Category: News

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.

Keram Malicki-Sanchez presents the FIVARS 2016 Awards

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.

People’s Choice Award – Best Immersive Spherical Video

Title: Help
DIR: Justin Lin
Country: USA
Production Company: Google Spotlight Stories

People’s Choice Award – Best Interactive Experience

Title: Pearl
DIR: Patrick Osborne
Country: USA
Production Company: Google Spotlight Stories

Grand Jury Prize

Real by Connor Hair
Title: Real
Connor Hair and Alex Meader
Country: USA | RT: 12m46s
Production Company: Perception Squared and Spliced Films

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.

About the Producers

dpyx 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.

Get Tickets Now

As you may know by now, The Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories – better known as FIVARS, focuses on content that demonstrates unique mechanics or approaches, breaking away from the pack to highlight new techniques and experiments.

Though Cream’s series Wild Things is vastly popular on The Travel Channel, the 360 version caught our eye for different reasons. First of all in season 1 episode one – The King Cobra, – it put the camera into the frightening and hypnotic middle point between a trained wrangler and a real live cobra in the wild. The sense of scale that immersive media provided with a vertical field of view, brings to life the sense of time and place with a dangerous animal like a King Cobra on alert in an unprecedented manner.

Dominic Monaghan waving from just beyond a real wild King Cobra on Cream360's Wild Things

Dominic Monaghan waving from just beyond a real wild King Cobra on Cream 360’s Wild Things

But this episode also implements infographics to show the strike zone in “real-time,” and display other data in the heat of the moment. This combination of ideas, all available at once in 360, afford the user the opportunity to experience the variety of stimuli as they best see fit.

Wild Things on The Travel Channel

Infographics demonstrated in the Cream 360 production of The Travel Channel’s Wild Things

WILD THINGS is the first of three VR components of an exhilarating travel-adventure series that follows actor and wildlife enthusiast, Dominic Monaghan, (Lord of the Rings / Lost) as he explores the remote corners of the globe in search of some the most badass animals in the world. Travel channel commissioned Cream to shoot VR versions of their series and we did just that. Traveling to the remote island of Bali Cream360 VR team (Tristan and Andrew) shot alongside Cream’s TV crew and covered Dominic rescuing a king cobra. The mission was to illustrate of how VR can be used for documentary in the field.

“Shooting the episode in Indonesia during rainy season was tricky and Cream360 had to build their own custom cameras to meet the challenges,” explain directors Andrew MacDonald and Tristan Cezair. “The result is a camera we could place very near to subjects, such as the mighty king cobra. With this rig we really get very up close and personal with Dominic and these wild animals.”

Indonesia on Cream 360

“In the next two pieces in this series, to be released this year, you will have a one of the world largest spiders, (Nephila (s01e02) golden orb spinner) crawl right over your head(!), and in last installment titled The Kecak Dance (s01e03) Dominic will show you the famous Uluwatu Kecak dance, from the inside of the mandala of singers.”

WILD THINGS “the King Cobra” Makes its VR Festival Debut at FIVARS 2016