Red Sea International Film Festival announces Virtual Reality competition

The Virtual Reality program will be on display at the Ritz Carlton Hotel from December 2-8, 2022.

The Red Sea International Film Festival has announced the program for their Virtual Reality competition, celebrating immersive art and entertainment.

The program will feature 10 virtual reality productions representing the best of international VR creativity from 2022, which will be in competition with each other for the Gold and Silver Yusr Awards. The Gold Yusr Award is worth $10,000.

Red Sea: Virtual Reality will also collaborate with Ithra Creative Solutions Program, the first development program for immersive works in Saudi Arabia, to showcase four projects from this year’s cohort. These will include The Anticipation of Rain, Alghatt al-Asiri, Wamdah – a Glimpse to the Futureoath Story of ScienceReflection on the Cosmos.

Speaking about the category, Kaleem Aftab, Director of International Programming, said: “The Red Sea International Film Festival is extremely proud to present this year’s Virtual Reality Program. The selection of pieces represents the very best immersive experiences from all over the world, coupling art with cutting-edge technology and building the future of storytelling.”

Liz Rosenthal, Curator of Red Sea: Virtual Reality program, added: “We have some truly phenomenal pieces in this year’s selection, including one of the first multi-player mixed reality experiences. These artists are testing the boundaries of creative possibility in a thought-provoking and inclusive way.”

The 10 works included in the competition (Hi)story of a Painting: The Light in the Shadowdirected by Gaëlle Mourre and Quentin Darras, winner of the Special Jury Prize at SXSW 2022. The animated, immersive and interactive experience aims to engage young audiences in the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, a female Baroque artist who found success against all odds, becoming one of Europe’s most celebrated and in-demand painters of her time.

Directed by German Heller and winner of the Special Jury Prize, Venice Immersive, Venice International Film Festival, Eggscape is a mixed reality multi-player game in which participants use controllers to protect their terrified little egg struggling to survive in various challenging environments.

Elele means ‘hands meet hands’ in Turkish and is produced by a Turkish-Dutch team and directed by Sjoerd van Acker. Using controllers, a VR headset and an original electronic soundtrack, it invites participants to dance using only their hands – but the experience makes the dancer question, whose hands are they really?

Directed by Celine Daemen, Eurydice, a Descent into Infinityis a Virtual Reality opera inspired by the ancient myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, the audience walks a solitary journey to an in-between space, between matter and eternity, in which time fades and the laws of space become obsolete.

Interactive animation From the Main Square by Pedro Harres, which won the Grand Jury Prize for Venice Immersive at the Venice International Film Festival, takes the viewer on a journey through time and the rise and fall of civilizations – all from the perspective of a single main town square.

Emmy-nominated Kingdom of Plants With David Attenborough is an immersive documentary that uses cutting-edge photographic technology to bring the viewer to the very heart of the battles and dramas raging in the otherwise unassuming undergrowth.

Based on true events, On the Morning You Wake to the End of the World is an animated documentary that tells the story of a regular Saturday morning in 2018 when the entire population of Hawaii received an SMS to inform them of an impending ballistic missile attack and were instructed to seek shelter immediately.

In a female-centric re-telling of a Brothers Grimm folk tale, directed by Julie Cavaliere, Nyssa tells the story of a fearless but naive young witch who goes in search of her wedding broom. Along the way, she meets a familiar spirit called Blue, but must save her village from Temencaag, the creature of darkness.

Directed by Ellen Utrecht, Shores of Loci is a fantastical world-building puzzle game that maximizes the full potential of Virtual Reality to immerse the participant into epic environments of mythical creatures to help them rebuild their magical worlds.

The Man Who Couldn’t Leave directed by Singing Chen won Best Immersive Experience, the Top Prize for Venice Immersive at the Venice International Film Festival.

The Virtual Reality program will be on display at the Ritz Carlton Hotel between 14:00 – 22:00 from 2- 8 December 2022. Audiences will be required to book tickets in advance for access: for non-accredited guests, tickets will be sold at SAR 20 ($5.32) for a single title and SAR 100 ($26.60) for a full pass to view all ten projects.

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