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FORUM: RIGA IFF Goes VR — Inspirational Lectures & Hackathon

In cooperation with interactive media production company Story Hub and start-up community holders TechHub Riga, RIGA IFF is opening doors to Virtual Reality (VR). Our common goal is to break the invisible wall between traditional filmmakers and VR content creators by sharing tips, advices and remarkable case studies that have the potential to inspire the crowd to start experimenting and developing ideas in the fast developing VR environment.

Inspirational talks focused on educational content for children and youth will include a set of topical updates on the VR world, its storytelling and valuable case studies, featuring savvy speakers and bold ideas.

These lectures are organised as a part of the Cross Motion project funded by the EU.

To put the newly gained expertise into action, we invite you to challenge yourself and take part in RIGA IFF Hackathon. Participants, forming teams, will be able to work on children’s and youth VR content, providing creative solutions.

Schedule

The Lectures

Introduction in the World of VR and VR as a Learning Tool

Wim Forceville

An inspirational introduction in the world of VR and answers to questions like: why is this environment so disruptive for the framed media? Wim Forceville will give an insight into the VR application as a learning tool and guide us through some very exciting case studies that he has produced. He is a creative producer and director in immersive media. Wim focuses on producing high quality VR experiences that show a social relevance. He is also affiliated to the LUCA School of Arts, Ghent (Belgium), where he works as a researcher and lecturer.

Creating and Prototyping for VR

Alexander Herrmann

A hands on presentation on how to create a VR experience. Starting out with very simple techniques and tools Alexander Herrmann will also project more difficult workflow through two case studies of his recent work: “Cabinets of Wonder”, a project about the imaginary world of children, and ‘Future Diaries’, a sci-fi transmedia project.

He is the founder and head of development of Expanding Focus GmbH – a Germany based VR production house specialised in the conception, production and distribution of VR experiences and cinematic VR content. He works in the fields of documentary, fiction, installations, music and games.

Why VR? Making With Meaning

Tessa Ratuszynska Price and Fiona Frances Nicholson

Artist collective’s The OthVRs approach to VR and what they find exciting about the industry, including predictions about the future of the medium relating to how it differs from the traditional cinema and how 360˚ filmmaking uses theatre and installation art techniques as well as technical skills. Tessa Ratuszynska Price and Fiona Frances Nicholson will present case studies that might be used in educational settings and encourage newcomers to engage in VR. The creative duo represent The OthVRs which is an open 360˚/ VR/ XR collaborative group based in Bristol. Their aim is to encourage a broader and inclusive spectrum of individuals within this emerging media by democratising access to materials, funding and resources.

Emotions in Interactive Virtual Experiences

Wim Wouters

There is a gap between the emotional experience then watching a movie and playing a video game. There are certain emotions that work better in games. Fear is one of them. But also pride, guilt and anger work quite well. On the other hand love, sadness and more empathic emotions are stronger in movies. Both mediums seem to draw emotions from a different pallet. Wim Wouters will open up some new emotional doors to explore in the world of VR. He is digital product designer with more than 15 years experience in designing, developing and producing games and interactive installations. He is co-founder the Belgian Game Association and is now part of Poppins & Wayne, where he explores technology and story to make imagination come to life.

Moderator

Reinis Kalnaellis

Currently a student of Virtual Reality MA program at Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences. After graduating from the Baltic Film & Media School in Tallinn, Estonia and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic, Reinis Kalnaellis kickstarted his career as award-winning animation director. His lately recognized international filmography titles include Singing HUGO and His Incredible Adventures, The Golden Horse and Funny Alphabet among others. He is currently working on his animated feature film projects Apple Pie, the King and I, produced by Rija Films and Paul Thiltges Distributions.

RIGA IFF Hackathon

This can be your first step to mold together cinema and VR through the guidance from industry expert lectors/mentors and practical teamwork alongside other creative and technical people from various fields. Come with your own idea or join a team.

We invite students and professionals primarily from these areas:

  • Film (directors, writers, artists, actors, etc.)
  • Visuals (graphic artists, 3D modelers, illustrators, animators, etc.)
  • Digital (developers, game designers, UX designers, etc.)
  • Sound (musicians, composers, sound engineers, etc.)

Teams will be equipped with Samsung Gear VR headsets as well as Galaxy S9 mobile phones. Awards for the winning team will be provided with generous support of SAMSUNG as well as Cross Motion. SAMSUNG will provide the winning team with Samsung Gear VR headsets and Galaxy S9 mobile phones. Cross Motion will offer an opportunity to travel to an essential European VR networking event.

Practical info

  • Friday lectures are optional, but we strongly recommend listening to those to better prepare for practical work.
  • Friday Networking & RIGA IFF FORUM award event is optional, but we recommend using that as a chance to formulate project ideas and find the best teammates.
  • Mentors will provide advice on various authoring tools and techniques to get you started and will help you resolve challenges during the journey.
  • We will provide shared areas for work and some spartan sleep if needed. Please take your sleeping bag.
  • We will provide some snacks.
  • Our friends will provide limited amount of tech – Samsung Gear VR headsets, 360 cameras, photo cameras. List of available tech will be extended, stay tuned!
  • Bring your own computer and work equipment.

Mentors

Wim Forceville

Wim Forceville is creative producer. Lector and researcher at Luca School Of Arts in Belgium. Wim has a 15 years career as creative director in a cross disciplinary media company. His favorite quote: the project dictates the technology. If the technology doesn't exist, invent it.

Alexander Herrmann

Alex is general manager and head of development at expanding focus, a content studio for VR experiences and format creation or as he likes to put it: a playground for virtual spaces. He used to work as project consultant at the Institute of Animation at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in the department of Interactive Media. He is passionate about innovative entertainment formats which he already discovered theoretically and practically during his studies of dramaturgy, Multi Media Art and Production. Besides this he is consulting broadcasting companies and online portals in matters of digital enhancement, interactivity and format creation such as Universal and Red Bull Media.

Tessa Ratuszynska Price

Tessa is an Artist and Filmmaker whose work explores immersive installation, documentary and interactive art theory. She works with Virtual Reality and other ‘new technologies’ as tools toward effecting and immersive audience experience. She is a producer and creative prototyper for VR, MR and XR projects and teaches 360 filmmaking and VR critique.

Fiona Frances Nicholson

Fiona is a 360 / VR Filmmaker and enthusiast, hooked on narrative and first-person POV in VR, AR and Games. Fiona has worked with the award-winning VR company Surround Vision on their documentary content, and often will be found working with Sky VR on programmes such as Revolution, AJ v Parker and Premier League VR. Shoots like these make Fiona versed on the ins and outs of large-scale, high-pressure and high production shoots. Fiona is interested in VR's ability to reveal the neurodivergent experience and to give voices to marginalised practitioners and individuals.

Wim Wouters

Digital product designer with more than 15 years experience in designing, developing and producing games and interactive installations. He is co-founder the Belgian Game Association and is now part of Poppins & Wayne, where he explores technology and story to make imagination come to life.

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