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ASTRA 2016

The Astra Film Festival presents immersive cinema


- The Sibiu-based documentary festival is to showcase virtual reality, 360-degree videos, and full-dome and web documentaries

The Astra Film Festival presents immersive cinema
6x9: A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement by Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton

After announcing its main programme (read the news) and spotlighting Romanian documentaries (read the news), the 23rd Astra Film Festival (AFF) in Sibiu, set to take place from 17-23 October, has revealed its immersive cinema line-up. It consists of VR films, 360-degree videos, full-dome documentaries and web documentaries. 

For the first time in Romania, the audience will have access to full-dome documentaries projected in the dome film theatre in the very heart of the historical centre of Sibiu, while VR, 360-degree films and web documentaries will be available at the main festival venue.

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Eight full-dome documentaries will bring film buffs face to face with the fascinating spectacle of the Northern Lights (Aurora: Lights of Wonder by South Korea's Kwon O Chul), the art of flying (Dream to Fly by Poland's Paulina Majda) and battle scenes from the Second World War (World 2 War by Peter Geerts and Mathijs Brussaard, from the Netherlands).

Viewers will also have the opportunity to experience film and interact with it via VR viewing devices – namely, Oculus Rift, for interactive viewing, and Samsung Gear VR, for 360-degree films. The movies (and experiences) being presented answer questions such as, “What would it have been like to travel around London by Tube, seconds before the 2005 terrorist attacks?” (Witness by the UK's Darren Emerson), “What would it be like to live in a virtual cell in an American prison?” (6x9: A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement by Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton, from the US), or “How does it feel to be blind?” (Notes on Blindness [+see also:
film review
interview: James Spinney, Peter Middle…
film profile
- A VR Journey into a World Beyond Sight
by the UK's Peter Middleton and James Spinney). 

The AFF selection also comprises ten web documentaries, all of them incorporating the 360-degree format, and three of them are Romanian productions that present different elements related to communism: the Râmnicu Sărat prison, a virtual exhibition about abortion in communist Romania, and the Communist Film Depot in Cluj.

In a similar spirit, the Citizens of the Online World programme includes titles such as Werner Herzog's Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, Jakob Gottschau's Facebookistan and Duki Druor's Down the Deep, Dark Web.

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