Virtual Reality is no longer just the wave of the future; it is here and now, and VR is expanding, giving more users the opportunity to experience a journey into unchartered territories. In an effort to make VR more widely attainable, the Nevada City Film Festival will host a VR & Multimedia Pavilion as part of their 17th annual fest, September 8 & 9 in the Miners Foundry. The film festival takes place September 8-15.
NCFF has a strong vision for the VR Pavilion: to create an inviting multimedia space where festival goers can engage in other worlds using VR technology. VR Pavilion Co-Director Romero Alves explains, “Nevada City Film Festival has always been dedicated to exploring ways in which stories can be told. VR is proving to be a strong tool for storytellers, and we’re excited to follow and see the development of this new tool and what those narrators can do with it.”
Providing many of the virtual reality experiences will be San Francisco-based Exit Reality, an inventive organization that specializes in bringing VR experiences to the people. Their goal is to impart higher accessibility to VR and its limitless possibilities. In addition to their static location in the Miners Foundry on Friday and Saturday, Exit Reality will station their VR trucks in several popular locations within Nevada City and Grass Valley on the same dates. Folks will have the chance to enter the trucks and try VR out for themselves, assisted by Exit Reality’s expert staff. “Viewers will be invited to step inside a custom outfitted virtual reality space, resembling a metal retro-futuristic time machine, where they can immerse themselves in a variety of out-of-this-world experiences of tomorrow,” states Exit Reality.
According to Alves’ Co-Director Zach Haller, “Virtual Reality is facilitating new ways of narration, from 360-degree documentaries to fully immersive 3-dimensional eye candy. It is an engrossing and stimulating way to experience story telling.” They’ll be hosting a live Virtual Reality art program that will feature abstract artists using the HTC VIVE and Google’s Tilt Brush to create and display their artistic vision in a fun and entertaining way. VR, says Haller, can now be considered another medium for artists to express their imagination.
Among the artists who will be a part of the VR display will be Ryan McVay, a visual artist who has been described as “The Modern American Surrealist.” While versed in many mediums, including glass and wood, his paintings are gaining international attention for their fresh approach in a diverse array of motifs. In preparing for the exhibition, McVay says, “”Exploring VR has my head spinning with excitement and new challenges, I feel as if I am trying to paint floating in the fifth dimension while deep in a tai chi meditation. “
Another of the highlights of the VR Pavilion will be a special student workshop with leading VR artist Wesley Allsbrook, a co-creator of the ground-breaking Dear Angelica, an experience that has been entirely hand-painted inside of VR that features the voices of actors Geena Davis and Mae Whitman. The workshop will take place Sep. 9 at 11 a.m. at Miners Foundry. To sign up email firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited to 15 participants.
Local VR developers Galactic Gallery will be posted up in the pavilion demonstrating their innovative immersion experience using the HTC VIVE VR platform, SUBPAC, and headphones. The experience takes viewers on a journey through art from some of the world’s top visionary artists. Additionally, Galactic Gallery co-creator Zach Krausnick will give a brief talk on Saturday Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. in the VR Pavilion, the theme being “Explorations Into VR.”
In regards to the festival’s dedication to providing a VR platform for both artists and guests, NCFF’s Alves says, “Cinema transports people to different places, environments, situations, etc. VR makes that sensation of being somewhere else even more real.”
The Nevada City Film Festival takes place September 8-15; the Virtual Reality & Multimedia Pavilion will be open Friday, September 8, 5-10 p.m. and Saturday, September 9, 3-11 p.m. Tickets are required for entry and can be purchased on NCFF’s official website, www.nevadacityfilmfestival.com.