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The Chelsea Film Festival Showcases Diversity in VR

Chelsea Film Festival offers a VR lineup that is refreshing, intimate, and necessary.

Over the past few years, VR has established a presence in “name brand” festivals such as Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca or Cannes. In this growing landscape, how can niche festivals establish themselves as homes for important VR?

The Chelsea Film Festival (CFF) is an international film festival, illuminating the work of emerging filmmakers, producers and actors. It offers a wide range of genres focusing on the theme of “Global Issues.” Under the leadership of  Illya Szilak, CFF is presenting its second annual VR showcase along with offering the First Virtual Reality Grand Prix Award Sunday, October 22. A jury of 5 industry professionals includes VR veterans Caitlin Fisher, Javier Molina, Kristin Gutekunst, Neil Padukone and Stina Hamlin.

The showcase is packed with VR experiences dedicated to telling stories of underprivileged communities and underrepresented genders. The curation consists of works specifically created by women, people of color, and people in the LGBTQ community. CFF has made it its mission to empower risk-taking storytellers and independent artists; the VR lineup reflects this clear intention of presenting diverse voices from around the world.

“This Year’s First Annual Virtual Reality Competition offers a wide range of subject matters and reflects the diversity of our world,” CFF Founder Ingrid Jean-Baptiste said in a statement. “The stories come from: India, Israel, France, America, and beyond. We hope to inspire our audience with these experience”

Festivals like CFF are incredibly important to grow the VR community and open the conversation to include different artists and audiences. Identifying, curating and showcasing new talent is what VR needs. Festivals bring creators together, and these connections serve to establish relationships that might lead to future collaboration. It’s exciting to imagine what could emerge through something like CFF, particularly as more festivals include VR in their lineups.

Below is the full lineup:

  • Animal Equality by Jose Valle
  • Chasing Coral by Jeff Orlowski
  • How You See Me by Kathryn Harriman
  • Inferno VR by Holly Wollard and Stephanie Stretton
  • Lifeline by Victor Michelot
  • Potato Dreams by Wes Hurley & Nathan M. Miller
  • Melting Ice by Danfung Dennis
  • Notes to my Father by Jayisha Patel
  • Open Blue Cobia by Ulrike Futschik
  • Out of the Blue by Sophie Ansel
  • Traces by Gabriela Arp
  • Tzina: Symphony of Living by Shirin Anlen
  • Virtually Cayman by Joergen Geerds
  • Women on the Move by Shannon Carroll

Remember to keep an eye out for the announcement of the first-ever CFF VR Grand Prix Award!

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