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AFI FEST 2015 Jumps into Virtual Reality with ‘State of the Art’ Showcase

AFI FEST 2015 Jumps into Virtual Reality with 'State of the Art' Showcase

With “State of the Art – Innovation, Storytelling and Technology,” AFI FEST 2015 is turning an eye to one possible future for filmmaking: virtual reality. The two-day sidebar, featuring panel discussions with leading artists, interactive installations, and VR stations for festival attendees, also includes a keynote address by animator, VR pioneer, and Disney vet Glen Keane.

Immersive storytelling and virtual reality, building on the popularity of video games, interactive media, and 3D, may well be the next frontier for cinema, and as a result the “State of the Art” slate is far from theoretical. One panel offers creative and technical guidance from filmmakers Janicza Bravo (“Hard World for Little Things”) and
Matthew Gratzner, whose “cinematic Virtual Reality experience” “The Mission”—which follows a
WWII Special Operations team on the
Eastern Front—will be one of the films on view during the event; another focuses on the cameras, microphone systems, and rigs that filmmakers use to shoot and edit VR content. Also among the screenings is “The Fast and the Furious” and “True Detective” director Justin Lin’s pioneering sci-fi short, “Help.”

“State of the Art” runs Nov. 7-8 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. A full schedule of events is below:

Panel Discussions

Immersive Storytelling Case Studies (Nov. 7): 
Led by the creative talent behind some of Google’s latest Jump projects and Spotlight Stories, this is an in-depth conversation about the development and production of 360-degree and VR films. Panelists include Jessica Brillhart (Principal Filmmaker, Google Jump and Director of “World Tour”), Karen Dufilho-Rosen (Executive Producer, Google Spotlight Stories) and Todd Makurath (President and CEO, Bullitt and Executive Producer of “Help”).

Filmmakers Virtual Reality & Immersive Storytelling Toolkit (Nov. 7): 
This is a creative and technical guide to immersive storytelling for independent filmmakers, with panelists including filmmaker Janicza Bravo (“Hard World for Little Things), Daniel Burwen (Director of Experience, Jaunt VR), Shannon Gans (New Deal Studios) and director Matthew Gratzner (“The Mission”).

Capturing VR Picture & Sound (Nov. 8): 
A conversation about the cameras, microphone systems and rigs that filmmakers use to shoot and edit VR content will feature panelists Joe Chen (Vrse.works), Patrick Meegan (Jaunt VR), Scot Stafford (Creative Director, Sound & Music for Google Spotlight Stories) and Doug Riggs (Baron VR). The panel will be moderated by Glenn Kiser (Dolby Atmos).

The New Virtual Reality Studios (Nov. 8): 
A conversation with the VR studios developing cinematic projects and films with Hollywood and independent filmmakers will include panelists Tamsin Glasson (Vrse.works) and David Rosenbaum (Jaunt Studios).

Immersive Storytelling and VR Film Showcase

“Evolution of Verse” (dir. Chris Milk): A photorealistic, CG-rendered 3D Virtual Reality film takes the viewer on a journey from one beginning to another.

“The Mission” (dir. Matthew Gratzner): With immersive 360-degree shots, “The Mission” follows the adventure of a WWII Special Operations team that is dropped into a raging battle on the Eastern Front.

“Walking New York” (dir. Chris Milk and Zack Richter): Vrse.works and The New York Times come together to capture the birth of a new, large-scale street art installation in New York from renowned French artist JR.

“World Tour” (dir. Jessica Brillhart): A journey through the vast experiences of our world.

“Help” (dir. Justin Lin): The first live action project from Google Spotlight Stories, “Help” uses immersive 360-degree technology to drop the viewer into downtown Los Angeles during an alien attack.

“The Forbidden Room — A Living Poster” (dir. Galen Johnston): Initially designed to promote Evan Johnson and Guy Maddin’s new film, THE FORBIDDEN ROOM, this looping collection of moving, morphing posters suggests an anachronistic collision between digitally corrupted video files and a damaged silent-era film print. This project can be found at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres from Nov. 7-12.

“Possibilia” (dir. The Daniels): In this astonishing interactive narrative film by acclaimed directing duo The Daniels, the tumultuous lives of two quarreling lovers unravel and participants choose how any given scene will play out from 16 parallel universes. This will be on display at The Hollywood Roosevelt from Nov. 7-12.

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