Submarine Channel

High expectations for Venice VR 2018

The first edition of Venice VR last year was a total blast. For one week during the Venice Film Festival visitors could experience the best VR in the world on a dedicated small island in the Venetian lagoon. The presentation was immaculate and the location spectacular. So the expectations for 2018 are high. Will Venice be able to live up to them? Venice programmers Michel Reilhac and Liz Rosenthal guide us through their selection and discuss this year’s challenges and trends in VR…

Lazzaretto Vecchio - Venice Biennale Virtual Reality VR 2018 competition

Last year was a success, but it was also a surprise. It was the first edition. No one had anything to compare it with.
~ Reilhac


Scroll down for the complete line up of all 30 VR pieces in competition at the Venice Biennale Cinema VR 2018.
Bookmark this page as we will be adding more content up until the festival.
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VENICE BIENNALE CINEMA VR: 29.08 – 08.09 2018
Program at a glance


Remco Vlaanderen: Can you tell us a bit about the exhibition?

Michel Reilhac: “The exhibition is divided in different areas. Like last year, there will be the VR theater with 50 revolving leather seats. There will be the installations, and there will be stand-ups. And like last year, there is a ‘Best Of’ section, which will feature six VR films selected from the best VR that was presented since Venice VR 2017. These are not eligible for the competition. There will be four films from the Venice Biennale College; Venice’s talent development program. That makes 40 VR pieces that will be available in Venice this year.”

Liz Rosenthal: “Our selection also demonstrates that we’re starting to see a number of well-known actors and artists starring in VR works for example Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, Tye Sheridan, Diego Luna in the family entertainment animation Crow: The Legend; Alicia Vikander in Arden’s Wake: Tides Fall; Rosario Dawson in Battlescar; and Jessica Chastain and Patti Smith in Spheres.”

Venice is still the only A-list international festival who is embracing VR as a full-fledged art form.

MR: “Yes, none of the other A-list festivals have taken the risk of considering VR on the same level as cinema. We still do not have many traditional film directors making VR films, but among those is Darren Aronofsky, who produces a series called Spheres, a project about the discovery of gravitational waves.”

What are your main challenges this year?

MR: “Every single piece in competition is a world premiere or an international premiere, so we’re hoping that the diversity of the genres of the pieces will surprise people. The biggest challenge is the complexity of some of the installations. One of those installations is The Horrifically Real Virtuality by the same team who produced Alice.”

LR: “We are featuring 11 installations in total, all requiring a multitude of different technical setups, some with live performers, others with multi-sensory aspects, and many that are designed for multiple audience members who simultaneously participate in the experience.”

we’re making sure we can retain the serenity on the island

What are you really excited about this year?

MR: “I’m excited to see if we manage to meet the high expectations that people have. Last year was a success, but it was also a surprise. It was the first edition. No one had anything to compare it with, so there’s been a very strong word of mouth about Venice VR. A lot of people who weren’t here last year are coming and are expecting to be surprised. The ones who came last year are expecting to be surprised again. And they’ll be expecting some improvements, like toilets.” [laughs].

But nobody minded..

MR: “We did have some complaints. We still don’t have water on the island, which is an issue we need to work on. And we still don’t have power. This year the boat to the island will run constantly. We’re going to have an online booking service. These are logistical improvements.”

LR: “We’re expecting a far greater number of visitors, but we’re making sure we can retain the serenity, high quality and uniqueness of the exhibition experience on the island. One important new development is that Venice VR is now open over the full length of the film festival and from 5 September members of the public will be able to buy passes to view the section.”

The highest level of production is with animation

What are the most important changes and trends this year in terms of the VR pieces you viewed?

MR: “Overall, I am very impressed with the technical improvement. The level of sophistication of the productions is very high with big teams working on bigger projects. We’ve seen quite a lot of pilot episodes for TV series. And there are definitely themes now that are almost like sub-genres. One big one is astronomy. The tragedy of illegal migration is a recurring theme in VR documentaries. Science fiction is a big theme. The sci-fi pieces are almost exclusively done in animation. In fact, the best level of production is with animation.”

