A record number of Taiwanese virtual reality (VR) films are being shown at this year’s Venice Film Festival, with seven entries in the Venice Virtual Reality section, and one selected as one of the VR story projects.
Bodyless (失身記), by Huang Hsin-chien (黃心健), a new media artist and professor at National Chengchi University, is one of the seven entered into the interactive category of the Venice Visual Reality section.
Bodyless was based on his memories of Taiwan in the 1960s and 1970s, when it was still under martial law.
The 15-minute To the Moon (登月), the latest in a long line of Huang’s collaborations with US singer-songwriter-avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson, was selected for the out-of-competition section.
The film allows viewers to “walk on the moon surface” and “glide through space debris,” the festival’s Web site says.
Tech giant HTC has several coproductions in the festival. HTC has been commissioning original VR content production under HTC Vive Originals, as well as the 5×1 initiative, a partnership with the Golden Horse Film Academy founded by renowned filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢) that focuses on VR films.
From the 5×1 intiative are Qiu Yang’s (邱陽) O, which was entered in the “Best VR Immersive Work” category, Chiang Wei-liang’s (曾威量) Only the Mountain Remains (山行) is in the linear section of the VR competition, while Myanmar-born director Midi Z’s (趙德胤) The Making of (幕後) is in the out-of-competition section.
Jorge Tereso and Fernando Maldonado’s Gloomy Eyes is a coproduction between HTC Vive Originals and French animation studio Atlas V. It is to compete in the linear section, while another HTC Vive Original, Inori, by Japanese contemporary artist Mita Komatsu and singer-songwriter-producer Kay Huang (黃韻玲), was nominated for “Best VR Immersive Experience for interactive content.”
John Hsu’s (徐漢強) comedy Great Hoax (星際大騙局) was selected as one of the 12 VR Immersive Reality Story projects.
Taiwan has quickly assumed the leading role in VR content development largely because the nation has the freest environment for creation in Asia, former Deputy Minister of Culture Ting Hsiao-ching (丁曉菁), who now heads of the newly established Taiwan Cultural Content Agency, told a news conference in Venice on Friday.
Representative to Italy Lee Sing-ying (李新穎) told the news conference that the cultural strength of these outstanding works would help Taiwan boost its international visibility.
The 76th annual Venice Film Festival opened on Wednesday and runs through Saturday.
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