DUBAI: The Red Sea International Film Festival has announced the program for its virtual reality competition, which aims to celebrate innovative immersive art and entertainment.
The program will feature ten VR productions competing for the Yusr Awards, which “recognize and celebrate boldness and innovation in film,” according to festival organizers.
The VR program will also see the festival collaborate with Ithra’s Creative Solutions Program, the first development program for immersive works in Saudi Arabia, to showcase four projects from this year: “The Anticipation of Rain,” “Alqatt Al-Asiri,” “Wamdah — A Glimpse to the Future,” and “Story of Science — Reflection on the Cosmos.”
This year’s selection of VR projects “represents the very best immersive experiences from all over the world, coupling art with cutting-edge technology and building the future of storytelling,” said Kaleem Aftab, director of International Programming at the Red Sea International Film Festival.
The ten pieces of work competing this year include a varied mix of films from both emerging and acclaimed filmmakers.
“(Hi)story of a Painting: The Light in the Shadow,” directed by Gaelle Mourre and Quentin Darras, winner of the Special Jury Prize at SXSW 2022, is an animated experience that tells the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, a female Baroque artist who found success against all odds, becoming one of Europe’s most celebrated and in-demand painters of her time.
Directed by German Heller and winner of the Special Jury Prize, Venice Immersive, Venice International Film Festival, “Eggscape” is a mixed reality multi-player game in which participants use controllers to protect their terrified little egg struggling to survive in various challenging environments.
“Elele,” which means “hands meet hands” in Turkish, is produced by a Turkish-Dutch team and directed by Sjoerd van Acker. Using controllers, a VR headset and an original electronic soundtrack, it invites participants to dance using only their hands.
Other films include “Eurydice, a Descent into Infinity,” “From the Main Square,” “Kingdom of Plants with David Attenborough,” “On the Morning you Wake to the End of the World,” “Nyssa,” “Shores of Loci,” and “The Man who Couldn’t Leave.”
“We have some truly phenomenal pieces in this year’s selection, including one of the first multi-player mixed reality experiences. These artists are testing the boundaries of creative possibility in a thought-provoking and inclusive way,” said Liz Rosenthal, curator of the VR program.
The VR program will be on display at the Ritz Carlton Hotel from Dec. 2 to 8.
Audiences are required to book in advance with tickets costing SR20 ($5) for non-accredited guests for a single title and SR100 for a full pass to view all ten projects.