Why is that, you think?

MR: “Perhaps producers see that it’s easier to monetize this content to wider audiences worldwide, because these themes work so well in VR. These productions are not dialogue-based, but action-based, and special effects-based. I think science fiction is, for this reason, also a genre that appeals to young audiences. The early adopters of VR will definitely be the younger generation. People who are already used to playing games. The biggest spread of VR headsets is with PlayStation VR. PlayStation owners are mostly teenagers and young adults.”

Another big trend is interactivity

MR: “VR becomes more and more interactive in all kinds of different ways. We present a lot of VR installations by creators who blend a real-life experience with a virtual experience. These works require a physical space. Some of them to such a degree that they are more like theater productions that require a lot of building in terms of their sets and props. And they’re costly because they require reactive performers. That is the continuation of what was started last year with a piece like

LR: “Another trend reflected in our programme is the growth of ‘social VR’, where multiple participants interact and experience a work together, dispelling the myth that VR is a solitary and dislocating medium.

“This year’s program also shows that the running time of individual experiences has significantly extended. This did lead to an intense selection process where we were ensconced in VR for several days, but beyond the personal endurance test [laughs], it’s encouraging to see VR move rapidly from a short experimental form to a fully-fledged entertainment format and art form that can be distributed on commercial platforms and entertainment and art venues.”

our competition selection reflects the large number of exceptionally talented female directors working in VR


LR: “Out of 30 projects in competition, 11 have been directed by women and a significant number of female producers were responsible for the overall development, management and commercialisation of the projects showing in Venice.”


Interactive VR in competition


Make Noise
Dir. May Abdalla / BBC VR Hub
Animation / UK / Oculus Go / installation / 8’

Make Noise VR BBC VR Hub Venice Virtual Reality 2018 in competition

Make Noise is a feminist piece where you are in the skin of a suffragette. You express your anger and your desire to vote by using the power of your voice to smash through the barriers faced by the suffragettes during the fight to win the vote for women. Your voice is the interface. A really fun piece.


Jonathan Astruc / Backlight, Virtual Adventure
Animation / France / installation / 35’

Eclipse was developed by BackLight and Virtual Adventure as the first VR game in France which proposes interactivity and collaboration through a 4D immersive game, full body awareness and a total freedom of movement. Players are split in two teams of two in this space adventure with multiple possible endings.
Collaboration and communication are keys to the success of the mission.


The Unknown Patient
Dir. Michael Beets / Unwritten Endings, VRTOV
Animation / Australia / HTC Vive / 9’ / Stand up

In this realtime interactive VR experience by Michael Beets, you are a soldier in WWI, and you can’t remember who you are. You’re in an asylum with other soldiers, and you must piece together the story of the ‘Unknown Patient’ through exploration and discovery in VR. During the war, hospitals would sometimes publish an announcement in the paper saying, “We have this soldier… If you know this man, please get in touch with us.” That immediately created a massive line of people queuing in front of the hospital hoping to find their missing loved one. Based on a true story.


BUDDY VR – The Virtual Relationship Experience
Dir. Chuck Chea
Animation / South Korea / Oculus / 16’ / Stand up

You are in a candy store and become friends with a mouse, and you start exchanging messages. You communicate by writing on a piece of paper. Then you shrink to mouse scale, and you’re among all the candy, the sweets and the pastries in the shop. A little girl wants to catch you.


Dir. Landia Egal & Thomas Pons / Tiny Planets
Animation / France / Oculus / installation / 15’

Umami VR Venice VR in competition 2018

Umami is a realtime animated VR experience immersing the user into the story of a man rediscovering his memories through a series of Japanese dishes, beverages and tastes: the sweet, the sour, the bitter, the salty and the umami: the ‘delicious taste’. The user embodies a character digesting his own life through a phenomenon known as ‘Madeleine de Proust’. Through his interactions with the dishes memories arise unintentionally, breaking the dichotomy between present and past and taking him into an incredible journey of affective consciousness. 

