The wild virtual reality tour at last year’s Vancouver International Film Festival offered more of a glimpse into the future than any of us could have guessed
With the 35th edition of VIFF beginning in little over a month on September 29, it was announced today that the festival has undergone massive restructuring.
The most visible change is in programming, with longstanding categories like Canadian Images and Dragons & Tigers being replaced, to quote today’s media release, with “multi-experiential streams that include curated screenings fused with related talks and events in a unique ‘film plus’ model.”
Those streams appear related to previous categories in some ways. Ignite builds on VIFF’s BC Spotlight and Must See BC programs while True North and Gateway replace the mandate previously filled by Canadian Images and Dragons & Tigers.
“The year’s most anticipated international films” now fall under the banner of Panorama, while Impact looks like the home to agit-docs like last year’s Fractured Land and ALT takes over the midnight madness territory previously covered by Altered States.
Pointing a little more directly to its promise of a “multi-experiential” festival, M/A/D tackles music, art, and design with exhibitions and live performance augmenting all the big screen kicks, while Next takes on VR, gaming, and other aspects of our new and fast-morphing digital landscape.
Closely if not exclusively related to Next, VIFF has also announced a new initiative called VIFF Hub, described in today’s release as “a central location for experiences beyond film. The transformed Vancouver International Film Centre will host interactive screen-based experiences, talks, sessions and events with leaders in creative industries that are designed to educate and inspire public and industry attendees alike.”
Among the first events scheduled for VIFF Hub, according to today’s release:
New Frontiers Series: Virtual Reality "The latest storytelling technology to challenge creators. Sessions at this year’s VIFF will tackle the next big thing in consumer entertainment, VR, and introduce first-hand experiences from some of the world’s leading VR creators."
Industry Exchange "A dedicated forum exploring the future of digital entertainment. To include exclusive, first-come, first-served meetings, as well as dinners, lunches and cocktails with online commissioners, creators and top executives."
Creator Talks "From fireside chats to panel sessions, audiences will hear from some of the worlds’ leading creators and innovators as they share expertise on their craft."
Sustainable Production Forum "Part of the Impact stream, this is the first-of-its-kind one-day event in a planned multi-year series that will lay the groundwork for showcasing Vancouver as a world-class location for sustainable screen-based production."
Totally Indie Day "For emerging content creators, this tent pole industry event in the Must See BC stream, focuses on skill building in financing, distribution, marketing, audience engagement and more."
Late Night at Hub "From 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., the decibel level rises as live music from local acts mixes with video experiences."
This year’s Vancouver International Film Festival takes place from September 29 to October 14. Watch this space for more announcements, reviews, and features.