of VRchat, a tool that allows participants from all over the world to communicate in the same virtual space.

“Much of what the biennial produces, finances and organizes is much more discreet than the surface of the red carpet,” Reilhac explains. The commissioners consider that the tension between the exclusionary nature of the distribution method and their desire for an open event is fruitful in drawing attention to the diversity program, but they also point out that the program is also an incubator between racks. “There are parts of the biennial that focus on exploring development, new talent, which, of course, the media doesn’t talk about because there’s no real glamor.” It offers the example of the 12 international projects that are funded annually with a grant of 60,000 euros and helps to support until the premieres of the next festival.

In its fifth annual edition, the virtual reality wing of the Venice International Film Festival still defines its foundation, a job taken very seriously by its pastors. “Every year we question the principles on which we have built our selection. And one of the best examples is RV chats, a celebration we do this year for people who don’t consider themselves artists who build these amazing worlds, ”Rosenthal explains.“ We added this section because we thought it was relevant, but who knows what. we will do it next year, depending on what happens. We really see ourselves offering a window to the newest frontier in this fledgling art form. ”

In practice, this means that Rosenthal and Reilhac are looking for commissions everywhere. They have no time to wait for shipments. They maintain active participation online and offline. This works in your program. Here are three highlights from this year’s edition that you can try at home.

A view into Blanca Li’s Le bal de Paris de Blanca Li– (2021).

Don’t sleep anymore fans might consider logging in to the festival to participate in Blanca Li’s Paris Dance by Blanca Li– (2021), a party-encounter-narrative game, which launches its users into an alternative but opulent reality where they are invited to a love story. There will also be a physical iteration in Venice for venues where 10 or more participants will be able to enter the same play together and actively participate in Li’s romantic plot.

The lovelessness continues with Benjamin Cleary and Michael O’Connors’s Glimpse, an immersive film experience, set in the perspective of Herbie, a panda and illustrator recently broken up with Rice, his music girlfriend. The film comes off BoJack Horseman i Tuca and Bertie reality in his poignant interpretation of lost love and its place in art.

If David Attenborough’s voice takes you to this special place, you can’t miss it Micro Monsters, a virtual reality documentary that throws the viewer into the skin of an error. From this point of view, the world of aphids is concentrated in all its glory and violence in live action. A hybrid between a documentary and an exciting journey, this non-competitive piece by Elliot Graves shows the potential of the educational side of virtual reality in vivid colors.

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