RiFF goes VR-Cinema

RiFF goes VR-CinemaDescription of project: “River College Virtual Reality”

This project “River College Virtual Reality” seeks to offer high quality cinematographic culture through a series of coordinated training, production and informative events which will serve to create a multimedia product that will valorise the artistic inheritance (the patrimony) of the Paduan area by focusing attention on “Padova Urbs Picta”, which is currently a candidate for inclusion in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites: this “site” could be further extended to include the “Isola dei Musei” (literally a Museum Island) and the “Parco delle Mura” (City Walls Park). The project will explore and adopt the most innovative and effective state of the art Virtual Reality (VR) technologies and will adopt a glocal approach, linking the experience(s) and traditions of the area with both national and international contributions. Virtual Reality will allow us to carry out faithful (accurate) 360° reproductions of the historical and cultural patrimony which will then be published and disseminated through a variety of media and platforms. VR cinema is not the same as the medium, cinema, but is, rather, the place where these experiences (shows/performances) can be transformed into real experiences. Only too often the public is denied access to sites of historical interest, or simply the passage of time and inadequate maintenance means that they cannot be truly, or correctly, seen and understood by a non-expert observer. However, VR technology is able to construct replicas of such sites which can be easily disseminated and consulted by anyone.

Last year, at the US Sundance Festival, the former US vice president Al Gore extolled the advantages of virtual reality for environmental themes when he presented a mini documentary “Melting Ice”, filmed at 360° in Greenland. Virtual reality is not a film: it is a real and proper world in itself.


Virtual Reality has the potential to revolutionise various entertainment sectors, ranging from industrial production to marketing. The tourism industry too, can benefit from VR: offering a VR Helmet in order to travel instantaneously to any tourist attraction or resort.

The main objectives “River College Virtual Reality” has set for itself are:

– to identify, and innovate, cultural opportunities offered by the area through the use of the newest 360°multimedial technologies;

– to have a positive impact on social cohesion within the local community, through encouraging all citizens to take part in free events and by offering moments for a collective view, through dedicated Virtual Reality, of the area’s artistic patrimony as well as by creating opportunities for meetings and debate between experts from cinema, young people and citizens in general;

– to offer opportunities for advanced training and for the development and diffusion of skills and competences within Virtual Reality Cinema, reaching out, through workshops, to younger people in particular.

– to stimulate and empower young people and enable, assist, in the discovery of new authors, and to valorise them, as well as to promote local Virtual Reality Cinema productions.

Modes of intervention

The “River College Virtual Reality” project is a three-year project that will, over time, weave close relationships between workshops, laboratories, meetings, stages, reviews and exhibitions all of which will work towards creating and developing the competences required in order to produce a Virtual Reality film. A maximum of 24 participants will be selected, on the basis of their curriculum, after publication of a call for applications, the number of participants is limited so as to ensure that teaching quality will be maintained and to permit a workshop / laboratory approach based on learning by doing, and on creating good, direct, teacher / student relations. All meetings and workshops will be held in the Italian Language.

Date / Place Timeline

31st August 2018 – Presentation of the program and Open Call for Applications, free and open to under 40’s.

30th November 2018– Deadline for applications.

31st December 2018 – Publication of names of participants selected and creation of the diverse teams

First Phase

This will consist of the first technical and cultural training workshop in the sphere of Cine Turismo (Cinema Tourism), which will be held in Padua from 22 to 26 January 2019.

Work will commence immediately after the 24 participants, from Schools, Universities and from the world of multimedia work, have been divided into 4 teams – 6 in each team. In order to develop the project from a multiplicity of aspects, the teams will work with a group of experts: an art historian, a screenwriter, a director of photography, an informatics engineer and a producer/director. After this first workshop, the four teams will have until 1 June 2019, to produce a teaser of their project.

Second Phase

The second workshop will be dedicated to production aspects of the films selected through and for the River Corto (River Shorts) competition and will take place in Padua from 22 to 25 October 2019. Each team will have a dedicated tutor and a team of professionals to turn to for advice when working on all aspects of their project. Between November 2019 and mid-June 2020, they will produce and complete their project / product. The projects / products must be consigned before 1 October 2020 so as to start the third and final phase.

Third Phase

The last workshop will be held in Padua from 8 to 12 February 2021. This workshop will concentrate on Post Production aspects and will also study, in depth, the impact that Virtual Reality has, and has had, on the market and on how work methods and business models are evolving, changing. The event will include the Premières of the completed projects and give information about how to present them at various international Film Festivals and competitions.

