Encounters Film Fest Launches AR Cinema

Encounters Film Fest Launches AR Cinema
September 11, 2019

The Encounters Augmented Reality Festival, the first of its kind, is showcasing seven shorts over seven days, directly from their social media platforms.



Using Zappar WebAR, the Encounters Social followers have easy access to the new AR Cinema as there’s no need to download an app first.


Encounters first Augmented Reality Festival is produced by innovation partner, Overlay XR.

Democratising Augmented Reality with WebAR

With the recent progression in Augmented Reality (AR), and specifically WebAR, a myriad of opportunities became available to make AR accessible to more mobile users.


WebAR essentially uses your device browser for the AR experience. It’s no longer needed to download an app first to enjoy the AR.


Of course, there are still valid use cases for both app based AR and app-less WebAR.


But this is, essentially, a huge step towards democratising AR by removing the barrier of first downloading an app.

Encounters Augmented Reality Festival

“The Encounters AR Festival is a pilot that will expand the audience base and longevity of Encounters, taking it beyond traditional venues by using available technology to create easy access - to talented filmmakers work and thought-provoking films” says Mandisa Zitha, Festival Director.


The Festival line-up features one film per day from Saturday 7 - Friday 13 September 2019 and showcases a mix of films by established filmmakers and students.


The Augmented Reality platform was chosen to promote South African short documentaries by increasing audience reach through an accessible and free platform.


“We hope to learn from this initial programme and to develop it further as part of the Encounters 2020 programme”.


The AR Cinema can be triggered directly from the Encounters Social Media platforms.


During the AR Festival , The Encounters team post daily updates about the film, ahead of its daily 6pm “virtual show”. The viewer can simply click on the link which will launch the WebAR experience.

Here’s a video that shows the Encounters AR Festival user experience:

“Lean into” new experiences

“The ability of placing a virtual cinema in the palm of your hand and watch exclusive films are extremely exciting to us," says Overlay XR.


“Especially how new technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) are merging into Extended Reality (XR). By providing content in new innovative ways where the user can “lean into” the experience is what excites us most.”


Overlay XR works closely with Len van der Westhuizen from The Burping Turtle.


“Len is a highly experienced AR developer and collaborated with Overlay on several AR projects”.


To view the Encounters Augmented Reality Festival, simply follow them on their Social platforms:



About Encounters:

Founded in 1999, Encounters is the leading Creative Documentary Festival in South Africa and on the African continent. Annually, Encounters offers ten days of diverse and exceptional programming of relevant, creative documentaries from around the globe. The Festival strives to take an innovative approach to developing audiences and building capacity in the local and regional documentary film industry. Since its inception, Encounters has become an important site of both audience engagement through the main film programme and of learning and transformation through its comprehensive industry and training offerings.

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