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Kaleidoscope Film Festival Highlights Best in Virtual Reality Filmmaking

Kaleidoscope Film Festival Highlights Best in Virtual Reality Filmmaking

READ MORE: How Virtual Reality Technology is Changing Documentary Filmmaking

Virtual reality agency Kaleidoscope has announced its first ever Kaleidoscope VR Film Festival, a 10-city tour that will showcase virtual reality (VR) filmmaking and will exclusively feature virtual reality films made by independent artists. The event is being presented by Vrideo, an immersive video platform company for VR films. Each event at the festival will feature talks and demos from top VR filmmakers and industry members. Audiences will also have the chance to experience these films on Gear VR equipment supplied by Samsung, in addition to Oculus VR headsets.

Film selections for the festival include:

“Bright Shadows”- Director: Michael Catalano 

Inspired by the abstract visual music animators of the early to mid-1900’s, Bright Shadows is an 11 minute computer generated animation of dynamic, colorful abstractions choreographed to instrumental music. It is comprised of seven distinct movements with unique emotional tones that are brought to life with high-quality lighting and shading techniques and rendered in stereoscopic 3D.

“Butts”- Director: Tyler Hurd
Widely credited as the first animated cartoon for virtual reality, BUTTS is a story about love, trust and learning what it means to be truly free. Transport yourself into a brand new bright and colorful world of happiness and excitement, and make some friends along the way. BUTTS will make you laugh, cry, fill you with unimaginable bliss and return you to that innocent place of childlike wonder you’ve long forgotten.

“Clouds Over Sidra”- Directors: Chris Milk and Gabo Arora 
CLOUDS OVER SIDRA follows a twelve year old in the Za’atari camp in Jordan – home to 84,000 Syrian refugees. It follows her to school, to her makeshift tent and even to the football pitch. The film was commissioned as part of the UN’s advocacy at the World Economic Forum in Davos to state and business leaders and offers a unique perspective into the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.

“Colosse”- Producer: Joseph Chen
COLOSSE is a real-time virtual reality storytelling experience, with a stylized, character-focused visual language. While the viewer has no direct control over the action, the progression of the narrative is gaze-based. The viewer’s gaze – things the viewer pays the most attention to – directs the experience around them, giving a subtle influence over events as they unfold. The story of the long lost Great Spirits known as the COLOSSE explores themes of fear, power and respect.

“Der Grosse Gottlieb”- Director: Daniël Ernst
Synopsis: The fabled DER GROSSE GOTTLIEB, the greatest acrobat of his generation, will perform his final amazing trick. After building a tower of chairs thrice the size of the Eiffel Tower, he now has built a tower of mythical proportions, high enough to knock on heaven’s door to visit the stars! Der Grosse Gottlieb is the second addition in a series of fantastical dioramas for virtual reality by interactive illustrator Daniel Ernst.

“DMZ: Memories of a No Man’s Land”- Director: Hayoun Kwon
DMZ: MEMORIES OF A NO MAN’S LAND takes the viewer to a place where they are forbidden to go: The Korean Demilitarized Zone, a strip of land about 248 km long and 4 km wide that separates North and South Korea. In this revealing VR documentary you will discover the zone through the memory of a former soldier.

“Evolution of Verse”- Director: Chris Milk 

EVOLUTION OF VERSE takes the viewer on a journey from one beginning to a new beginning. Working with visual effects company Digital Domain, director Chris Milk has created a photo-realistic CGI-rendered 3-D virtual reality experience that references the Lumière brother’s Arrival of a Train made at the dawn of cinema.
“The Last Mountain”- Director: Avram Dodson 
THE LAST MOUNTAIN is an original story about a rock creature in search of companionship, written and directed by Avram Dodson. It sought to answer a couple key questions about translating cinematic conventions to this new medium: do camera cuts work in a 360 degree environment when the viewer is in control? Can the viewer’s gaze be effectively directed? Is it possible to have the camera move without causing nausea?

“Lovr”- Director: Aaron Bradbury 
More than 100,000 chemical reactions happen in your brain every second. So what about the moment you saw the girl of your dreams, and she saw you? If we could capture those few seconds what would the data look like? LOVR is a document of this moment. A story of love, told through neural activity captured over 4 seconds. As chemicals are released and areas of the brain activated, a form of poetry is revealed within the data. The heart beats, the iris dilates and time stands still as two lovers see each other for the first time.

“The Archer”- Director: Jessica Kantor 
A man visits a female archer, and chaos ensues.

“The Nepal Quake Project”- Director: David Darg 
Narrated by Susan Sarandon, THE NEPAL QUAKE PROJECT uses Virtual Reality technology to immerse viewers in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake. The film not only marks the first in natural disaster VR, but it represents the future of news and action.

“The Night Café”- Director: Mac Cauley 
THE NIGHT CAFÉ is an immersive VR environment that allows you to explore the world of Vincent van Gogh first hand. Take a moment to enjoy his iconic sunflowers in 3 dimensions or walk around the chair he painted in his bedroom to see it from another angle. Step into the vivid colors straight from his palette.

“SightLine: The Chair”- Director: Tomáš Mariančík

SIGHTLINE: THE CHAIR is a surreal experience that demonstrates virtual reality’s full potential both in creating a variety of worlds that feel real and creating realities that behave unlike anything you might know. In SightLine, the moment you shift your gaze the environment changes–a unique interaction that could point the way towards smooth scene transitions in cinematic virtual reality.
“Surge”- Director: Arjan Van Meerten
SURGE is an abstract meditation on the evolutionary process and its relentless march towards complexity. Built with Unreal by artist Arjan van Meerten,  Surge was produced over the course of a year with Arjan creating all of the music, animation and code himself. With thousands of downloads, Surge is currently the highest rated experience on Oculus Share. 

“Tana Pura”- Director: Mike Tucker
What is it like to die? That is the question at the heart of Tana Pura, an audio-visual exploration of the moments following death and the soul’s transition into the afterlife. With haunting music composed by Jonny Greenwood, Tana Pura draws inspiration from The Tibetan Book of the Dead and The Psychedelic Experience.

“Way to Go”- Director: Vincent Morisset 
Way to Go is a walk in the woods. It is an astonishing interactive experience, a restless panorama, a mixture of hand-made animation, 360˚ video capture, music and dreaming and code; but mostly it is a walk in the woods, c’mon. Created by Vincent Morisset, Philippe Lambert, Édouard Lanctôt-Benoit & Caroline Robert (AATOAA). Produced by the NFB & France TV.

“Welcome to Aleppo”- Director: Christian Stephen
A moving VR documentary by war journalist Christian Stephen that transports the viewer to Aleppo, Syria, an ancient city that is now one of the most dangerous war zones on earth.

Additional films will be added as the festival gets closer.

The dates for the 2015 Kaleidoscope VR Film Festival Presented by Vrideo include: 

August 22- Portland, OR
August 26- Seattle, WA
August 29- Vancouver, BC
September 10- San Francisco, CA
September 23- Los Angeles, CA
September 26- Denver, CO
October 1- Montreal, QC
October 4- Toronto, ON
October 6- New York, NY
October 14- Austin, TX

Check out Kaleidoscope’s website for details on venues and times for each date. 

READ MORE: 6 Ways Virtual Reality Will Change Filmmaking

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