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A total of 37 projects from 21 countries will screen during this year’s VR Expanded event, including 23 works in competition.
Competition works range in length from the seven-minute Italian-Spanish production Il Dubbio — Episode 2 from directors Matteo Lonardi, Javier Lajara, and Javier Martinez, to the one-hour immersive theater production The Severance Theory: Welcome To Respite from U.S. artist Lyndsie Scoggin.
Taiwanese VR artist Hsin-Chien Huang has two works in Venice’s VR Expanded competition: Samsara, which won the Best VR Story prize at the Cannes film market’s VR showcase earlier this month, and The Starry Sand Beach, produced together with French artist Nina Barbier.
Other notable competition titles include Container, from South Africa’s Meghna Singh, which examines the experiences of migrants risking everything in search of a better life, The Last Worker, a first-person narrative adventure from U.K. director Jörg Tittel centered around our struggle in an increasingly automated world, and End of Night, the latest from Danish VR artist David Adler, whose Taste of Hunger was a highlight of Venice VR Expanded 2020.
Out of competition, Venice will hold a special screening of In the Mist, Thai director Chou Tung-Yen’s VR rendition of the experience of visiting a gay male sauna.
Venice, the world’s oldest film festival — it celebrates its 78th anniversary this year — was also among the first movie events to embrace virtual reality as an art form. Since 2016, Venice has showcased the best in new VR with a competitive selection of work from around the world.
Last year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the VR section, which had always been held in an exhibition space on Lazzaretto Vecchio island in Venice, was moved exclusively online. Venice VR Expanded 2021 will also be a hybrid experience, with the Venice VR Expanded program available online on a bespoke platform hosted on HTC’s Viveport and Facebook’s Oculus, and viewable using PCVR and Oculus Quest headsets. The virtual Venice VR Expanded hub, designed by VRrOOm within VRChat, will be a fantastical virtual version of Venice and the Lazzaretto Vecchio Island location.
For the duration of the 2021 Venice Film Festival, which runs Sept. 1-11, the Venice VR Expanded program will also be available on-site and upon reservation for accredited festival guests at the VR Gallery in the Palazzo del Casinò (Lido di Venezia), Sala Amici.
The works of the 2021 Venice VR Expanded program will also be available for viewing in physical spaces set up at partner institutions worldwide, including at the Invr.Space in Berlin, Paris’ Centquatre, the Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Turin, the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Portland Art Museum.
Here is the full list of 2021 Venice VR Expanded:
Angels in Amsterdam, dirs: Anna Abrahams, Avinash Changa
End of Night, dir: David Adler
The Starry Sand Beach, dirs: Nina Barbier, Hsin-Chien Huang
Caves, dir: Isabel Garcia Carlos
Bedlam, dir: Mat Collishaw
Genesis, dir: Joerg Courtial
Spirit of Place, dir: Dale Deacon
Tearless, dir: Gina Kim
Samsara Complete Part 1 and 2 Version, dir: Hsin-Chien Huang
Clap, dir: Keisuke Itoh
Le Bal de Paris de Blanca Li, dir: Blanca Li
Bliss in the Ear of a Storm, dirs: Adam Lieber, Hal Sorta
Il Dubbio — Episode 2, dirs: Matteo Lonaradi, Javier Lajara, Javier Martinez
Anandala, dir: Kevin Mack
Goliath: Playing with Reality, dirs: Barry Gene Murphy, May Abdalla
Montegelato, dir: Davide Rapp
The Severance Theory: Welcome to Respite, dir: Lyndsie Scoggin
Container, dir: Meghna Singh
The Sick Rose, dirs: Tang Zhi-Zhong, Huang Yun-Hsien
Myriad. Where We Connect, dirs: Lena Thiele, Sebastian Baurmann, Dirk Hoffmann
The Last Worker, dir: Jörg Tittel
Exploring Home, dir: Sara Lisa Vogl
The Final Wish, dirs: Wang Haipel, Wang Shanshan
Special Event – Out of Competition
In The Mist, dir: Chou Tung-Yen
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