The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival begins next week in New York and prolific virtual reality (VR) content creators Felix & Paul Studios will be premiering their latest short film, Gymnasia to guests.
Created in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada, Gymnasia is a six-minute cinematic VR experience which blends 3D 360-degree video, stop motion animation, miniatures and computer-generated graphics (CGI).
Produced by Felix & Paul Studios‘ Stéphane Rituit and Dana Dansereau (NFB) and directed by the award-winning duo Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski (Clyde Henry Productions), the experience is billed as a weird dark dream, where viewers step into the stillness of an abandoned school and enter a place where the ghostly ephemera of a lost childhood await them.
“We are honoured to once again premiere our work and be part of the official selection at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival,” said Paul Raphaël, co-founder and creative director of Felix & Paul Studios in a statement. “We collaborated with Chris, Maciek and Patrick on our very first VR experience, Strangers with Patrick Watson, so it was both fascinating and rewarding to see how much the medium has evolved in the short five years since our studio produced that inaugural VR piece.”
Gymnasia isn’t just about donning a VR headset and watching a film for a few minutes. Being shown in Tribeca’s Virtual Arcade Gymnasia is a theatrical event, designed to distort visitors perception of scale right from the start by integrating life-size puppets into the environment. This was produced and installed by Montreal’s Phi Centre, supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Niepodległa programme.
“For us, creating VR has always been as much about the neuroscience of this fresh medium as it is about art theory. Indeed, in no other art form are aesthetics and science so aligned,” said Chris Lavis, co-director of Gymnasia. “The Gymnasia installation at Tribeca will be an engaging and surreal experience for festival-goers and our hope is that this unique installation will completely upend their sense of scale and reality.”
Gymnasia might be premiering at Tribeca but VR fans will also be able to watch the film soon, with a release scheduled to take place via the Oculus Store on 26th April. For further Felix & Paul updates, keep reading VRFocus.