At a certain moment you start to realize where you really are. And [soft spoiler] it’s not a restaurant. Venice will show the first part of this promising piece in production.


The Horrifically Real Virtuality
Dir. Marie Jourdren / DVgroup
Animation / France / HTC Vive / installation / 40’


The Horrifically Real Virtuality DVgroup Venice virtual reality in competition

The horrifically Real Virtuality is a very sophisticated theatrical production that lasts 40 minutes. The most complex piece in the selection, from DVgroup, the same production studio that produced Alice last year.


Spheres: Chorus of the Cosmos, Songs of Spacetime, Pale Blue Dot
Dir. Eliza McNitt / Oculus Studio, Protozoa Pictures
Animation / France, USA / Scientific documentary / installation / 15’ + 13’ + 15’

The world premiere of Chorus of the Cosmos, the first episode in the VR series Spheres (but the last one to be produced). Produced by Darren Aronofsky (Mother!, Black Swan), Ari Handel, and Atlas V, Spheres is “inspired by the idea that space is not silent—in fact, it’s actually full of sound,” according to director Eliza McNitt in Oculus’ blog. “The recent discovery of gravitational waves has revolutionized the way that we see the universe because for the first time, we listen.”

Spheres is an artistic rendering, but a scientific committee validated everything that is said and shown. Episode twois narrated by Jessica Chastain. The third episode was voiced by Patti Smith. Festival attendees will be able to view all three episodes together for the first time.


A Discovery of Witches – Hiding in Plain Sight
Dir. Kim-Leigh Pontin / Sky VR Production
Animation / UK / Oculus / 15’ / Stand up

A Discovery of Witches VR


A Discovery of Witches is a contemporary love story adapted from Deborah Harkness’ bestselling novel. Set against the backdrop of Oxford academic life, but in a world where a handful of witches, vampires and daemons live and work unseen amongst humans. Teresa Palmer plays brilliant academic and historian Diana Bishop, a reluctant witch denying her heritage. The discovery of a manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library throws her into the heart of a dangerous mystery – and into the path of enigmatic geneticist Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode), who we discover also has a dark family secret: he is a vampire.

The VR experience allows participants to embody both Diana and Matthew. The experience gives audiences the opportunity to experience the story twice but as both leading characters. By stepping into the bodies of both characters you’ll experience the first, highly charged meeting between the two characters from both points of view giving you a unique sense of narrative and character.


The Roaming – Wetlands
Mathieu Pradat / La prairie productions
France, UK, Belgium / HTC Vive / installation / 10’

The Roaming is a room scale virtual reality experience in three parts. David (9) and Pearl (6) witness the murder of their best friend, The Voodoo Man. Chased
by the killer, a malevolent Deputy Sheriff, they run away in the Bayou. Will you be bold enough to step in the swamp and help them out?

The Roaming is a virtual reality experience bringing the user to surpass himself, to go beyond their personal limits, to step forward and take bold risks
to save two kids running for their lives. This narrative and interactive piece conceived as an antidote to free roaming shooters, ever more present in immersive games.


Dir. Max Sacker, Ioulia Isserlis / Another World VR
Animation / Germany / Oculus / 20’ / Stand up

Kobold by Another World VR is a horror experience connected to a short film about a little boy who disappeared. You enter a haunted house and it’s up to you to find the boy, and discover what happened. Pick up clues, solve a mystery and come face to face with an ancient germanic evil… The more you progress, the scarier it becomes. This is a fully interactive universe entirely scanned with photogrammetry from real locations in Berlin and Brandenburg.


Dir. Lynette Wallworth / Cocofilms
Live action / USA, Brasil, Australia / HTC Vive Pro / installation / interactive / 10’

Awavena is an installation by Lynette Wallsworth, a VR pioneer in the US. Awavena is about a female shaman who became the first woman to be introduced to the rituals of shamanism. It’s about how she was trained by an old shaman in her tribe, and how she’s now training other women. At the end, there’s a whole section where you can play and interact with herbs and sacred plants. Awavena is the second chapter in the VR series, which debuted with the Emmy Award-winning documentary Collisions.


