As the world is opening again to events and festivals, Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN) will happen on July 9-16. With its XR section, Beyond Reality, and a lot of surprises this year, it’s a hybrid-type of event that will combine a physical venue and a virtual showcase. We spoke with Jay Kim, curator of Beyond Reality, about this new world for immersive festivals and the current state of XR creation.
Jay Kim - We’ll try to make a physical event this year, even if the Covid-19 crisis affects us too. It will be a limited version of our festival of course. On our XR part - Beyond Reality (link) - I selected a total of 39 contents: 19 360VR, 18 interactive contents and 2 special mention interactive pieces. We are collaborating with SK Telecom in South Korea which has a VR platform - Jump VR. It will be there where we will showcase online contents to audiences, alongside a physical venue to present interactive projects - around 18 pieces. It will be on a limited time, as we are monitoring the new cases of Covid-19 very closely and everything can change.
Jay - For XR contents, we want to combine real and virtual spaces. They’re several layers of emotions and comprehension between them. Depending on the experience you’re watching, it is not the same thing in the real world and the virtual one. We want to give the best exposure on all projects depending on the layers of creativity they have. XR is all about the relationship between the viewer and the content. I like to select the project with that idea in mind. Last year I selected many interactive projects, where the movement helped to create the experience. Information and story is going through our body movement, we are physically the controllers on 6dof installations. This year, we have selected 19 360-video selection, higher percentage compared to previous years, due to the circonstances.
Jay - Another thing is some part of our selection is from the Tribeca, Sundance or Venice VR line-ups. THE LINE, THE BOOK OF DISTANCE.. You can’t miss these from such important festivals. And I also try to put my resources, around 30%, to find new artists in Asia too. We have several nice artists in immersive creation here, but it’s hard to promote them worldwide. So we give them a shot, to put some lights on asian creativity. And I work with north american or european events, such as Sundance and Venice VR, to present them the best of asian experiences.
Jay - In 360-video, it was always a limited method to tell a story. We didn’t know how to use the camera, make it move, tell a story. But now filmmakers fully understand how to use technics (volumetric capture…) and their characters (more realistic…). Some technical issues are now forgotten, we see a lot of high quality 360-video : EVEREST, 1ST STEP, RAIN FRUITS… It’s a new era for 360 storytelling that gets us closer to short and feature cinema movies. You have beautiful exemples from Taiwan as well: LOOK AT ME, HOME…
Jay - I think LBE experiences are more meaningful for XR, I love them! But now we need to think about distribution and audience. There are so many successful projects every year, but the audience doesn't expand a lot. It’s a very limited number of people that can enjoy the XR media. 360-video is great for distribution, screenings, collaboration with telecom companies. Creators are also developing a 360-video version of their installation. See BATTLESCAR or GLOOMY EYES in example, which are available now online after a life in festivals. XR Experiences need to meet their audiences, which is limited in LBE. Especially in the current context, 360-video is something to look after.
Jay - We try to distribute some projects in South Korea every year. Not for money, but to educate about immersive contents. We really want to continue that, and to translate some of them in korean (or subtitling) to work on the language barrier. We also work with Sandbox Immersive Festival and Kaohsiung Film Festival to exchange some of our selection in Asia, to give more exposure to the contents we find interesting. The idea is for Beyond Reality to be more and more a hub of information, a place to discover new ways of storytelling and creators. XR is not yet completely mature, and we need to communicate a lot. We’re working on networking and sharing information every step of the way.
Jay - I really want to introduce our medium to new audiences, and show that XR is expanding into arts, gaming and others use cases with a complete new storytelling. New technologies are familiar to them but applications are new: projection mapping, AR… I hope they can be inspired by that. Artists - not necessarily filmmakers - can use this medium to express their creativity with XR. This is how we selected experiences, to inspire. We want to be more than a “genre film festival”, and to embrace as many genres and stories as possible every year. With that idea in mind, 2020 is not different from 2019 with almost 40 projects selected and 40 universes to discover.
BIFAN 360 SELECTION - Beyond BIFAN
- BLACK BAG - QING Shao (See our interview)
- THE ABANDONED DEITY - KAO Yi-Chun
- LOOK AT ME - HE Wei-Ting
- HOME - Kidding HSU
- ATTACK ON DADDY - SUNG Sihup
- RAIN FRUITS - SONG Youngyoon, LEE Sngmoo
- PASSENGER - Isobel KNOWLES, Van SOWERWINE
- SWING - Mari Jaye BLANCHARD
- UPSTANDER - Van PHAN (See our interview)
- MOWB - KAZUKI Yuhara
- STEP BY STEP - Antoine DAVID
- SIM: THE BLIND - YOO Sanghyun, AHN Sungmin *
- KAIJU CONFIDENTIAL - Ethan SHAFTEL (See our interview)
- SPACE BUDDIES - Ethan SHAFTEL
- ODYSSEY 1.4.9 - Francois VAUTIER
- 10 DAYS - JEONG Beomyoun
- A SONG WITHIN US - Fangas NAYAW
- FEATHER - ITOH Keisuke *
- 1ST STEP - Jörg COURTIAL
- 2ND STEP - Jörg COURTIAL
- Reaching Out to the Deep Sea with VR - NAITO Yuta
*originally interactive content presented here in their 360 version to the Korean audience.
BIFAN Interactive - Displayed later in 2020 or 2021
- EVE, DANCE IS AN UNPLACEABLE PLACE - Margherita BERGAMO, Daniel GONZALEZ **
- COSMOS WITHIN US - Tupac MARTIR ** (See our interview)
- THE LINE - Ricardo LAGANARO (See our interview)
- GLOOMY EYES - Jorge TERESO, Fernando MALDANADO
- BATTLESCAR: PUNK WAS INVENTED BY GIRLS - Martin ALLAIS, Nico CASAVECCHIA
- FEATHER - ITOH Keisuke
- BODYLESS - HUANG Hsin-Chien
- DREAMING MAESTRO - Tony LIM, Justin LEE
- THE BOOK OF DISTANCE - Randall OKITA
- THE HOLY CITY - Nimrod SHANIT
- INORI - LIU Szu Ming, KOMATSU Miwa
- GRAVITY VR - Fabito RYCHTER, Amir ADMONI
- SIM: THE BLIND - YOO Sanghyun, AHN Sungmin
- DREAM205 - YOON Heeju
- MISSING PICTURES: BIRDS OF PREY - Clément DENEUX
- UNDER THE PILLOW - Georgy MOLODTSOV
- IN DREAMS - PARK Yongjae
- VAST BODY - Vincent MORISSET (only experience presented physically this year)
- ALONG WITH THE GODS VR: PIECE OF MEMORY - SKonec Entertainment, Dexter Studios
- MORTAL BLITZ COMBAT ARENA - SKonec Entertainment
**These two titles fall under "Special Mention" category which BIFAN aims to bring the project & the artist(s) to their next edition (2021). This year recorded talks will be presented from the creators of these two projects to the audience as a part of "Trend Report" program