If you haven't tried VR yet, you're running out of excuses and fast. The BFI London Film Festival is catching up to Sundance and Kaleidoscope with its new Virtual Stories exhibition at the BFI IMAX this week, in collaboration with Power to the Pixel.
The free exhibit runs from 10 - 18 October on the first floor of the IMAX cinema in Waterloo, London and will showcase sixteen VR films and experiences on wireless Samsung Gear VR headsets running on Galaxy S6 smartphones. The new budget Gear VR could be a big hit come Christmas but here in October, VR headsets remain on the verge of becoming household tech accessories.
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The work includes documentaries, fiction, animation and art projects all designed to be experienced in virtual reality. There's some familiar names and projects in the mix including no less than four pieces by Chris Milk's Vrse.works studio: the collaboration with the UN Clouds over Sidra as well as the visually stunning Evolution of Verse, the asylum based Catatonic and Waves of Grace, the story of an Ebola survivor.
The David Attenborough, Natural History Museum and Alchemy VR app First Life makes an appearance - it takes viewers on a journey back 540 million years. Virtual Stories also features Felix & Paul Studios' Cirque du Soleil and Jurassic World experiences.
The nicely curated selection really shows off the breadth of experiments in VR over the last 18 months or so. In short, it's the perfect introduction for cinephiles visiting the capital for the Film Festival to experience the power of this new 'empathy machine' with their own eyes and ears. If you're yet to try VR, don't miss it.