Linear VR in competition


Even in the Rain
Lindsay Branham
USA, Central African Republic / 16’ / VR theater

Even In The Rain VR Lindsey Branham virtual reality

Even in the Rain is a virtual reality memoir about Guillaume Ngbowesse, a Muslim man caught in the sectarian civil war in the Central African Republic. In Even in the Rain, Guillaume dissects his identity as a Muslim and the tense coexistence of revenge and forgiveness through selectively re-enacted moments from his life. This re-embodied exploration of the consolidation of memory creates a canvas for both a new interpretation of the past and a reimagining of the self. Even in the Rain is at the center of a social psychology study, funded by Google and the University of Cambridge, to explore the efficacy of VR to reduce prejudice towards the Muslim minority CAR.


Trail of Angels
Dir. Kristina Buozyte
Animation / Lithuania / HTC Vive / Interactive / 20’ / Stand up

Trailer of Angels Virtual reality M.K. Čiurlionis directed by Kristina Buožytė

Trail of Angels is a tribute to famous Lithuanian painter and composer M.K. Čiurlionis. It‘s an immersive virtual reality animation that invites the viewer to explore the magic world of Čiurlionis’ paintings and interact with its environments and characters while listening to his music.


X-Ray Fashion
Dir. Francesco Carrozzini
Live action / US, Denmark, India / documentary / Samsung VR / HTC Vive / installation / 20’

The clothing and fashion industry are among the biggest polluters in the world. Inspired by the flat documentary ‘The True Cost’, the VR installation X-Ray Fashion takes the audience on a journey through the lifespan of garment production, consumption and disposal with the devastating consequences. The installation will consist of different grounds in order to provoke an immersive feeling of being present in the different scenes; stable ground, earth, water and clothes. This is an activist documentary in VR about the price we pay for fashion. A VR film by the same team who created Separate Silences, a VR installation with reactive actors that was shown in Venice last year.


Half Life VR – Short version
Robert Connor / Royal Swedish Opera
Linear VR Film / Sweden / 12′ / VR Theater

Half Life VR swedish opera dance performance in VR

Half Life VR is a VR recording of Sharon Eyal’s critically acclaimed dance piece Half Life. “No VR production has ever used so many angles and transitions like this. Every cut and angle in Half Life is intended to enhance the presence of the spectator in the dance,” says director Robert Connor from Robert & Robert Studios. With Half Life VR, spectators get to experience angles that they would never usually observe as part of the audience.


Crow: The Legend
Dir. Eric Darnell / Baobab
Animation / USA / Oculus / 22’ / Stand up

Crow the Legend Baobab VR Animation Venice VR 2018

Crow the Legend Baobab VR Animation Venice VR 2018Crow the Legend Baobab VR Animation Venice VR 2018Venice is showing the final version of Crow: The Legend, done by one of the biggest VR studios in Los Angeles, Baobab (Invasion, Jack). This piece is inspired by the Native American legend of the Rainbow Crow. A legend about a beautiful bird that saves the world by flying beyond the sun to meet the Creator and ask it to stop the winter. Directed by Eric Darnell (Madagascar) and voiced by big names, including Oprah Winfrey, who plays the Creator.


Age of Sail
Dir. John Kahrs / Google Spotlight Stories
Animation / USA / HTC Vive / 11’35” / Stand up

Age Of Sails VR animation John Kahrs

Set in the year 1900, Age of Sail tells the story about a mysterious girl on a boat, who falls into the ocean and gets rescued by an old fisherman. The story centers on the relationship between this little girl and the old man. According to Google Spotlight Stories, it’s their most visually complex and longest project to date. Kahrs won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short for ‘Paperman’ in 2013.


Dir. Carl Krause & Dominik Stockhausen / Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg
Animation / Germany / Oculus / 10’ / Stand up

MindPlace VR-Carl Krause Dominik Stockhause Venice VR

MindPlace is an animated real-time VR experience produced as part of the subject area Animation at the Animationsinstitut of Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. It’s a piece about the experience of being one inside the mind of your loved one. Not just as a visitor, though, but dissolving into their perception entirely. All their truths lying bare for you to see. Uninhibited and uncontrollable. A beautiful poetic, visual rendering of a love story.


