Venice Film Festival 2017: VR Exhibit Highlights

01 Sep, 2017

The 74th Venice International Film Festival, happening from August 30 to September 9, 2017 in Venice, Italy, marks the first year for a VR exhibit. The cutting-edge virtual reality installation is being held at Lazzaretto Vecchio island, just a boat ride away from the main festival venue, and is filled with premieres, Stand Ups, installations and a state of the art VR Theater. We toured the facility during the press preview and were extremely impressed by the incredible experiences that these multi-dimensional visual displays provided.

Venice Film Festival 2017 VR Theater | Photo by Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine

Venice Film Festival 2017 VR Theater | Photo by Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine

A few of the installations that caught our attention were THE LAST GOODBYE, a documentary-style installation exhibit that follows a Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, as he toured the Majdanek Concentration Camp in what he vowed would be his final visit. Another interactive experience that was quite exciting was THE ARGOS FILE (Artists/Directed by: Josema Roig, Joshua Rubin), a 3-minute-and-30-second live action 360˚ video. Lastly, we experienced the video game-like SNATCH VR by artists/director by Rafael Pavón, which features an all-star cast.

Here’s an overview of the VR experiences that we took for a spin:

THE LAST GOODBYE (Artists/Directed by Gabo Arora and Ari Palitz) takes you on a moving and emotional documentary-style tour of Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter’s return to the Majdanek Concentration Camp in July of 2016. It was shot on location in Poland and for this project Pinchas set out to confront the pain of losing his family. But unexpectedly along the way, he discovered a new hope for the future of mankind. You are able to walk alongside Pinchas as he recounts his story of perseverance and, for a moment, borrow from his courage.


THE LAST GOODBYE VR Installation | Artists/Directed by Gabo Arora and Ari Palitz

As I entered the Holocaust survivor’s world, with the help of VR goggles, I was able to virtually walk around the facility filled with showers, a room full of dirty bunk beds and the outer grounds of the camp, as well as examine the various objects from the inside out. Gutter narrates the story as you experience it. It felt amazing, as if I was seeing it live. Director Gabo Arora did actually go with the subject to the concentration camp and told Dig In that he “dedicated ten months of his life” to this project. THE LAST GOODBYE VR experience was created in association with USC’s Shoah Foundation, whose mission stands to record and archive the testimonies of living survivors, with the aid of advancing technologies.

THE ARGOS FILE (Artists/Directed by: Josema Roig, Joshua Rubin) brings us to the year 2034, in which 1.6 billion people have a cutting-edge brain implant called the MNEMO that allows them to record, relive and share their memories.

Production of THE ARGOS FILE | Artists/Directed by: Josema Roig, Joshua Rubin

Production of THE ARGOS FILE | Artists/Directed by: Josema Roig, Joshua Rubin

It features a very futuristic and hip environment of an underground party and youth that use advanced digital technologies to get inside the heads of people to solve crimes. When one puts on the VR headset you become a Memory Investigator for the NCTF (Neuro Crimes Task Force) and it becomes your job to solve murders by entering the memories of the dead. The live action 360˚ video allows you to turn around in all directions and watch different characters in action, standing and moving around the room.

Lastly, we checked out SNATCH VR (Artists/Directed by Rafael Pavón), which contains an all-star cast: Rupert Grint, Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick, Skins’ Luke Pasqualino, and Scream Queens’ Lucien Laviscount, who were each filmed on separate days.

SNATCH VR | Artists/Directed by Rafael Pavón | Courtesy of Future Lighthouse

SNATCH VR | Artists/Directed by Rafael Pavón | Courtesy of Future Lighthouse

Produced with Future Lighthouse, the six-minute immersive experience transports you into the original Crackle series Snatch, which follows a group of on-the-rise young hustlers in London, who are thrust into the dangerous, high-stakes world of organized crime. This was much like a video game in that it forced you to be alert and move quickly in order to skillfully operate a PS4 console to open a vault filled with diamonds using a secret code, that you need to crack before the cops come running.

About the author

Cindy Maram

Cindy Maram is Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Dig In Magazine. She is an accredited film journalist for Cannes Film Festival in the South of France, Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival and CAAMFest, as well as fashion & style photographer/blogger for London Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week, professional sports photographer/writer and art critic. She is a writer, vlogger & social media community manager possessing a B.A from UC Davis and a M.A. in Mass Communications + Popular Culture Studies emphasis in Film/Marketing/Writing from Cal State Fullerton.

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