The 57th New York Film Festival wrapped up with our annual Convergence section. The eighth edition of the annual program delved into innovative modes of storytelling via interactive experiences, featuring Virtual Reality, Immersive Cinema, game play, and more. Check out photo highlights above.
This year’s Convergence featured three VR programs as well as special events that showcased today’s wide-ranging landscape of immersive storytelling, featuring virtual reality and 360-degree filmmaking from around the globe. The lineup included the World Premiere of The Raven, a wholly original approach to storytelling combining state-of-the art augmented audio, interactive theater, and elements of game play. In honor of the 170th anniversary of the death of Edgar Allan Poe, the innovative experience guides attendees through a completely transformed historical 5th Avenue mansion where they will uncover details about Poe’s life, legacy, and the mysterious circumstances of his death. The lineup also featured the World Premiere of Holy Night, a Rashomon-esque interactive iPad examination of the United States opioid crisis through the lens of three characters affected by addiction in small town America.
Program One featured the Anthropocene Project, an ambitious three-film Virtual Reality documentary exploring the ways in which humans have permanently altered our environment, from the Apuan Alps to the Nairobi National Park. Programs Two and Three featured a mix of narrative and documentary VR films, many of which use the medium to present human rights issues facing our world today, including Ghost Fleet, a cinema vérité documentary that exposes human trafficking on a fishing vessel off the coast of Vietnam; Send Me Home, a powerful documentary centered on a man wrongfully imprisoned for murder for four decades; and the World Premiere of Homeless: A Los Angeles Story, a multifaceted exploration of the homeless epidemic in L.A. Other highlights from Programs Two and Three included the World Premiere of inventive experimental film Eyelydian; Your Spiritual Temple Sucks, a playfully bizarre portrait of a man in crisis; as well as SXSW Virtual Cinema competition selections: the moving Metro Viente,which follows the sexual awakening of a disabled woman in Argentina; and Last Whispers, a beautiful meditation on what we lose when native languages disappear.
Convergence is programmed by Matt Bolish with assistance/support from Rachel Kastner. See more details about the lineup here.