A Virtual Reality Film Festival Becomes a Reality


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A scene from “Colosse,” a film in which the narrative is driven by where viewers direct their gazes.Credit Joseph Chen

Would you like to be in a movie? How about inside a movie? A new film festival focused solely on virtual reality projects will give audiences that opportunity. The inaugural Kaleidoscope VR Film Festival, announced by organizers on Wednesday, will go on a 10-city tour and will feature a variety of virtual reality films by independent filmmakers. It will start Aug. 22 in Portland, Ore., and move on to San Francisco and Los Angeles, among other cities. It comes to New York on Oct. 6.

The films cover many topics and styles. The action in the experimental “Colosse” is enhanced by where viewers direct their gazes. “The Nepal Quake Project,” from David Darg, puts viewers in the middle of the aftermath of that country’s devastating earthquake earlier this year. And “Way to Go” mixes technology with hand-drawn animation as you walk (or fly) through the woods in an immersive environment.

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A sequence from “The Nepal Quake Project,” which uses virtual reality technology to emerge viewers in the aftermath of an earthquake.Credit David Darg

Virtual reality has steadily become a part of the offerings at traditional film festivals, with programs at Sundance, Cannes, Tribeca and elsewhere. And Hollywood films like “Interstellar” and “Jurassic World” are now marketed with virtual reality components. Virtual reality companies like Oculus, known for the head-mount display hardware often used to experience this work, has gotten into the business of making short films. Now this festival, from Kaleidoscope, which promotes the work of visual reality artists, aims to call attention to a greater diversity of such projects.

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A scene from “Way to Go,” which leads viewers on an interactive walk through the woods.Credit Vincent Morisset

“We want the chance to highlight the incredible independent filmmakers who are pioneering this new film language,” a Kaleidoscope founder, René Pinnell, said in a statement.

The lineup includes 17 films, with more to be added. The full list of cities, as well as tickets, are available at KaleidoFilmFest.com.



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