The past weekend had literally been a heavenly feast for all the VR enthusiasts in the country. Who could have thought that an Indian Film Festival could push its own boundaries and accommodate the VR films and documentaries within itself, reserving two whole days for it?
Well, it did happen!
DAY 1 VR Film Festival at MAMI: Samsung Gear VR Lounge
The palatial Bal Gandharv Rang Mandir (Mumbai) witnessed an inexplicable child-like excitement and enthusiasm in everyone who entered its gates. There were VR nerds and VR novices, but little could you differentiate from the awe and wonder on their faces as they put on the VR headset in a dim-lighted lounge.
There were 15 VR movies and documentaries from all over the world that were showcased there, including the well known Clouds of Sidra, Cost of Coal, Invisible Man, Jetlag, Right to Pray, Waves of Grace amongst many more. The illustrious list was curated by the trinity of VR evangelists in the country, VR Collective‘s Ishita Gandhi, U.K. Dasari and young Hindi filmmaker, Shakun Batra.
It was no less than a star-studded affair. Some of the well known faces in the Hindi film industry turned up to experience the VR for the first time.
Tisca Chopra enjoying the immersive experience.
India’s biggest blockbuster Bahubali- The Beginning‘s sequel Bahubali-The Conclusion‘s teaser was released in VR too. And sure it did pull the crowd here too!
DAY 2: VR Film Festival at MAMI: A panel discussion on ‘Is VR the future of Storytelling?’
There could not be any better panelists than the great visionary VR film-makers like Gabo Arora and Anand Gandhi, and the VR guru himself, Raja Koduri with Shakun Batra moderating the discussion.
Gabo Arora, a gifted filmmaker, is a United Nations Creative Director. UN’s ’s first virtual reality app, UNVR, was launched with his ‘Clouds over Sidra’ as one of the four VR films. His other major creations are ‘My Mothers Wing’ , ‘Waves of Grace’.
Anand Gandhi, another ingenious filmmaker. He is the mentor of the Memesys Cultural Lab that has co-joined this futuristic technology to storytelling on reel. Right to Pray, India’s first VR narrative documentary has been featured in prestigious Toronto International Film Festival this year. The Lab is coming up with a dedicated studio for VR films. He is renowned for his debut feature film Ship of Theseus, which won the National Film Award for Best Picture and swayed the global audience at Film Festivals across the world.
Raja Koduri, the technocrat, whose Makuta VFX made the Bahubali VR possible with ‘BB360’ camera. With his decades of experience in the visual computing and related fields, he practically unlocked the nitty-gritty of the VR technology.
It was an insightful discussion where Anand Gandhi and Gabo Arora shared their experiences in making their VR films and how they were different from 2D film-making. Raja Koduri enlightened the audience with the limitations in the present VR. According to him, latency is still the challenge for the VR technocrats to overcome, which hinders the total immersive experience.
During the discussions, Gabo Arora unveiled that the UNVR app has decided to acquire the much talked about VR film, Cost of Coal, the very first Indian film’s acquisition by such a prestigious platform. The film comes from Anand Gandhi’s Memesys Culture Lab helmed by filmmaker Faiza Khan. It is based on the plight of people living in Korba, Chhattisgarh, where about a fourth of India’s coal is mined, leaving the land ravaged, air and water contaminated and lives disrupted.
GetVR applauds the stupendous efforts of VR Collective‘s Ishita Gandhi, U.K. Dasari and young Hindi filmmaker Shakun Batra for bringing together VR at MAMI.
Enjoy the wonderful discussion in length. It is definitely worth your every second.