The popular pastime of watching a movie is beginning to have a new meaning. Filmmaker Emiliano Ruprah has reached beyond just watching and has broken into telling stories through virtual reality. Snake River, Emiliano tells us, is the first virtual reality movie. This fully immersive heist film integrates the audience with five mercenaries that are hired to retrieve a stolen biological weapon. After being captured by a highly unstable Russian mobster, they must piece together what went wrong, and who, if anyone, is telling the truth.
This film was shot 360 degrees with a special camera and rig, and it provides a panoramic motion image that is then stitched together in post-production. The story is experienced through a headset worn by the viewer and allows them to be engrossed in the film without the option to look away from the screen. Initially a thesis project, Snake River was produced in 2 months with the help of extensive research, funding and technical support in partnership with GXM.
This 30 minute film experiment has opened doors into the future of filmmaking. Ruprah is fascinated by the unique opportunity of “integrating people and entertainment,” and is eager to continue this form of storytelling in spite of the financial and technologically advanced challenges that come along with virtual reality. Although Ruprah feels we’re still “building a cinematic language,” the potential of 360 degree filmmaking is growing closer to becoming a reality in the near future.
Distribution for this type of film has its challenges, but Ruprah is excited to be able to share this innovative, artistic experiment. DCIFF is proud to join with Ruprah to present the virtual reality film experience at this year’s festival. Join us on Friday, Feb 27th for Happy Hour from 6-8pm Navy Heritage Center, Archives Metro and all-day Saturday, Feb 28th from 2-7pm (District Architecture Center at Archives or Gallery Place Metro) to try this out ($5 donation requested).
Don’t just go to the movies, experience a different reality.