Several members of the VR Docs team were very excited to visit the Venice film festival last month for the premiere of Victoria Mapplebeck's "The Waiting Room: VR". This piece, commissioned by the VR documentary encounters project was shown alongside some of the most important works of the year, and was shortlisted in the linear competition.
With several seasoned VR film festival goers in the team it was nevertheless the first time that most of us would experience the delights of the Venice International Film Festival, [28 August to 7 September 2019] the oldest film festival in the world and one of the ‘big three’, alongside the Cannes Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival. We made the most of our time there.
Over two full days, we had a jam packed schedule of VR viewing on the dedicated VR Island, barely pausing to take in a cold drink at the onsite refreshment area or to wonder at which film stars occupied the helicopters flying above on the way to their own premieres.
We talked avidly to producers, artists, and colleagues. We took in panels (including one featuring Victoria herself), experienced live dance and painting. We threw ourselves into the VR festival with all the amazing sights, sounds and smells that it offered. We discussed at length our favourites and made plans for the next day's viewings, each of us keen to see the others recommendations.
Apart from the Waiting Room of course, our favourites included Porton Down, Gloomy Eyes and A Linha.
All in all, it was an extremely valuable and memorable experience for us all - we loved every minute of it!