Being a forum for virtual experiences, in its third edition at goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film the Open Frame Award continues to experiment with new forms and media formats.
As a competition of experimental 360° and interactive Virtual Reality projects the Open Frame Award is not being set back by curfews or travel warnings. Instead the competition itself dives deep into the future of virtual realities. Thus, the presentation of the projects in competition during the festival between May 5th to 11th 2020 will be held in a virtual recreation of goEast's main venue Caligari FilmBühne. The Russian VR artist and winner of 2018’s Open Frame Award, Denis Semionov, has “recreated” the 94-year-old cinema in virtual reality, together with curator Georgy Molodtsov. Another virtual space created for this year’s festival is a GoEast VRoof Top Lounge, a meeting point for Open Frame Award nominees and festival guests, inspired by this year festival visual, designed by Russian artist collective Vreditel_li, whose works also would be demonstrated in virtual spaces.
This allows the 360° and Virtual Reality projects to compete in a reality created just for this occasion. In the end, the Open Frame Award will be given out, which is once again funded and endowed with 5.000 Euros in prize money by BHF Bank Foundation and Adolf und Luisa Haeuser Stiftung für Kunst und Kulturpflege.
An international jury will decide over who to receive the Open Frame Award. This year the jury is composed of Mária Rakušanová, curator for the Raindance Film Festival and engaged with partnership and content acquisition at HTC Vive in Europe, Averie Timm, Producer at Facebook AR/VR (Oculus) as well as Akmyrat Tuyliyev, producer for the PBS documentary series POV Spark.
To make it possible, goEast partnered with the social XR cultural hub VRrOOm – a broadcast platform dedicated to arts, entertainment and cultural events. Virtual venues, a 360° theatre, unique virtual theatrical performances, nominees pitchings and the Open Frame Award Ceremony might be accessed through a XR VRrOOm world on the free platform VRChat. For the best experience a VR headset as well as a PC system are recommended, but the event is also accessible by most users via PC, like any videogame.
Overcoming time constraints to bring the festival online, goEast and VRrOOm were able to achieve a remarkable result, making the goEast's 2020 edition become the world's very first event to offer access to both 360° and Interactive Experiences to pre-registered guests.
Still for anyone without the hardware, there will be guided tours in the goEast VRoof Top Lounge and Caligari VR, that are streamed on the website of goEast. For this Schenker Technologies GmbH kindly provides laptop solutions for the team of goEast during the festival.
“Current situation hit the whole planet, in bigger or smaller scale. But for creative VR community it not only a strike, but also a chance to show the world what VR is capable of and how it might change the reality. The space we developed is inspired by the creative freedom and expression we found in nominated works. So it’s our job to give those works the exposure they deserve.”
The selection for the Open Frame Award opens fantastic worlds and memories. Thus, the interactive animation film WINGS (Moldova, 2019) by Dmitri Voloshin recreates almost forgotten childhood dreams and vaults the viewer into the far depths of space. CAT'S WINTER TALE (Finland, Russia 2020) by Oleg Nikolaenko is told similarly fantastic, being a Christmas tale about the friendship between a tiger-cat and an angel. With WHISPERS (Poland, 2019) Jacek Naglowski and Patryk Jordanowicz employ a 360° documentary to present a faith healer, who is using the power of words, gestures and images. In VERINNERUNG VR (Germany, 2019) by Alexander Flatau different realities between a bank robbery and an innocent date intertwine. PSYCHOSIS (Russia, 2018) by the artist collective AES+F is similarly surreal. The mixed reality project is based on a text of the playwright Sarah Kane, she wrote shortly before taking her own life. BABYN YAR. VIRTUAL MEMORY (Ukraine 2020) by Alona Stulii is an interactive experience processing the fate of numerous victims of mass executions during the Holocaust at that telling the events from the perspective of all involved. With APORIA. THE CITY IS THE CITY (Poland, 2019) Krzysztof Garbaczewski creates different perspectives, even resulting in parallel worlds and an open space experience. At that a city in different worlds evolves in different directions. With THE RAIN THAT IS FALLING NOW WAS ALSO FALLING BACK THEN (Romania, Germany, 2019), Christian Zipfel takes the experience up to the very edge of Europe to Botoșani. There three men behind bars had a lot time to think and just before their release now raise the question of happiness.
goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film is hosted by DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum and made possible with the support of numerous partners. Primary funding partners are the State Capital Wiesbaden, the Hessen State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts, Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, Renovabis, BHF BANK Foundation, Adolf und Luisa Haeuser-Stiftung für Kunst und Kulturpflege, the German Federal Foreign Ministry, the Federal Foundation for the Study of Communist Dictatorship in East Germany and Deutsch-Tschechische Zukunftsfonds. Media partners include 3sat, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.