Over the last few months, we’ve seen an extraordinary lineup of cinematic experiences on Oculus TV. From The Key and Dear Mom to When We Stayed Home, these films give audiences a new perspective on the art of filmmaking. Today, we’re thrilled to announce the SXSW 2020 Virtual Cinema, a limited-time event set to premiere May 22 for free on Oculus TV.
The global pandemic has radically changed how artists today exhibit their work. With the cancellation of the SXSW Film Festival, held annually in Austin, TX, filmmakers needed a new venue to share their work with audiences. SXSW 2020 Virtual Cinema — a new collaboration between Oculus and SXSW Conference & Festivals — is a fresh take on film festivals that anyone can enjoy free on Oculus TV with Oculus Quest. The event, which runs from May 22 through May 31, includes seven 360° films written and produced by filmmakers from all over the world.
Each film in the SXSW 2020 Virtual Cinema event demonstrates how immersive films and experiences can help people explore the world and connect with others while keeping each other safe through social distancing.
We’re thrilled to pull back the virtual curtain on this year’s 360° lineup.
SXSW 2020 Virtual Cinema - People
The Curious Life of Bill Mont
Directors: Andrea Patiño Contreras, Katrina Sorrentino
While preparing for a winter formal at Northwood, a senior living center in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Bill Mont, an 89-year-old self-made entrepreneur, reminisces about his life, including his most recent venture – sending people’s ashes to the moon. As he ruminates on love and loss, as well as his entrepreneurial projects and acquisitions, in a 9 minute 360 virtual cinema film, we experience what it’s like to have fun while aging! (World Premiere)
Look at Me
Director/Screenwriter: HE Wei-Ting
Zhang, like everyone in the near future, is addicted to the virtual world. A failed rendezvous with his girlfriend makes Zhang wander the city at night, where he discovers a club where everyone gives up the virtual world for physical fighting, to engage in “real interactions”, and where everyone actually looks at each other during conversation. (North American Premiere)
Ferenj: A Graphic Memoir in VR
Director/Screenwriter: Ainslee Alem Robson
How is identity conceived? What does it mean for your home to be constructed immaterially via fragments of culture and oral history distorted by the filter of time and migration? This afrosurreal portrait of home traverses crosswalks, continents and consciousness, moments of cultural alienation, and the director’s childhood memories from Empress Taytu Ethiopian Restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio to the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — her mother’s home country. Ferenj reclaims Ethiopian-American mixed-race identity, redefines boundaries between memory and digital imaginary, and challenges reductive narratives of Africa.
SXSW 2020 Virtual Cinema - Places
After the Fallout
Directors: Sam Wolson, Dominic Nahr
This unforgettable 360-degree experience pushes past traditional documentary tropes to evoke the reality and emotional gravity of life in Fukushima, ten years after the 2011 nuclear disaster. After the Fallout is an immersive mosaic that takes us through surreal environments in the exclusion zone, and explores the lives of families as they navigate a new world which they have had to adapt to.
A Song Within Us
Director/Screenwriter: Fangas Nayaw
A Song Within Us is a sound-interactive experience, with Ambisonic audio. During the experience, audience members will mimic the tribal leader, who will teach them to sing together. Viewers can receive visual feedback for the efforts. There are two versions of the project, both with spatial audio. One version is an individual, immersive sound experience, but we also designed an ambisonic dome for a physical installation. In the ambisonic dome, viewers will experience the project without wearing earphones and five audience members can discover the piece together. (North American Premiere)
Notre-Dame de Paris: A Unique Journey Back in Time
Director: Mélanie de Riberolles
On April 15, 2019, the world witnessed as Notre-Dame Cathedral was nearly destroyed in a devastating fire. As the tragedy unfolded, people began sharing memories of the cathedral with photos and videos reliving those moments. Others were able to relive their memories virtually through Assassin’s Creed Unity, the video game. Ubisoft has been collaborating with historians for years, meticulously collecting data and testimonials to build Notre-Dame in-game. Based on this 3D model, Ubisoft created a VR tour of Notre-Dame so people can get back to the cathedral and discover point-of-views that were inaccessible to the public, or elements of architecture that were destroyed by the fire, including the famous spire! (North American Premiere)
Explore SXSW Virtual Cinema in Oculus TV on Oculus Quest, now through May 31.