Although Oculus Rift technology was developed with gaming in mind, it is rapidly becoming new storytelling territory for narrative and documentary filmmakers and artists. This exhibition highlights several new experiments with the form, including pieces that emerge from ethnographic, journalistic, and artistic/experimental traditions. Festival-goers will have the opportunity to try the new technology and experience these new forms of storytelling.
Assent (Oscar Raby, 2013)
In the immediate aftermath of the Chilean coup in 1973 a ‘Caravan of Death’ roamed the country conducting executions of military detainees. Multimedia artist Oscar Raby’s father witnessed the execution of a group of prisoners captured by the military regime that he was part of. It was a story that he eventually shared with his son and one emblematic of the complicated legacy that still informs the lives of Chileans today. Assent uses virtual reality technology to create an artistic recreation of this memory and Raby’s reflection on it.
Ferguson Firsthand (Dan Archer/Empathetic Media, 2015)
Ferguson Firsthand presents a “forensic walk-though” of the scene where Michael Brown was shot in 2014. Drawing from eye-witness accounts and court documents, the creators have assembled a VR experience that invites us to consider not only what happened in Ferguson, but the challenges of relying on eye-witness accounts to arrive at the “truth.”
Herders (Félix Lajeunesse & Paul Raphaëlgo, 2015)
Lajeunesse and Raphaël explore cinematic approaches to the Oculus VR technology, positioning us within cinematic worlds that are startlingly realistic. Herders takes us into a series of scenes in the lives of nomadic Mongolian yak herders. To create these worlds, they had to build their own camera and audio systems and essentially pioneer a new way of film editing that requires wearing the Gear VR headset. They have also created VR films of Cirque du Soleil that puts you on stage during an aerial performance and of Montréal singer-songwriter Patrick Watson at work in his studio. (These projects will also be available during the exhibition.)