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MIFF Talks – What Is Virtual Reality Now?

Presented in Season 2 2019

Presented by Arts House and Melbourne International Film Festival

Sun 11 Aug, 1.30pm
60 mins
Free, booking required

Arts House
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
North Melbourne


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Wheelchair accessible

The past five years have seen tremendous developments in virtual reality technologies, transforming a technological pipe dream into a lightweight headset that everyday consumers can use in their living rooms.

From gaming and entertainment to art films and Academy Award nominations, navigating the lost architectural heritage of Notre-Dame to journeying inside the veins of the human body, and embodying stories and cultures that have persisted for tens of thousands of years, new and creative uses for VR emerge every year. But so much progress in such a short space of time begs the questions: what is VR, where did it come from, and where is it going?

In this panel presentation and accompanying Q&A, we ask experts and practitioners at the forefront of the field some of the most pressing questions in VR today to better understand the new technologies rapidly changing the face of screen experience.

Michael Beets is an award-winning director for immersive experiences. His virtual reality projects, music videos and films have been screened at festivals around the world including the Venice Film Festival, Cannes, Busan, Toronto International Film Festival and MIFF. In 2018 his interactive VR work The Unknown Patient was nominated for two awards at the 75th Venice Film Festival, and won the Best VR Award at the Adelaide Film Festival. He also won audience choice award for his music video Gordi: Bitter End at the St. Kilda Film Festival and was nominated for a 2019 ADG award for best direction in an immersive experience. He is currently working on several interactive virtual reality projects.

Katy Morrison is a producer using immersive technologies to put audiences at the centre of extraordinary stories. As co-founder of award winning virtual reality studio VRTOV, her VR projectshave been honoured at the Webby’s, the Lovies, the Google Play Awards and festivals around the world including Sundance, Tribeca and IDFA. Prior to running VRTOV, Katy worked in documentary television as a researcher, writer and producer.

Dr Christian Thompson AO is an Australian-born contemporary artist whose work explores notions of identity, cultural hybridity and history. Formally trained as a sculptor,Thompson’s multidisciplinary practice engages mediums such as photography, video, sculpture, performance and sound. His work focuses on the exploration of identity, sexuality, gender, race and memory. In his live performances and conceptual portraits, he inhabits a range of personas achieved through handcrafted costumes and carefully orchestrated poses and backdrops. In 2010 Thompson made history when he became the first Aboriginal Australian to be admitted into the University of Oxford. In 2018, he was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the visual arts, and as a role model for young Indigenous artists. Thompson has exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally.

Emma Roberts is a Melbourne-based producer and production manager whose work spans VR, narrative short film and web series. In partnership with director Ben Joseph Andrews, her work in VR combines physical and virtual space to create boundary-pushing installations and performances. This has included two commissioned works for City of Melbourne: allthestarstheybleedtogether (2016), a 10-minute sci-fi odyssey culminating in a tactile sound performance, and STARLESS (2017), an immersive near-death experience created in partnership with neuroscience researchers. She is currently working on Petrichor, a social impact VR documentary supported by Screen Australia, Greenpeace and the Climate Council. The project was the winner of the Greenpeace VR Prize at AIDC 2018, and a prototype of the experience premiered at the Forum Theatre as part of MIFF 2018, under the title Storm.

Panellists: Michael Beets, Katy Morrison and Christian Thompson; moderated by Emma Roberts


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