Busan International Film Festival operates the largest virtual reality theatre in Asia during the festival and it is also the first film festival in Korea to use VR devices in order to take the cinematography to another level. This shows that virtual reality has become more and more popular not only in terms of games, but also in cinematography.
People can enjoy the festival until October 21st. Visitors who watch the VR movies are seated on special chairs which gives them the possibility to view the movies in every direction. Seven booths featuring the Galaxy Gear VR and Oculus Rift have been installed on the first floor of the center. There are 23 VR movies out of a total of 36 movies that are running.
“This film festival will mark a new development for the experiment-oriented entertainment market in Korea,” said KT’s future business development team leader Ko Yoon-jeon. “We’re planning to cooperate with various industries to further develop VR cinema, based on a 5G network.”.
Some of the VR movies that are available for viewing are the Korean-American director Eugene Chung’s “Arden’s Wake”, the Korean director Gina Kim’s “Bloodless” which won for best VR story at the Venice International Film Festival last month and the French director Jerome Blanquet’s “Alteration” which features a male lead who confuses an artificial woman and his real lover.
The theater is operating in cooperation with telecom KT and VR technology company Barunson. The organisers of BIFF hope that the VR cinema will be a long-term project, not just a temporary structure for the duration of the festival.
“The merging of virtual reality technology and cinema is natural and complementary, a beneficial effort,” said actress Kang Soo-youn, BIFF’s executive director. “It is very important to think about what new horizons virtual reality can open up for Korean cinema, and which direction it will take us.”
The BIFF holds for the first time such a VR event where people can have VR experinece of 36 movies of various kind of genres, including drama, documentary and animation films, all free of charge. Also, film directors and producers tell their VR production experience and knowhow at “VR Cinema Production Case Study”.
Lee In-ah, a volunteer at BIFF this year, said the experience was intensely new and “unbelievable.”
“Once I put the VR glasses on, an entirely new world was in front of my eyes,” she said. “I knew in my head that I was just sitting in a chair, but I felt as if I were in a different place.”