When I was making “I Am You”, people kept asking me how they could see my film. Would it be the same as a regular film festival, where people would attend and then watch it in a theater? Unfortunately or fortunately, to watch any VR content requires some type of headset. Some of the popular headsets include the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, HTC Vive, Sony Morpheus, as well as lesser known brands like the FOVE.
What this means is that you don’t have to go to a specific place at a specific time to watch a film when it is first released. Notwithstanding releasing your film online via YouTube and Vimeo, this notion certainly shakes up how filmmakers will release their movies, it certainly has done that to mine. I also think that part of the fun, for both filmmakers and audiences, is watching a film in a communal setting. However, as I have recently been involved assisting the Kaleidoscope VR Film Festival secure a venue for their upcoming Toronto stop (via San Francisco) it gives strong indication that the communal experience is still very much in demand, if not necessary. There criteria for a space was something architecturally beautiful, open concept, and the ability to house a large capacity.
As a filmmaker this gives me a lot of hope as I really love to see people’s reaction to my movies and building on an event based model will probably end up feeling more social as you will have the opportunity to mingle and meet people while you are waiting in line. VR as a medium is very individual experience, but I think for the medium to survive that social aspect is important. Companies like Oculus and AltspaceVR clearly understand that based on this article I recently read. However, until technology catches for the moment a VR film festival will be an opportunity to for people to gather, interact, and watch some great content. This is not that much different than a regular festival, but without the restriction of it having to be in an actual theater as films can be watched in a bar, library, or even a parking lot without really affecting the experience.
I feel like this is a good thing as it loosens restriction and opens up possibilities in terms of where an event can take place. In addition, hopefully you will be surrounded by good company where you can enjoy some social interaction after the film, which is always the best part.
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