Dir. Gerda Leopold / Amilux Film
Linear VR / Romantic fantasy / Austria, Germany / 34′ / VR Theater


Maria is a young, hotheaded but insecure tango dancer. She recently started dating Anton, the choreographer of her dance company, but isn’t quite sure where their relationship is going. During a rehearsal Maria loses her temper, after getting ridiculed by the other ensemble members. While leaving the building she falls through a trapdoor into a cellar, where she encounters an old man who invites her into his basement apartment. The old man lures Maria into a mirror reality where she is immersed into her dreams and fantasies.


Dir. Assaf Machnes
Linear VR film / Israel, UK / 9’ / VR Theater

Borderline VR Assaf Machnes

Abraham, a young Israeli soldier, Jewish from Ethiopian origins, is guarding the borderline along with a fellow rookie. When Abraham is left alone for a few minutes, he faces an impossible dilemma. Based on true events, Borderline tells a short VR story, allowing its audience to experience the hero’s uncertainty in the middle of the desert.


Shennong: Taste of Illusion
Dir. Li Mi, Zheng Whang / Pinta Studios
Animation / China / Oculus / 9’ / Stand up

Shennong Illusion VR Pinta studios Venice VR

A VR animation by Pinta Studios about a hero of prehistoric China, Shennong, who fights a beast from his illusion. In ancient times, Shennong explores the forest deep in the valley to collect unknown plants with unique tastes and effects. A glamorous flower seduces Shennong and he is poisoned by tasting the petal. Shennong falls under the spell of an illusion as the flower turns into a mythical beast.
Watch the trailer on Facebook.


The Great C
Dir. Steve Miller
Animation / Canada / Oculus / installation / 30’

The Great C - VR Steve Miller by Secret Location Venice VR 2018

The Great C - VR Steve Miller by Secret Location Venice VR 2018The Great C is a cinematic virtual reality narrative based on the science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick (The Man in the High Castle, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). Years after a catastrophic incident, a powerful AI-driven supercomputer called the Great C rules over the remnants of humanity. Each year a nearby village is forced to send a young person on a pilgrimage to “report” to the Great C – a journey from which no one ever returns. The Great C follows Clare, a young woman who finds her life upended when her fiancé is summoned for this year’s pilgrimage. Forced to leave the safe confines of her village, Clare must now decide whether to accept the rules of this harsh society or fight against the oppressive reality of her world.

Audiences can experience The Great C at select VR arcades and entertainment centers starting September 2018. The title will also be available for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation®VR, with an expected release in Q4 2018.


L’île des morts (Isle of the Dead)
Dir. Benjamin Nuel / Les Produits Frais
France / Oculus / Gear video / 8’ / Stand up

Isle of the Dead is an interpretation of one of the symbolist paintings of Arnold Böcklin – one of the most famous Swiss painters from the late 19th century. The film, produced by Les Produits Frais, will be released on ARTE’s 360 VR app later this year.


Home After War: Returning to Fear in Fallujah
Gayatri Parameswaran / NowHere Media
Photogrammetry / Germany / Oculus / Installation / 20’

Directed by Gayatri Parameswaran from NowHere Media in partnership with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), Home After War takes the viewer into the tragic, real-life story of an Iraqi family’s return to Fallujah after being displaced from their home by war. Viewers walk through Ahmaied’s home, which still shows signs of damage, hearing his story and learning about the ever-present threat posed by IEDs and what it’s like to fear the home you once loved.

There’s an incredible sense of presence, as you walk around in this war torn environment.
Created as part of the Oculus VR for Good program.


