Russian VR Seasons: Virtual Reality Festival in Moscow 2017

This week I went to my first VR film festival in Moscow. 
Some facts straight away:

  • Headsets used: Samsung Gear VR (all synchronized).
    • Location: multiplex “October”, a custom conference room.
    • Seats available: around 20, spinning around.
    • Price: $5 for a half an hour session, several short films.

It was a “big event in a small room”. Various performances each day, but always sold-out. For most of the people who came on this event it was their first VR experience ever. Russian VR Seasons being a part of a widely known Moscow International Film Festival definitely attracted even more attention of the press and visitors.

Russian VR filmmakers themselves were the organizers of Russian VR Seasons: the initial goal was to keep promoting Russian VR production to international markets, right after the success at the 70th International Cannes Film Festival with “Les VR Saisons Russes”, also with the 360 Gear VR helmets involved.

Here’s the trailer:

Now let’s explore some of the highlights of the festival.
I chose the ones with 360 videos available online:

The spacewalker VR

4 min. 22 sec., animation, Russia, 2017 
Director: Alexander Gorokhov
Production: CGF Studio, Bazelevs

VR short film lets you experience the first human walking in space The film immerses audiences in the experience of Leonov and his fellow cosmonaut Pavel Belyaev during their flight on the Voshod-2 on March 18–19, 1965.

Between Petrov and Vodkin

3 min. 40 sec, animation, Russia, 2017
Directors: Denis Semionov, Natalia Severina

The first part of the immersive trilogy “Cultural revolution” focuses on the year of 1912. Through the history of one painting, the VR-movie tells about the highlights of that year, which have taken place on the cultural scene of the Russian Empire. Thanks to new technologies in cinema production, a viewer gets an opportunity to find himself in retro footage of the pre-revolutionary Russia and then to immerse into the most prominent picture of Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin “Bathing of a red horse”.

VRability: Maxim Kiselev

6 min. 23 sec., documentary, Russia, 2016
Director: Georgy Molodtsov
Producers: Georgy Molodtsov, Stanislav Kolesnik, Dmitry Agutin
Production: VRability

Maxim Kiselev is the only professional figure ice wheelchair skater. In this experience you’ll be able to learn, what does it mean to ice skating on a wheelchair and be both an audience and a participant of this performance thanks to Virtual Reality 360° technology.

Elbrus VR

10 min., documentary, Russia, 2016
Director: Maxim Nikonov
Production: LenVR

Elbrus VR is the first virtual reality documentary about Elbrus climbing — the tallest mountain in Europe. What makes them struggle in pain, exhaustion, bad weather? What makes them want to spend hours of walking just to stand on the top for a couple of minutes? Join the team to find out.

Space 360

Series, documentary, Russia, 2016
Production: RT, Russian space agency Roscosmos, rocket and space corporation Energia

“For the first time in history, we’re filming a panoramic video from the station. It means you’ll see everything we see here, with your own eyes. That’s to say, you’ll be able to feel like real cosmonauts” — Borisenko to RT.

And, from what I saw, let me tell you…

VR is coming to Oscars. It’s just the matter of time.