International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) and VR Days Europe have selected nine virtual-reality projects to be presented at VR Days Europe in Amsterdam on Friday 26 October 2018, the biggest VR event in Europe. Professionals in the interactive media will examine the possibilities for finance and distribution. Among the selected projects are works by Benoît Lichté, Philipp Maas and artist and ‘light magician’ Tupac Martir. Two of the nine projects will furthermore be invited to the 2019 edition of IFFR’s co-production market CineMart, next to two other VR projects which are yet to be selected.
The collaboration between IFFR Pro and VR Days Europe started in 2016 and shows the organisations’ shared commitment to promote new forms of visual experiences. Marit van den Elshout, head of IFFR Pro, comments: “The world of fictional VR is slowly but surely maturing. New and exciting works are created every year, by young and emerging filmmakers but also by more established names. As a film festival that fosters innovation, we love to be at the forefront of these developments by stimulating adventurous creators with great ideas.”
Among the selected creators is French filmmaker Benoît Lichté, who is planning an underwater VR experience called The Water Cycle, together with Serge Dumont. Danish creator Mads Damsbo of Makropol is creating a time-locked multiplayer VR narrative called Wormhole, which functions not unlike an escape room. Makropol was present at IFFR 2018 with their installation Doom Room and a VR project called Ice Cave. For a full list of the nine selected projects that will be presented at VR Days Europe 2018, see below.
The 36th edition of CineMart (Sunday 27 January - Wednesday 30 January 2019) will have four slots for VR project presentations during the IFFR Pro x VR Days event (Tuesday 29 January 2019). Two of these slots will be filled by projects that were presented at VR Days Europe 2018 and the other two slots are yet to be filled in. IFFR Pro is making an open call which opens on 16 November. From then on, applications can be sent in via IFFR.com up until 1 December 2018.
- Clicks, Ate de Jong, The Netherlands, produced by Mulholland Pictures Utopian story set in 2084 in which people have to make the decision between happiness or freedom. Most choose happiness, some choose freedom.
- Cosmos Within Us, Tupac Martir, UK, produced by Satore Studio/Tech An immersive VR fiction telling the story of Aiken, a 60-year-old man who dives into memories of his childhood in an effort to preserve them against his swiftly progressing Alzheimer's.
- The Imaginary Friend, Steye Hallema, The Netherlands, produced by Submarine Channel VR experience in which the viewer inhabits the role of the imaginary friend of a young boy, who does not understand why no one else can be his friend. A beautiful and heartbreaking tale of a boy's shift from childhood to growing up.
- Inside Out XR, Charlotte Bruneau, Luxembourg, produced by a_BAHN Inside Out XR immerses you in the universe of domestic slavery in Lebanon and beyond. During this interactive VR experience, you find yourself in the shoes of a woman, the owner of a foreign, enslaved maid, who confronts you with her terrible dilemma: are you willing to oppress your maid to conform to patriarchal rules?
- Listening, Miloš Ljubomirović, Serbia, produced by Servia Film A visceral experience inside of a musician’s mind as he loses sight, has repeating nightmares, and struggles with his own existence.
- Mirage, Philipp Maas, Germany, produced by Scope Virtual Content Studio In Mirage, you set out to escape from the emptiness of the desert. The sun is burning ruthlessly above your head. You have no sense of direction or purpose. You feel completely lost when out of nowhere The Coachman appears, a mysterious character offering his help.
- Synesthesia VR, Rein Zobel, Estonia, produced by Maru VR Production Albrecht is a detective with sensitive powers. His sense of the world is extraordinary – a smell, sound or touch can ignite vivid images of different places and worlds. But this comes at a price – Albrecht is constantly looking for new ways to escape the dystopian routine of police work.
- The Water Cycle, Serge Dumont/Benoît Lichté, France, produced by Seppia A virtual reality experience filmed in 360° video that follows the water cycle and takes us into depths of the Rhine valley water table. The tone is both poetic and scientific, a unique diving experience that plunges us into cool, crystalline – and threatened – waters.
- Wormhole, Mads Damsbo, Denmark, produced by Makropol A multiplayer VR narrative with a timelock. Not unlike an Escape Room, audiences must work together and interact with their environment to prevent a black hole from swallowing the world through a vacuum decay. All within an hour.