Feature Image Credit: Beyond the Frame
Beyond the Frame Festival and FIVARS tease the next generation of media artists.
Japan’s very first VR-focused international film festival, Beyond the Frame Festival, is currently underway thanks to a partnership with HTC Vive. The festival, which runs from February 12 through February 21, will showcase VR films from artists all around the world.
To attend the festival and check out this year’s finalists, visitors can use their smartphones, tablets, and computers to access a virtual venue similar to that of a conventional movie theater lobby filled with posters of this year’s entries. Of course, you can also use your HTC Vive to jump into VIVEPORT and experience each film in VR. You can also use your smartphone and a mobile head-mounted display to access the festival via VeerR VR.
Organizers behind the festival hope to introduce audiences to a fresh roster of talented VR filmmakers while—simultaneously—breaking you out of the traditional 2D screen experience by exposing you to the power of VR filmmaking.
This year’s contributions include Amends, an interactive Danish film that explores the emotions of a person reconnecting with their estranged mother; Beat, a Japanese animated film about a robot who acquires a heart; and The Scream, a French film exploring the world of Edvard Munch’s famous painting just to name a few.
In addition to the above-mentioned premieres, the festival will also feature multiple opportunities for you to interact with guest speakers from around the world through remote networking sessions. This includes Liz Rosenthal, Programmer of Immersive Content for Venice International Film Festival; and Loren Hammonds, VP of Immersive Programming at Tribeca Film Festival, among several others.
Beyond the Frame Festival is open free to the public and can be accessed through Viveport as well as WebVR-compatible devices.
Beat // Image Credit: Keisuke Itoh
Another film festival to talk about is the upcoming Festival of International Virtual and Augmented Reality Stories (FIVARS). Currently in its 7th year, the festival will run 24/7 for 12 straight days starting on February 19th, shining a spotlight on a new generation of 21st-century media artists who are pushing the boundaries of cinema, theater, gaming, dance, and music.
As a matter of fact, several former FIVARS entries have gone on to win big at several high-profile events, such as Pearl, a VR film that was nominated for an Oscar in 2017; and Rose-Colored, which took home a Lumiere Award back in 2018.
Keram Malicki-Sanchez, who founded FIVARS, was inspired by the work being done with the Toronto International Film Festival. Working with Stephanie Greenall, who has an extensive background in VR, AR, marketing, and technology, the two set out to recruit the best and most unique projects for FIVARS.
Gloomy Eyes // Image Credit: Jorge Tereso / Fernando Maldanodo
This year FIVARS will include films by artists from France, Romania, Netherlands, Italy, Thailand, the US, and many more. Some of this year’s more notable entries include Inside COVID19, a VR film from Gary Yost and Adam Lofton that places you on the frontline in the war against COVID-19, as well as Heterotopia by French directors Léon Denise, Dorian Rigal Minuit, and Samuel Lepoil, an interactive piece composed of several mind-altering immersive experiences brought to life through volumetric and point cloud capture – a perfect use of technology to convey an ephemeral state of being.
To deliver a more robust 360° web experience, FIVARS created a custom web theater platform to help better immerse you in this year’s offerings.
“The custom-built platform pushes the envelope of what immersive media can become, and virtual festivals can and will become, without requiring proprietary software, storefronts or downloads,” said Malicki-Sanchez.
The Human Art Project // Image Credit: Eve Weston
You can experience FIVARS in 4k resolution via your desktop web browser or VR headset.
Event organizers are currently offering a variety of ticket packages available through Eventbrite:
- 360° FIVARS Theatre Pass: $25 CAD + HST
- All Access Pass: $42 CAD + HST (Includes 360° FIVARS Theatre Pass + Interactive VR Selections)
Of course, Beyond the Frame Festival and FIVARS aren’t the only festivals using VR. The Tribeca Film Festival switched to VR after Coronavirus cancellation, while this year’s Sundance Film Festival moved forward as a remote event brought to life via a custom-built virtual platform.