At the VRLA Spring Expo earlier this year, Karl Krantz, the Founder of SVVR, was thoughtful enough to introduce me to René Pinnell, Founder & CEO of VR agency Kaleidoscope. Similar to how Vrideo had launched our Vrideo Meetup events here in Los Angeles, René had spearheaded the VR Cinema Meetup in San Francisco. Not surprisingly, René and I hit it off and continued our conversations beyond that day at VRLA. We both shared a vision for bringing together and supporting the emerging community of immersive video producers. It was only natural for us to look for an opportunity to collaborate.
That opportunity arrived earlier this summer, when René excitedly contacted me regarding a ten-city VR film festival he was looking to get off the ground. Within minutes of his walking me through his ambitious plans, I knew that I wanted Vrideo to be involved in a major way. A few days later, we formally partnered with René and Kaleidoscope, helping to make the first-ever VR film festival a reality.
Fast forward a couple months, and we’ve already completed the first leg of the tour, which took us through Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. The events have gone off without a hitch, much thanks to René; his amazing wife, Selena; and the great teams of volunteers we’ve had in each city. Not even wildfires filling the Portland skies with ashes or violent storms causing a citywide power outage in Vancouver could derail us!
The tour highlights the work of roughly 20 exceptional filmmakers who are defining the language of this new medium. Each date features talks with a rotating cast of these filmmakers. We have an absurd number of Gear VR headsets on hand, generously donated by Samsung, allowing attendees to experience the work of all of the festival’s auteurs. Also present are fellow sponsors AltspaceVR and Condition One, and yours truly, Vrideo, showing off the latest and greatest products that we’ve all been working on. The tour itself has garnered national coverage from Variety, Wired, and The New York Times, among other publications.
We’re currently gearing up for the rest of the festival – San Francisco (tomorrow!), Los Angeles (the first night of Oculus Connect), Boston, Montreal, Toronto, New York, and Austin. Many of these dates are almost – if not already – sold out, so we encourage folks to get their tickets before it’s too late. Along with other members of the Vrideo team, Kuangwei and I will be in attendance for all the remaining dates. Please come by and say hi!
Finally, if you can’t make it in person, be sure check out the portal we just launched for the film festival, featuring several of the festival’s films, with more on the way.