The Venice Film Festival is set to screen Jesus VR, a first of its kind, virtual reality feature length film.
Over the course of the past several years, virtual reality has seen an increasingly large spike in interest by innovative and passionate creators and developers alike. From high-tech platforms like Oculus, to the cheap and affordable Google Cardboard, users around the world are experiencing content like never before. With 360° views and 3 Dimensional graphics, virtual reality has placed the viewer smack dam in the middle of the action. While games and short films have mainly dominated this market so far, it was just announced that the Venice Film Festival is set to screen a first of its kind, virtual reality feature film.
Titled Jesus VR – The Story of Chris, users plunge into the inhabited world of Jesus Christ, and follow his most noteworthy life events. Produced by Autumn Productions and VRWERX, this 90 minute film is being dubbed the first ever full length virtual reality film. Alberto Barbera, director of the Venice Film Festival declared, “JESUS helps show the narrative and spectacular potential of this new technology, which until now has been limited to brief films.” Shot entirely in the city of Metera in 4K 360°, production included an all Italian crew, and hundreds of extras used to create an active environment for viewers.
Directed and produced by Davis Hansen, and written by Andre van Heerden, this film has abundant ties to its faithful predecessors, which have also showcased similar events. Enzio Sisti, who is billed as executive producer, and religious advisor for Hansen’s film, Father William Fulco, have both previous been involved with Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. This intimate portrayal promises to put viewers at the center of it all, drawing witness to the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is also noted that audiences will experience key moments in his story, which include his baptism, the Sermon on the Mount, the Last Supper, and most recognizably his crucifixion.
Those who are able to experience Jesus VR at the Venice Film Festival this year will only see a 40 minute cut of the 90 minute feature film. Screening at the new 50 seat VR theatre at Venice’s Casinò, audiences will be equipped with state of the art virtual reality headsets, and be placed in individually pivoting seats that rotate 360°.
Film festivals across the globe have been a place for innovative and experimental visual content, pioneering the ways in which audiences view and interact with content. With the recent announcement from the Tribeca Film Festival, which will now allow virtual reality to be included in their 2017 submissions, we can expect to see a growing number of events adapt this mindset. Alberto Barbera has also noted that the “Venice Production Bridge is also presenting 6 VR projects among the 40 proposed audiovisual products in search of financing, alongside movies, documentaries, TV series and web series. It is a sign of the attention the Venice Film Festival pays to the sweeping changes which are helping redefine the horizons of the production of images in motion.”
Jesus VR – The Story of Christ is set to screen at the Venice Film Festival for four days, from September 1st to the 4th, and aims to be released on all major virtual reality platforms around Christmas time.