2017 the LICHTER Filmfest launches a new event format and international competition on the subject of “Virtual Reality Storytelling.” This includes fictional and non-fictional Virtual Reality storytelling two- or three-dimensional 360-degree films either rendered or filmed in real-time and which are playable on a GearVR or similar device.
Fitting the theme, the jury of the VR Storytelling Competition has selected the finalists of the international call for entries during a virtual conference. From over 50 submissions, five films were selected. The winner may look forward to a cash prize of 1,000 Euro, the second and third places are endowed with 500 Euro each. After hours of sighting film entries virtually, our high-caliber jury is still trying to find its way back into the boring reality. Nevertheless, Ralph Benz (3sat), Astrid Kahmke (Bayerisches Filmzentrum), Kay Meseberg (arte), Eckart Köberich (ZDF Digital) and Marco Heutink (Ceil) can reveal the results of their digital odyssey.
The finalists are: Henry Stuart (IRL) // Dublin in the Dark Ali Weinstein (CAN) // Siren Song Linara Bagautdinova (RUS) // Family Circle Uwe Flade (D) // Tankstelle des Glücks [Petrol Station of Happiness] Alexandre Perez (F) // Sergeant James
The award ceremony will be held at the Naxoshalle, the LICHTER VR Centre, on the 30th of March 2017, following a comprehensive conference on the state of narrative virtual reality.
The films will be shown in an experimental cinema format on Thursday 30th of March, on Friday 31st of March and on Sunday 02nd of April at the Naxoshalle.
Have a closer look on the five finalists of the VR Storytelling Competition and their works
Dublin in the Dark: The Story of 'Emerald Noir' // Director: Henry Stuart
German premiere Documentary, (IRL 2016) Running time: 4 minutes
Dublin is the capital of crime – at least in the imagination of many crime writers who have made the Irish coastal city the centre of their life and literary production. The novelist Tana French tells us how the city which is steeped in history is constantly reinventing itself. Filmed in stunning stereoscopic 3D, the film gives us an inkling of the inspiring force that Dublin exerts on her and a whole generation of authors.
Siren Song // Directors: Ali Weinstein, Nicolas Jolliet
World premiere Experimental film, (CAN 2016) Running time: 6 minutes
A diving adventure of the special kind. Within atmospheric underwater landscapes we encounter mystical creatures, fascinating us with their enchanting dance. The weightless freediving choreography uses the 360 degree space in a truly breathtaking way. Follow the call of the mermaids and dive in!
Family Circle // Director: Linara Bagautdinova
German premiere Feature film, (RUS 2016) Running time: 4 minutes
“Spatial narration” taken seriously: 4 minutes, 4 temporal layers and in the end we have witnessed a complete family history. Love and hatred, approach and alienation, conflict and reconciliation – in a kaleidoscope-like arrangement, Linara Bagautinova merges theatrical production means with the technological possibilities of VR, thus creating a completely new narrative format. Look around, there is plenty to discover!
Tankstelle des Glücks // Director: Uwe Flade
Music video Running time: 4 minutes
An offer we can not refuse. Lover of petrol stations, entertainer and wearer of shorts Friedrich Liechtenstein takes us on a bizarre ride through Berlin. “1000 litres” in the petrol tank and music an absolute must. “I am going on a journey, quite quietly.” And when suddenly the entire city joins the chorus, high spirits are guaranteed. Get in and sway to the music! Fantastic!
Sergeant James // Director: Alexandre Perez
German premiere Feature film, (F 2016) Running time: 7 minutes
Is there a monster underneath my bed? Anyone who recognises this question from their childhood will be surprised by the answer given to us by this film. With the help of the exceptional use of the VR perspective, we are placed under the bed’s duckboard where we suspected pure horror on sleepless nights back then. A role reversal that quickly reveals the obvious: Even monsters can be afraid of the strange activities above them. We wish you a terrific time!
LICHTER VR LAB // ACCOMPANYING PROGRAMME
in cooperation with ZDF Digital
Lecture programme “Storytelling in Virtual Worlds” // Thu, 30. March // 10am – 5pm // after 7pm: Get together
VR experts from all disciplines will discuss the status, opportunities and possibilities of narrative VR content in a comprehensive lecture programme. Following this, we offer all participants the opportunity to discuss, exchange and network in a relaxed environment.
Michael Kaschner (ZDF Digital) // Approaching VR: When dreams become true
Alexander Herrmann (expanding focus) // Storytelling in VR – questions, findings, thoughts
Astrid Kahmke (Bavarian Film Centre) // Your VR World is my Kingdom – User Perspectives in Spatial Narration
Kay Meseberg (ARTE G.E.I.E.) // VR Neuland – what we learned
Lewis Smithingham // Narrative 360 and Live 360 Production
Thomas Wallner (Liquid Cinema Inc. / Deep Inc.) // The future of film
A VR fair for the presentation of tools for VR productions and introduction of projects by regional stakeholders.
Thu, 30. March // 10am-5pm Fr, 31. March // 1:30pm-5pm
On Friday at 14:00 we present the VR-Installation “RHIZ*OMAT” in cooperation with arte. Following up at 15:00 students of the h_da (Hochschule Damrstadt) perform their VR-inspired play “LONELYGIRL” with a discussion afterwards.
All VR Events take place in the studioNAXOS // Waldschmidtstraße 19 // 60316 Frankfurt/Main
Virtual Reality (VR), Cinematic VR and 360°-video are visual presentations that stimulate people's imagination not just since the recent euphoric wave. Stereoscopy, that means threedimensional image representations, is a process as old as photography itself. Without a doubt, the technique which through a mixture of stereoscopy and movementdetection dupes the viewer's brain and creates the impression of a real, persistent environment, will continue to develop decisively in the next few years.
VR stands in a long series of narrative traditions and yet, is something completely new. As the first medium in history, it lifts the boundary between narrator and audience, between the screen and the viewer, and relocates the viewer directly and immediately in other places. Literature, film and theatre can only serve as templates for virtual narration, however, a distinct form is not yet available. VR has the chance to become an entirely new media category, provided that it is possible to create content which goes beyond the mere spectacle which VR is currently still leaning towards.
We understand film festivals to be responsible for providing a place and stage for this exchange and to participate in the search for new formats with regard to the content and, above all, the presentation and the shared experience of VR.