Adelaide Festival: International VR Competition Unveiled

Courtesy of Sundance Institute
Lynette Walworth's 'Collisions' was an early VR project

The competition comes as filmmakers like Alejandro G. Inarritu and Ridley Scott start to embrace the technology.

An International Virtual Reality competition has been established by the biennial Adelaide Film Festival (ADL Film Fest), with partner the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS).

The competition is now open for submissions from filmmakers globally. Selected films will debut at the October festival in the South Australian capital and will feature as part of companion tech event Hybrid World. The festival is looking for “inventive, independently produced works of fiction, documentary and interactive virtual reality projects.”  

The VR Award, with a yet-to-be-announced prize, will add to the festival’s awards lineup, which includes an international feature film competition and a feature documentary competition.

The ADL Film Fest has built a reputation as arguably Australia’s most progressive, having been the first local festival to create an international feature award and the first to invest directly in film production with the ADL Film Fest Fund. The most recent feature to be financed through the fund, David Stratton: A Cinematic Life, screened out of competition at the 70th Cannes Film Festival this month.

Amanda Duthie, CEO and artistic director of the ADL Film Fest, said, “ADL Film Fest is thrilled to be working with AFTRS on this international award. Virtual reality is the new platform for screen content, and every week we are seeing new ways this can be used to push the boundaries of storytelling. AFTRS is developing the skills of those working at the forefront of this growing technology and is the perfect partner for this new initiative.”

AFTRS CEO Neil Peplow added: “There are such exciting possibilities for storytelling in the VR space, and we are delighted to partner with the ADL Film Fest on its first international VR Award, which will encourage innovation.”

Adelaide last year had the Australian premiere of VR project Collisions, made by hometown artist and filmmaker Lynette Walworth. That project garnered Wallworth a Sundance institute VR|Jaunt  residency in 2015. Collisions tells the story of aboriginal elder Nyarri Nyarri Morgan who lived as 1,000 generations before him did in the remote Pilbara desert of Western Australia until his life was dramatically impacted by a collision with Western science and technology.

Alejandro G. Inarritu debuted his first VR project at Cannes, while Ridley Scott and Fox released a short VR film, Alien: Covenant, In Utero, ahead of Alien: Covenant's premiere this month.

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