Context and target public

Activities will seek to reach two different targets in particular: young people under 40, who will be offered the opportunity for advanced training and artistic production (workshops); and to all local citizens with, however, particular attention paid to disabled groups, who will be able to enjoy a broad cultural programme, well-structured both over time and in the ways it will be offered.

Project partners and fundraising strategies

The Associazione Culturale Researching Movies, which is proposing this cinematographic project will, as always, rely the collaboration and involvement of the expanding network of Research Institutes, International Film Festivals, Universities, Schools, other Cultural associations and companies who have, for the past 14 years, collaborated and participated in the organisation of the Association’s activities and events: The Portello River Festival, River Film Festival, River Corto, River in Città and River Anteprima.

Discussions with the University of Padova are currently underway for setting up a partnership whereby the University could host and co-organise some of the events included in the project, in particular conferences, and lectio magistralis (keynote lectures) by lecturers and professors from the University, for example, Prof. Farah Polato, Prof. Sergio Durante, Prof. Lucio Gamberini and many others.

Partners already accredited and participating in the project are:

– Traveling School (Padova – Italy)

– KINEO (Trieste – Italy)

– ANIEP (Schio – Italy)

– ILS G. Leopardi – E. Majorana (Pordenone – Italy)

– Fondazione Sardegna Film Commission (Sardegna – Italy)

– UQIDO s.r.l. (Padova – Italy)

– RM Sehstern (Berlin – Germany)

– INVR (Berlin – Germany)

– ARVIZIO (Moscow – Russia)

Tools for monitoring ongoing progress and for final assessment:

Various tools and methods will be adopted to monitor progress and check on results at each phase, as well as on final outcomes. At the end of each workshop participants will be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their satisfaction and asking them for suggestions for how activities could be improved or added to; the number of people attending public events, such as film projections, one-off conferences etc., will be counted; at conferences and lectures, heads will be counted and participants will also be asked to compile a form, distributed at the event, asking for comments and suggestions; for the workshop on ideas development and subjects, one way of assessing success will be the number of subjects presented by participants which meet the requirements set by the River Corto regulations. The success and dissemination of activities in the media will be judged on the basis of the quality and quantity of articles / publications regarding the activities of the project, these aspects will be constantly monitored (and archived) by the Association’s press office. Feedback about the level of satisfaction of both participants and public can also be drawn from social channels and networking dedicated to the events. Final evaluation of the project will be carried out based on the above-mentioned parameters and tools, these results will then be used to compare the outcomes: those expected and those obtained

Personnel involved

The overall project will be organised into four main areas: artistic direction; general coordination; organising secretariat and technical assistance, and will, overall, involve about 24 people: 1 press and communications officer; 1 image coordinator; 6 Tutors for the 3 workshops; 1 general organiser and inspector of production; 1 person in charge of casting for the Virtual Reality film; 1 director of photography, 3 camera operators, 3 assistants, 1 technical electrician and 1 sound technician (while the film is being shot); 1 audio/video editor, 1 colourist, 1 soundtrack composer, 1 graphic artist for the post production phase; and 1 person in charge of finalising the film(s).

Expected results

Between 1,000 and 1,500 participants at public events (conferences / projections) and the 24 workshop participants. The event(s) will attract visitors to Padua also because of the unique nature of the themes being dealt with. Young talents will be promoted and offered the opportunity to work with technical experts and with “Maestri” who have received awards in previous editions of the River Film Festival for their Virtual Reality productions.

The workshops (and conferences etc.) will offer young people, students and professionals in the world of Art and Cinema the opportunity to acquire the competences needed to work with 360° formats, a format which will become part of our programmes. Thus, the spirit and intention of “River College Virtual Reality,” is to offer under 40’s, interested in the art of visual narration, the chance to learn about it and do it under the best possible conditions. Another important aspect of the River College Virtual Reality project is the place where the workshops will be held: Villa Dondi dell’Orologio at Bosco di Rubano, a 17th century building, curated by the Ministero delle Belle Arti, 6 km outside Padova. The villa lies beside a lake, in a park and here, in the true spirit of the Bauhaus, students and teachers will meet and exchange ideas, skills and competences

During the project’s three-year programme, participants will acquire specific know-how regarding 360° immersive storytelling, and learn how to redefine relations between the story and the public. Students attending degree courses at the University of Padua who take part in the project as interns will be able to earn recognised credits for their final degrees.