TIFF explores the power of virtual reality through InfiniTIFF
by Vassilis Economou
- The Transilvania International Film Festival inaugurated a uniquely innovative space that focused on both showcasing and creating cutting-edge VR content
A totally innovative space was inaugurated during the 16th Transilvania International Film Festival. InfiniTIFF is a platform that aims to support new formats of audiovisual storytelling and stretches the cinematic experience beyond the traditional known forms. Focused on cutting-edge development in virtual reality and interactive cinema, InfiniTIFF set the bar high for its first-ever edition.
Curated by Cinemathon’s and Propellor Film Tech Hub’s (see the news) Erwin M Schmidt, and housed in Cluj-Napoca’s former Fashion House, InfiniTIFF ran from 3-10 June, creating an experience zone for both participants and visitors. The selection was quite extensive, totalling seven different programmes with more than three hours of fiction, non-fiction and animated VR experiences.
One of the touchstones of the selections was Jesper Dalgaard’s Doom Room, which had an exclusive preview at InfiniTIFF. It goes beyond a simple screening, as it is an installation that combines live performance with VR fiction, creating a group experience involving six blindfolded people who pass through a spectrum of emotions and spaces. Another interesting title was Escape by Millo Simulov, which is the first-ever 360-degree film produced in Romania and was screened in a special programme.
In the formatting section, InfiniTIFF included an extensive series of workshops for new professionals that dove into VR. The InfiniTIFF VR Workshop, led by producer Mads Damsbo, creative technologist Balder Brüsch (VR Studio Makropol, Copenhagen) and Fred Baus (Studio Realab, Luxembourg), included 16 participants, who worked in teams of four in order to produce original VR content in just four days. The most innovative part of this was that the edited content produced during the workshop also became part of the official selection, giving the audience the opportunity to experience it immediately.
In the VR Canvas: Tilt Brush workshop, six selected artists had the chance to produce an illustrated VR work in one day by using the Tilt Brush 3D painting program, under the supervision of Marius Hodea and Dumitru Tănase, of UNATC’s CINETic creative centre. Finally, two specialised seminars were presented by Millo Simulov and Florin Grozea, focused on the challenges of making a 360-degree film, and the creative industries and online promotion through video content, respectively.
Apart from the VR content, a selection of interactive films was screened in traditional cinemas, allowing the audience to interfere immediately with the plot and the outcome of the story. Tobias Weber’s interactive thriller Late Shift [+see also:
interview: Tobias Weber
film profile] allowed the audience to vote 180 times during its screening in order to determine the plot and the ending.
InfiniTIFF certainly raised awareness of all possible forms of new technologies and how they are related to the future of cinema. As curator Schmidt underlined, “InfiniTIFF will redefine the collective experience of cinema in the 21st century, and will explore ways in which virtual reality and conventional filmmaking can coexist.”
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