Yesterday, as the sun rose over our brisk homeland of banks and watches, World VR Forum’s Co-Founders – Delphine Seitiee and Salar Shahna held a press conference about our Annual Summit 2018 at Red Bull Media World in Lucerne, Switzerland, on 8 May, 2018.
As the clock struck eight, Seitiee and Shahna gave all the elaborate details on the third edition of WVRF’s Annual Summit in Crans-Montana, 7-10 June, including the names of all the major people in the VR industry involved in the event, the major VR/AR projects and the Summit’s activities. WVRF18 is themed Being Together and is centred around Social VR, welcoming Canada as our country of honour with some of the best players in VR. Bruce Wooden, the Co-Founder of Silicon Valley VR – one of the first meet-ups in VR in Silicon Valley was chosen as our Conference Chairman as he was elected one of the most influential people in VR on Twitter this year and is followed by everyone in the VR industry. Students from HEAD (Geneva’s arts and design institute) created the poster for our Summit which will be expanded with the second venue in the VR village.
"With three days of conferences and workshops, more than 50 speakers and subjects including: medical VR; location-based entertainment from HolodeckVR, Dreamscape Immersive and The Void; advertising; real estate; and retail and a new series of master classes exploring sound, image and climate change, the big VR extravaganza will be our best one," said Shahna.
Then Shahna presented the projects that will be in competition at our festival this year. Chorus by Tyler Hurd (who won a distinction for Chocolate last year’s edition) who teamed up with Wooden studio from Chris Milk to present a multi-player experience (6 people at a time) based on the music video by Justice. Reframe Saudi by Matteo Lonardi (who won first prize with Reframe Iran in 2016) is a VR documentary with a new vision on the Middle Eastern Kingdom giving voice to Saudi artists. CSSC VR experiments’ What is your name? is a surrealistic piece by Paul McCarthy, the famous artist and produced by Kora Contemporary. This piece, shown once at La Biennale de Venezia, leaps with art and VR, disturbing the spectator in his intimacy. Your Spiritual Temple Sucks is a humoristic project from Greater China, from the region of Taiwan, shown at the Sundance Film Festival, questioning the Temple and religion within Greater China. Naked in Paradise from Canada is an experimental piece analysing the question of memory and the representation of memory in VR space from Luc Courchesne, the Founder of SAT – one of the main hubs for digital culture in Montreal.
Wolves in the Walls by the team who was behind Oculus Story Studio and joined to create Fable Studio goes inside a little girl’s mind and plays with interactivity in a whole new organic way. The Sun Ladies directed by Celine Tricart – one of the world’s best geographers from France based out of LA, is about women of different religions – Catholic, Muslim, ISIS fighting in Iraq as all lost a member of their family in this war. Elastic Time from Switzerland, from Imverse, questioning metaphysics, time and space, is a Mixed Reality piece with out of body experiences and is a completely new installation this year. Beqaa VR is a very traumatizing experience which puts you in a body of a hostage, only for mature audience, selected for the emotional impact and for the political questions that it raises. Construct is a new leap in technology by Starbreeze and PresenZ from Belgium and is one of the first pieces of technology using 6 stuff for storytelling in VR, it reminds us of District 9 and it will be played on the Star VR headsets giving 220° field of view.
Out Off-competition pieces include Rainbow Crow from BAOBAB Studios from USA, a beautifully animated piece, and Blindfold from the Canadian American Navid Ansari, putting you in a body of someone being interrogated in a prison of Evin in Iran.
The Game Zone which was very popular last year will once again include different platforms Playstation, Vive, Oculus, Oculus Go and Gear VR. There will be tournaments for the new version of Anshar Online by the Swiss team Ozwe and also the new game Beatsaber. The VR Cinema will contain a selection of 50 films in 360°, played in synchronized screenings with Jaunt VR China technology.
We will also have Cry d’Er, a new venue, on the Alps peak, at 2,222 metres of altitude with Swiss multi-player experiences: VR_I made by Cie Gilles Jobin with the Artanim Dreamscape technology putting you in the body of dancers – 5 people together playing with scales. Hanahana by Mélodie Mousset comes back in a multiplayer version this year with physical add-ons.
Also, this year, we are organizing a dedicated section to VR Journalism, following our partnership with the Journalism Masterclass with WAN-IFRA last year. Journalism has been truly changed thanks to VR. It’s a total new perspective that is offered to the people on the ground. The pieces that we have selected with WAN-IFRA for this section are The Enemy in its AR version; Autism from The Guardian in 360°; Experience North Korea from within from Sweden from Lars Lindqvist; Glacier from Switzerland, the Director, Urs Wyss of avocado360 who was at the press conference; and finally, Testimony from the USA, directed by Zohar Kfir. One of these projects will be awarded by a jury for the VR Journalism. For our Official Selection, the jury will consist of: Michel Reilhac, Conference Chairman at WVRF16 and curator of Venice VR; Yelena Rachitsky from Oculus, the woman behind most of Oculus productions and one of the leaders of Sundance Film Festival; Marie Blondiaux, the French Producer from Red Corner; Simon Ho, Director of VRVCA HTC from China; Marcie Jastrow from Technicolor; Lily Baldwin, the filmmaker and dancer. Our Master of Ceremony will be Chuck Piel.
Finally, the Market will have 30 exhibitors lined up, all curated, a new start-up zone, Canadian Pavilion, Swiss Pavilion promoting the best Swiss works and super elevator 50-minute pitching sessions in cable car with investors in full secrecy. Last but not least, the Summit will include side events with Atelier Grand Nord VR from Sodec, local support for local filmmakers in Quebec, Canada, the Focal VR Projects Lab – a two-day VR workshop for Swiss VR projects, cocktails and parties, a special dinner, and an Award Ceremony.
As the press conference came to an end, Seitiee and Shahna thanked WVRF’s sponsors and partners for support: The Federal Office of Culture of Switzerland, Fonds des Médias du Canada and Virtual Switzerland. Upcoming events were also mentioned: the launch of Aimone Bodini’s book Narrative Language of Virtual Reality in Milan; Cannes Film Festival and an inauguration of an exhibition in Shanghai.
“We are very excited to be with you together in June for our best edition yet,” concluded Shahna.