LOS ANGELES, April 19 — The British director Ridley Scott has launched RSA VR, a new studio which will be dedicated exclusively to virtual reality. This division of his production company is working on, among other projects, an immersive experience inspired by his next film Alien: Covenant. Scott is the latest in a long list of major directors who have taken an interest in this new technology.
Ridley Scott’s reputation as an innovator has been proven once again with his decision to create RSA VR, a division of his production company which will be exclusively dedicated to virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed media.
Headed by Jen Dennis, this specialist unit’s roster includes 13 directors who will help to create new film experiences. One of these is David Karlak, who is working on an immersive film inspired by the terrifying world of Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott’s next movie which will be released in May.
This voyage into virtual reality will be created with the help of 20th Century Fox, which has also launched its own division in this field called Fox Innovation Lab. This unit has already worked with Ridley Scott on The Martian VR Experience, a VR film inspired by Scott’s previous movie The Martian which was released in 2015. At that time, The Martian VR Experience was available on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR. These platforms are expected to make available a similar film inspired by Planet of the Apes, when its next instalment War for the Planet of the Apes is released in July.
VR is heading for Cannes and Venice
VR in the movie industry is more than just a few isolated projects. In 2017, the technology will be introduced in one of the biggest film festivals in the world. The Out of Competition section of the 70th Cannes Film Festival in May will unveil a VR installation by Oscar-winning Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant, Birdman). This six-minute project is called Carne y Arena (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible).
The next Venice Film Festival (from August 31 to September 4) will go even further. It will have a section dedicated exclusively to VR. Three prizes, decided on by a jury of five professionals, will be awarded in this category which will consist of 18 immersive films.
VR is already attracting big names in the movie industry. In addition to Scott and Inarritu, Kathryn Bigelow has taken an interest in the subject via the documentary The Protectors. The director of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty worked with Imraan Ismail, Annapurna Pictures and National Geographic Channel to create this eight-minute film about women and men in the Democratic Republic of Congo who strive to protect elephants against ivory poachers.