Beyond Cinema at Sydney Film Festival

05 May 2016

The 63rd Sydney Film Festival announces a new program of three FREE immersive experiences exploring cutting edge screen culture and new technologies, entitled Beyond Cinema, to debut at the Festival (8-19 June) across three Festival locations: the Festival Hub at Sydney’s Lower Town Hall, the University of New South Wales and Carriageworks.

“The Festival’s new immersive program expands the Sydney Film Festival experience by presenting three new ways of creating and experiencing film, art and storytelling,” said Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley. “From virtual reality, to 360-degree 3D cinema, to a four-sided video art installation, the Festival encourages audiences to explore new worlds, new perspectives and new ways to enjoy film,” he said.

At the heart of the Festival in Sydney’s Lower Town Hall, Down the Rabbit Hole – Virtual Reality at the Hub (9 – 19 June) will screen nine virtual reality films, from four Australian and five international filmmakers. Designed to enchant, inspire, thrill and ultimately change viewpoints, audiences will put virtual reality headsets to the test including Samsung Gear VR and Facebook’s new Oculus Rift.

VR experiences include: a stroll along the streets of Havana (A History of Cuban Dance), going on stage with the Sydney Dance Company dancers (Stuck in the Middle with You), going inside the world of a cattle farmer and one of Australia's top saddle bronco riders (Warwick Gold - Australian Rodeo), falling down the rabbit hole and into a Lewis Carroll inspired music video (Fabulous Wonder.Land), finding out what it’s like to lose your sight (Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness), haunting an asylum (Madeleine), walking in the footsteps of a filmmaker’s army officer father in Chile’s Caravan of Death (Assent), experiencing the first ever fully hand-drawn VR experience (Drawing Room), and stepping into an animated encounter with a lonely rose (The Rose and I).

Creatives, industry and those interested in immersive storytelling will also be rewarded with a free panel discussion: Diving down the VR Rabbit Hole (Saturday 11 June, 12:00pm) featuring writer Mike Jones and a selection of the VR filmmakers who have works screening at The Hub.

The Festival’s second Beyond Cinema experience is co-presented with the University of New South Wales at the University’s 360-degree 3D world leading iCinema (8 – 18 June). Two interactive experimental films will have their world premiere at the Festival: Deluge, dealing with devastating cyclone Yasi (QLD 2011), and Nebula, a dream work exploring relationships between the human and natural worlds; created by Dennis Del Favero, celebrated Australian playwright Stephen Sewell and others.

The final Beyond Cinema Festival experience is presented in association with Carriageworks (9 June – 17 July) and is a four-sided video installation entitled: HOSSEIN VALAMANESH: CHAR SOO that places viewers at the intersection of an Iranian bazaar to contemplate movement, human interaction and the passing of time.

SYDNEY CONTEMPORARY: AUSTRALIA IN FOCUS also returns to the Festival for the second year, presenting a free video art exhibition exploring the different ways in which moving image techniques, such as super-slow motion, can be adopted and adapted by visual artists in manners their movie-making cousins cannot. 13 Australian artists feature in a program that encourages new insights and ways of seeing.