Text by CLOT Magazine
The BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express, is presenting a new initiative, LFF Expanded: the Festival’s new dedicated strand of XR and Immersive Art. Using cinema as a starting point, LFF Expanded will be an expansive space for programming, featuring Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality and including live immersive performance. LFF Expanded will feature bold, innovative creators from around the world who use a range of creative techniques to ensure audiences are not in front a work of art, a film or a performance, but in the middle of it. It seems immersion has arrived for the big screen as well.
This year, LFF is innovating in response to social distancing restrictions by commissioning a bespoke, dynamic new virtual exhibition space, The Expanse, that will house the LFF Expanded programme. LFF Expanded is programmed by Ulrich Schrauth (LFF XR & Immersive Programmer), who has also worked closely with INVR.Space on the design of virtual exhibition space.
The Expanse will feature a virtual gallery for the LFF’s 20 360-degree video and immersive works, plus a virtual theatre that will house a line-up of live talks and events across the festival. The platform has been built by INVR.SPACE is an award-winning full-service VR studio space and an immersive media research facility.
Audiences will be able to access The Expanse, connect with one another and view the works using tethered and non-tethered (Oculus Quest) headsets. For those that do not have a headset at home, the festival will have a number of headsets available for use at BFI Southbank for attendees to book and experience the platform in person. There will also be a 2D browser version of the platform for those wishing to view the theatre events at home. To view the works outside of the platform, attendees can access the festival’s 360 video programme via Oculus TV and the dedicated LFF 360 Player via WebXR, viewable in mobile VR headsets.
Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director, comments that this new programme of XR, immersive and interactive works will sit alongside their regular film programme: We are eager to create a platform for showcasing brilliant new work at the festival that reflects the blurring boundaries of many of these visual storytelling forms and a future in which creators move with increasing ease between them.
LFF Expanded will be open throughout the BFI London Film Festival from 7 to 18 October 2020. More info on the programme soon.