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The 74th Venice International Film Festival will feature a brand new competition, its first-ever for films made in virtual reality (VR). Chairman Paolo Baratta and director Alberto Barbera announced the news on Wednesday.
The competition jury will feature five leading creatives in the field to give away three prizes: best VR film, grand VR jury prize and best VR creativity award.
Last year the festival launched what they called the world’s first film festival VR screening room at the Palazzo del Casino, rotating a slate of short films with clips from Jesus VR, the first feature-length VR film. The competition, Venice Virtual Reality, will feature up to 18 VR films to be shown at the rebooted screening room.
This year Venice also launched a Biennale College Cinema for Virtual Reality. Nine teams composed of a director and a producer were chosen to work on VR short films. Nine projects are currently in development from countries including Italy, USA, Denmark, France, Israel, Serbia, Philippines and The Netherlands.
Two projects will be awarded with a production grant of $32,000 and will be debuted at the festival. The remaining projects will enter the Venice Production Bridge as part of the festival’s Gap Financing Market.
The 74th edition of Venice Film Fest takes place Aug. 30-Sept. 9.
World’s first VR film festival screening room in action. As isolating as you’d expect. #Venice2016 pic.twitter.com/I2aUwuEwhF
— Ariston Anderson (@Aristonla) September 1, 2016
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