VRTO’s celebrated a successful 2nd annual FIVARS (Festival of International Virtual and Augmented Reality Stories) September 16-18, 2016 with what Huffington Post raved was “the most cutting-edge storytelling festival in the world!”
FIVARS featured the work of groundbreaking international artists dedicated to the innovation of VR, telling immersive stories that challenge, defy, and transcend the status quo. During the three-day festival, attendees enjoyed over 30 unique VR experiences, artist panels, Augmented Reality Art by Daniel Leighton and a 3D Audio Chamber by David McKevy.
The Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories featured 30 titles from countries as diverse as the UK, Jordan, China, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Iran and the US. Every audience member rated each experience they viewed from 1 to 5 points and these were then tabulated and averaged per selection to find the People’s Choice Award for the categories of Best Immersive Spherical Video and Best Interactive Experience.
The new Grand Jury Prize was selected by having every member of the judiciary committee anonymously select their top three favorite selections and assign then a point value from 1-10. These scores again, were averaged to find the winner. Criteria used included conceptual originality, technological implementation, innovation, effective use of the medium for narrative purposes and overall excellence.
The awards were announced at The Cadillac Lounge in Toronto, Canada – Tuesday September 20th, 2016.
FIVARS Alpha Team Members Sarah Bradley and Meg White announced the Interactive Experience Award, Gareth Seltzer of RYOT announced the Spherical Video award and Joseph Ellsworth – technical director of VRTO/FIVARS announced the Grand Jury Prize. The proceedings were hosted by FIVARS executive director Keram Malicki-Sanchez.
DIR: Justin Lin
Production Company: Google Spotlight Stories
DIR: Patrick Osborne
Production Company: Google Spotlight Stories
Connor Hair and Alex Meader
Country: USA | RT: 12m46s
Production Company: Perception Squared and Spliced Films
Title: Marriage Equality VR
DIR: Steve Schklair & Celine Tricart
Country: USA | RT: 6m18s
Production Company: 3ality Technica
“Marriage Equality VR” is a recreation of the events leading up to the US Supreme Court’s Decision regarding the legality of same-sex marriage. At the center of the debate was the 14th Amendment providing for due process and equal protection under the law for all Americans. The court ruled on the following question: Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
“It has been said that art is a tryst; for in the joy of it, maker and beholder meet.”
― Kojiro Tomita
CARDBOARD GOLIATH, a live action Virtual Reality film chronicling the construction of a thirteen foot cardboard sculpture of Ivan Drago (from ROCKY 4) by Los Angeles street artist, Calder Greenwood, experiments with the interplay between the actualization of the artist, the audio-visual information presented by the filmmakers, and the kinetic reaction of the viewer to create a mesmerizing artistic experience and cultivate a “plastic point of view”. We want to push the envelope of engagement of the audience to a physically active viewing experience directed through camera placement and editing choices to encourage an immersive cinematic dance.
This physical interaction, we believe, is a critical technological step for audiences to develop the kinesthetics necessary to enjoy emerging VR, AR, and mixed reality interactive experiences. Johannes Birringer asserted that, “Interactivity, as a mode of technical mediation within a collective infrastructure, points to a new understanding of environments of relations and a relational aesthetics based on interhuman exchange or physical interaction, to a new technological kinesthetics. (Dance, the body and the internet, 2003).
CARDBOARD GOLIATH situates the viewer in the environment of the artist, surrounded by his previous work, and in the midst of creation. The viewer is transported to the artist’s studio, to stand among astonishing pieces (a reproduction of a Japanese subway car; a capsule hotel; a giant tentacle that once emerged from a drainpipe at the Roslyn Hotel; an enormous wolfman’s claw; and a twelve foot Nicholas Cage from CON AIR), while observing the process of creation occurring (seemingly at arm’s length) before their eyes. The presence created by both the viewer and artist at work, interact to instigate a spontaneous performance curated by the filmmakers.
The artist, Calder Greenwood, works in cardboard, a medium widely associated with virtual reality in the mind of the public through the Google Cardboard platform. We were inspired to create this film after being approached to make a Muay Thai boxing virtual reality film for a fight themed art show at Titmouse Studios Gallery in Hollywood. Calder Greenwood was about to embark on the construction of his Ivan Drago sculpture, and we thought the cardboard/virtual reality associations would be interesting to pursue.
We captured Greenwood’s building the piece over the course of five days and nights, as well as the transportation of the large sculpture from the historic Indian Alley (adorned with murals by Shepard Fairey, Wild Life, Free Humanity, and many other celebrated LA artists) where Greenwood lives and works in Downtown Los Angeles, to the gallery space several miles away. The massive sculpture had to be divided in two pieces for delivery, and we invite the viewer to ride along with the bottom half of the sculpture through the palm tree lined streets towards Hollywood.
Dpyx is the filmmaking team of Marcy Boyle and Rachel Holzman. Their first feature film, NOBODY CAN COOL, a graphic novel and film noir influenced thriller released in the USA/Canada in 2013, and UK in February 2016. Our interest in Virtual Reality stems from an aspiration to elicit a visceral response and explore alternative storytelling structures. In 2015, in advance of a screening they hosted of Marguerite Durasʼs film, INDIA SONG, they wrote an article for Indiewire referencing the virtual reality narrative possibilities suggested by Durasʼs hypnotic, enveloping masterpiece. Their first virtual reality film was a profile of two Muay Thai boxers that was shown at “The Art of Fighting” show at Titmouse Gallery in Los Angeles.
CARDBOARD GOLIATH was shown as a work-in-progress at London’s first virtual reality Festival, VRUK, where Marcy participated in the Filmmaker Panel. Marcy was one of a hundred content creators invited to participate in Oculus Launch Pad. Dpyx is currently in the Green Screen Institute accelerator program developing Hot Bit VR, a virtual reality entertainment destination.