Venice Film Fest to Launch Virtual Reality Feature About Jesus Christ

'Jesus VR - The Story of Christ' VR feature still - H 2016
Courtesy of Venice Film Festival

A 40-minute preview of ‘Jesus VR,’ billed as the first feature-length virtual reality film, will play for festivalgoers.

Audiences are about to see the life of Jesus Christ in a whole new way. The 73rd Venice International Film Festival will screen a special 40-minute preview of what is being billed as the first feature-length virtual reality film ever made, Jesus VR The Story of Christ.

The entire film, produced by Autumn VR and VRWERX, will run 90 minutes.  

While other films have attempted to claim the title of first VR feature, Jesus VR indeed seems to be the first high-budget VR film with a distribution strategy from festival to consumer. And Venice is front and center in its launch of new technologies, beating other top festivals to the punch.

The film will be accessible to preview for all accredited badge holders Sept. 1-Sept. 4 at Venice’s new VR theater on the second floor of the casino, which is equipped with 50 VR headsets and individual seats which pivot 360 degrees.

Shot entirely in Matera, Italy in 4K 360 Degrees, Jesus VR – The Story of Christ goes back 2,000 years in time to show the story of Jesus Christ from his birth to his resurrection. Employing over a hundred crew members and hundreds of extras, it is believed to be the most ambitious feature-length virtual reality film ever produced. If a success, it could help shape the way virtual reality stories are produced and distributed.

The film will release this Christmas on all major virtual reality platforms, including Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive.

“We are particularly happy to present the world’s first virtual reality feature film,” said festival director Alberto Barbera. “Jesus helps show the narrative and spectacular potential of this new technology, which until now has been limited to brief films."

He added: "The presentation is particularly important, because this year the updated film market, now called Venice Production Bridge, is also presenting six VR projects among the 40 proposed audiovisual products in search of financing, alongside movies, documentaries, TV series and web series. It is a sign of the attention the Venice Film Festival pays to the sweeping changes which are helping redefine the horizons of the production of images in motion.”