“VR to Go”, developed by the pavilion’s Montreal partner Phi, gives visitors the option to rent an easy-to-use headset to see select works at home. As Luxembourg Film Fund director Guy Daleiden explained during a Friday press conference, the headset functions in and of itself, the films already integrated, thereby requiring no connection, e.g., to a laptop, during a Friday press conference.
Users can rent the headset online for €20 for a Friday-Monday or Tuesday-Thursday rental period with pick up and drop off at Neimënster. Note than an upfront deposit of €200 is required in advance to cover any incidentals.
The solution was developed by Phi just over half a year ago and has been since used in Paris, Daleiden explained, while Luxembourg is the third site to launch it. Several US cities have already expressed interest in the headsets as well.
In between uses, of course, the headsets are also cleaned and dried in a UV disinfection device.
“We hope it’s the last time we have to do it this way,” said Ainhoa Achutegui, director of Neimënster, which is the pavilion partner for the second year in a row. Last year’s edition received around 3,300 visitors but had to be cut short due to the arrival of covid-19 in the grand duchy, although she added there had been positive feedback for both the films as well as the on-site installations.
Some of the virtual or augmented reality options that were on last year’s programme will make it on this year’s as well, in some instances because they simply didn’t get their fair chance to be seen. A total of 13 films are part of the lineup.
Among them include Jan Kounen’s “Ayahuasca (Kosmik Journey)”, co-produced with Luxembourg’s a_Bahn, as well as documentaries “Daughters of Chibok”, focused on the Boko Haram kidnapping aftermath, and “Everest VR”, which takes viewers straight into a Himalayan avalanche.
360-degree films are included in the programme including the aforementioned "Ayahuasca" as well as "Under the Skin" by João Inada/Tarantula Luxembourg and "Putain de Foment Humain" by Karolina Markiewicz and Pascal Piron/Don Pedro Productions.
"BattleScar", which took home best immersive experience prize at last year's LFF, will also have a place at this year's edition.
The VR pavilion at Neimënster is part of the Luxembourg City Film Festival, which runs 4-14 March at various cinemas and venues in the capital city--and this year, of course, also digitally. For a complete list of VR films and experiences, visit the festival website.
For VR headset rentals visit vrtogoluxembourg.eventbrite.co.uk, set to go live by 1 March.