Future films: Virtual reality festival coming to Dumbo

The Brooklyn Paper
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It’s a vision of the future!

Cyber fans can get a glimpse of next-generation film-making this week in Dumbo, when the Virtual Reality Film Festival comes to town. The show’s co-founder says that the genre is so far ahead of its time, there are no words to describe it.

“Films isn’t really the right word, but we’re using it as shorthand to describe the history and lineage that we’re drawing on,” said Rene Pinnell. “We haven’t invented the right word to describe what they’re doing.”

Whatever you call it, visitors to the virtual festival must each strap on a headset for the experience. The 24 short “films,” which range from two to 20 minutes long, include a short story about farting giants, a tour through a Vincent Van Gogh-inspired landscape, and a journey to Korea’s de-militarized zone. But after each piece ends, viewers must return briefly to the real world.

“It’s kind of like an amusement park,” said Pinnell. “Each time you get to the front of the line, you get to go through the ride.”

On this ride the seats do not loop-de-loop, but they do spin in place so viewers can get a full 360-degree view of their virtual environment, he said.

Brooklyn is the ninth stop of the festival’s 10-city tour, which has included San Francisco, Portland, and Montreal. Pinnell said the show went to where the art is.

“We went to, and looked at which cities had the most active virtual reality meet-ups,” he said. “They track pretty closely to cities that have the most creative scenes in general.”

The festival has 18 films that travel from site to site. The Brooklyn stop also features six films from local artists, which Pinnell said are more reality-based than films from other cities.

“Brooklyn, and New York City in a broader sense, is more drawn to live action than animation,” he said.

Pinnell hopes the festival will nudge creative people into making next year’s festival bigger and better.

“Our biggest motivation for doing this festival is to celebrate these artists who are taking these first steps, but more that that, our goal is to inspire more people to become artists in virtual reality,” he said.

Kaleidoscope Virtual Reality Film Festival at 26 Bridge (26 Bridge St. between Plymouth and John streets in Dumbo, Oct. 6, 8–11 pm. $20 ($99 VIP).

Reach Bill Roundy at or by calling (718) 260–4507.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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