Made This Way: Redefining Masculinity
Dir. Irem Harnak & Elli Raynai / CFC Media Lab
Live action / Documentary / Canada / Oculus / 18’ / Stand up

Comprised of photographs and cutting edge virtual reality volumetric testimonials, Made This Way: Redefining Masculinity is a VR documentary by CFC Media Lab that explores how transgender men are challenging gender norms and redefining the traditional notions of masculinity. By exploring the photographic series and moving in and around the virtual space in which the subjects exist, Made This Way allows audiences to viscerally experience what fluid masculinity could be. A really touching piece.


Dir. Pete Short / Breaking Fourth
Animation / UK, Australia / Oculus / 16’ / Stand up

Lucid - VR virtual reality Breaking Fourth in Venice VR


Lucid showcases the power of immersive storytelling to deal with difficult, emotional themes in the context of a fictional narrative.

Eleanor is an renowned children’s author and illustrator. She is in a coma after a car accident caused by an episode of her late-stage dementia. Before Eleanor is taken off life support, her daughter Astra is given the chance to undertake an experimental treatment that will allow her to enter Eleanor’s mind, for one last goodbye… Astra’s presence triggers a surprising reaction. Eleanor’s mind comes to life, transporting Astra to the magical world of her famous book series. As Astra explores, she discovers the distressing truth behind her mother’s accident.


Last One Standing VR (Wu Zhu Zhi Cheng VR)
Dir. Wang Jiwen, Liu Yang/ iQiyi
Animation / China / HTC Vive / 10’ / Stand up

Last One Standing VR Venice virtual reality science fiction

Last One Standing VR Venice virtual reality science fiction

In 2048, unbounded genetic modification causes ecological disaster. AI robots, who were originally designed to serve humans, want to free themselves. The first generation of AI robots called π wake up from dormancy because the source code inside their bodies has strong evolutionary abilities. Soon π becomes the target that both robots and humans are looking for. In chasing, π meets Nana, a female robot willing to help π. Can π trust Nana or will she lead π into greater conflicts?

A very high-level production by iQiyi – the Chinese equivalent of Netflix. iQiyi is very committed to VR, and produce their own VR content.
Watch the trailer on iQiyi


Fresh Out
Dir. Sam Wey, Tao Fangchao / Sandman Studios
Animation / China / Oculus / 7’ / Stand up

 Fresh Out Sam Wey, Fangchao Tao
In this piece by Sam Wey and Fangchao Tao you are a carrot. You are underground with other carrots and potatoes. The veggies fear the world above and the monsters that harvest them. A Chinese production for a worldwide audience. From SandmanVR, the same studio who made Free Whale, which was shown in Venice last year.


1943: Berlin Blitz
Dir. David Whelan / BBC VR Hub
Animation / Ireland, UK / Oculus / 14’

This VR experience is built around a 1943 sound recording from inside the cockpit of a Lancaster bomber on a mission from London to raid Berlin. There was a BBC war reporter on the plane, whose voice was recorded on vinyl. You’re in the belly of the plane with the reporter, the soldiers, and the pilot. This plane is under attack. The only sound is the actual recording. A really amazing animated piece by the BBC.


Christian Zipfel
Linear VR film / Germany / 23’ / VR theater


Rooms is a German, conceptual black-and-white piece about how we need shelters, how we use rooms or houses to protect ourselves, and what we do in these rooms. Since man settled down, he has created strictly regulated spaces that serve our archaic needs, such as providing shelter, and thus form the basis of our culture. Rooms lets you immerse yourself in five different spatial realities. What makes a room into a space? What fundamental meaning hides behind the walls, is it possible to question or even act against our cultural rules? What happens when a civilization leaves a room?


In VR storytelling, we definitely see a merging between game dynamics and storytelling ~ Reilhac


Best of VR in competition


Gilles Jobin /  Artanim
Live action / Switzerland / 20’ / Installation

An installation in the Best of section. VR_I is a dance piece done by Swiss choreographer Gilles Jobin. Jobin invites the audience to a unique sensual experience: equipped with virtual reality headsets, visitors can simultaneously navigate freely in real space and interact with virtual dancers.

