Category: News

FIVARS is the original narrative-specific Virtual and Augmented Reality stories festival. Unlike many other festivals, it is a standalone event – not tethered to an existing film festival and completely independently operated.

From 2017 to 2018, FIVARS Submissions Dept. saw over 450 submissions and there were many, many worthy entrants. In the end our decisions came down to those pieces that were well-crafted, responsibly designed (that we could safely and reliably exhibit to any sort of end user), that took a creative risk and demonstrated a new approach in some way.

This year, the FIVARS flagship event featured 36 experiences and represented 12 countries that included eight from Canada, USA, Switzerland, Greece, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, two projects from Australia, two from Spain, three from France –proving that the FIVARS brand still holds strong beyond its borders.

On September 25th, 2018 the winners announced at last the 4th annual FIVARS Awards Show in downtown Toronto.

The event garnered 50 pieces of show coverage which include the Toronto Star, an interview on CBC radio, plus international media outlets in South Korea, Spain, Switzerland–garnering over 1.13 million coverage views from 1.71 billion online readers.

Over 250 unique customers enjoyed content over three 9-hour days at the historic Matador Ballroom in an exclusive engagement; while we collected ratings and data on each piece manually and through the Contraverse app which recorded heatmaps and view counts. Over 700 were counted immediately after the experiences, using a solid point rating from 1 to 5.

Watch the video of the awards below:

The 2018 FIVARS Award Winners

FIVARS 2018 People’s Choice for Best Passive Spherical Experience


Going Home
Director: David Beier

FIVARS 2018 People’s Choice for Interactive Experience


Museum of Symmetry at toronto International Film Festival

Museum of Symmetry
Director: Paloma Dawkins

FIVARS 2018 Impact Award


The Hidden
Dirs: Annie Lukowski, BJ Schwartz

FIVARS 2018 Grand Jury Prize


Battlescar 16x9

Dirs: Nico Casavecchia, Martin Allais

Thank you to everyone who supported this important independently run, truly international showcase. Your kindness and patronage are essential to its continuity and our aspiration to constantly push the standards higher while affording a platform to anyone anywhere around the world to share their best work and unique and important ideas.

FIVARS 2018 isn’t just about amazing content from around the world – it is also an opportunity for wristband-holders to attend talks by the content creators – the directors, writers, producers, cinematographers, technologists, designers and distributors alike each day.

The 2018 lineup is stellar, featuring veteran actor Nicholas Campbell, video veteran Maud Clavier visiting from France, startup success story founder Amy Hedrick visiting from New York and many more.

Check out the complete lineup below – talks run from 4-5pm daily.

Fri. Sept 14Writing, Directing & Acting Spatialized NarrativeJon Riera, Director, Deerbrook
Grayson Moore, Director/Writer, Deerbrook
Nicholas Campbell, Actor Deerbook
Luisa Valencia, VR Creative Cinematographic Director- Mel’s Wake
Daniel Everitt-Lock, Director, Humanity
Maud Clavier, Director/Writer, Filamu
Sat. Sept 15New Techniques in Storytelling (Volumetric Capture)Andrew MacDonald - Director, Producer - Cream
Ana Serrano - Chief Digital Officer - CFC
Eli Raynai- Founder - Cinehackers, (Made This Way)
Irem Harnak - Co-Director (Made This Way)
Sun.Sept 16New Tools & Techniques for Location Based Entertainment (LBE)Joss Monzon - Director - North America - Virtualware
Amy Hedrick, CEO & Co-Founder, Cleanbox
Josh Gonsalves - Founder - Contraverse
Marisa Tassone - Founder - Contraverse
Jonah Brotman - Owner - House of VR

A wristband may also be purchases separately (without a FIVARS VR ticket).

Get your tickets now

William is a short dramatic Virtual Reality film that immerses users in the shoes of William, a Canadian Aboriginal child, who was taken away from his home and parachuted into one of the former 139 residential schools in Canada.

Not only will you witness the events he saw and experienced—you will live through these events. You will feel what he felt, act as he acted. While in William’s skin, you will experience the unthinkable. The language used in this production is NOT a real language. It intends to mimic the understanding that Indigenous children, most of who did not speak English nor French, had of their school teachers.

We had the opportunity to ask director Sonia B. Boileau a few questions about the project.

What is the theme of your project?
The core theme is Indian Residential schools. More precisely how these horrific assimilation establishments operated and the impact they had on young Indigenous children.

How did you become an immersive media content creator and why?
I do not consider myself to be an immersive media content creator actually. I create content of many mediums. We chose immersive media for this project so non-Indigenous people could have a better understanding of what our ancestors and families went through.

What was the production process for you and your team? What did you learn?
Honestly the biggest lesson I learned with this project was to treat it like theatre. You set the stage, you rehearse with your actors and then you go for it. The rest of my crew handled the technical stuff.

What is the VR/AR industry like in your region?
It’s blooming! It’s going so fast that it is very hard to keep up. Even now, the process for William (the methods and equipment used) is already outdated!

What do you have planned for the future?
I’m currently working on my second feature film. And hopefully in the near future we will be able to produce other episodes of William, in order to fully explain the impacts of the Indian Residential school system on our peoples.

What would you like to share with fellow content creators and/or the industry?
VR is such a powerful tool to get people to FEEL and not just watch. I therefore suggest that people use it wisely. Put it to good use. It has the power to change how we perceive situations, history, other cultures, etc.

Director Bio:
william vr experience - FIVARS 2018Sonia B. Boileau is a bilingual Mohawk filmmaker and graduate from Concordia University’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema in Montreal, Canada. Over the last decade Sonia has developed and produced television projects in English and French ranging from children’s programming to socially driven documentaries. Sonia won the PRIX DE LA DIVERSITÉ at the 2011 Gala des Prix Gémeaux for her documentary Last Call Indian. In 2015 Sonia’s first feature film Le Dep premiered at the prestigious Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic. Since then it has won awards and made the official selection of several festivals around the world.

She also made a feature documentary about the impacts of the 1990 Oka Crisis called The Oka Legacy, which earned her a Golden Sheaf award at the 2016 Yorkton Film Festival, and is currently working on her second feature film Rustic Oracle. Beyond film and television Sonia is still very much involved in community-based productions that focus on the well-being of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Sonia is also the 2016 recipient of the APTN Award of Distinction given during the Montreal’s First Peoples Festival.