Visitors can move freely in space wearing their virtual reality headsets and computer backpacks. Five spectators can explore this world at the same time, moving alternately in an endless desert, in a cityscape or in a hut on the top of a mountain. During the performance, participants can interact physically and even communicate with each other. Then five virtual dancers appear, multiplying, growing into giants or becoming tiny.


Martín Allais & Nico Casavecchia / Atlas V
Live action / France, USA / Oculus / 6’40”

BattleScar follows a year in the life of Lupe, a Puerto Rican-American living in late 1970’s New York City. The film utilises Lupe’s handwritten journal to guide us through her experiences spanning across the year 1978 as she meets Debbie, another runaway kid living in the city. Debbie will introduce Lupe to the Punk scene of the Bowery and expose her to the secret worlds co-existing in the Lower East Side in the late 70’s. BattleScar is a coming of age drama that explores the theme of identity through the use of animation and immersive environments in virtual reality.


Arden’s Wake: Tide’s Fall
Eugene Chung / Penrose Studios
Animation / USA / Oculus / 27’30” / Stand up

Arden’s Wake: Tide’s Fall is a timeless tale of love, family, and loss, and continues the coming-of-age journey from Arden’s Wake: The Prologue. The story follows Meena, a young woman living on a post-apocalyptic endless sea with her father. When her father, Tide, goes missing during one of his regular dives, Meena descends into the forbidden waters in an effort to rescue him. Her decision to enter the water embarks a voyage of self-discovery and revelation, however, monsters lurk beneath the surface, and not all can be seen.

Tide’s Fall by Penrose Studios is the sequel to Arden’s Wake: The Prologue, which won the very first Lion for Best VR awarded at the Venice Film Festival last year.


Ghost in the Shell: The Movie – Virtual Reality Diver
Hiroaki Higashi / Here Be Dragons, Rewind, Paramount and Dreamworks
Animation / Japan / 15’47” / VR Theater

Japan, 2025. Technology has been advancing more and more rapidly. “Brain cyberization” that makes possible direct connections to information networks via the brain, the technology of “prosthetic bodies” that allows humans to change their body parts into cybernetical ones; in this world where such scientific advances have become common, a bombing attack threat is sent to the Japanese government. The target is an international meeting involving dignitaries from the Republic of Kuzan. The case is entrusted to the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Public Security Section 9. Section 9’s leader, the full-cyborg Motoko Kusanagi, assembles her team and heads off to trap and eliminate the terrorist.


Isle of Dogs Behind the scenes (in virtual reality)
Paul Raphael & Felix Lajeunesse
Live action / Canada, UK, USA / 6’ / VR Theater

A virtual reality experience which places the viewer inside the miniature world of Wes Anderson’s stop-motion animated film Isle of Dogs, face to face with the cast of dogs as they are interviewed on set, while the crew of the film works around you to create the animation you are seeing.


Tales of the Wedding Rings VR
Kaei Sou  / Square Enix Co. Ltd., Japan
Immersive manga / Japan / Oculus / 27’30” / Stand up

Tales of the Wedding Rings VR explores the question, “What would it be like if you can step inside your favorite manga story?” This piece by game developer Square Enix plays with the traditional form of manga. Sometimes you step inside a comic frame, and the 2D world becomes 3D. It’s very beautifully done, although it has already started a debate around its representation of women. Winner of the Imperial Crown – the main award at the World VR Forum in Crans Montana.


Biennale VR College
Linear VR – Out of Competition


Dir. Deniz Tortum
Linear VR / Turkey / 12′ / VR Theater


Dir. Marc Guidoni
Linear VR / France / 30′


In the Cave
Dir. Ivan Gergolet
Linear VR / Italy / 15′


Metro Veinte: Cita Ciega
Linear VR / Argentina / 17′



Ashes to Ashes VR

The Making of Ashes to Ashes

Venice dedicates entire island to VR (2017)

Venice VR 2019: An Overview

Manfred – Pumpkin Bread

The Imaginary Friend

The Industry (VR)

The Great Orator


Best VR From World VR Forum 2017

Annecy 2018

Amazing Stories Told in Real-time

Lessons Learnt: Directing Drama in VR