Experience 'Expanded Reality' at the BFI Film Fest

Multi-sensory art.

Really makes you feel something.

And as a medium, it’s only growing – so it’s no surprise that immersive and mixed reality film is going to make up an entire dedicated section of the BFI London Film Festival when it rolls into town this October.

They’re calling it ‘Expanded Reality’ or XR, an overarching term that encompasses all kinds of moving, visual artwork that (quite literally) takes film into a new dimension. Taking place in various venues around the Southbank, from the BFI itself to the industrial railway tunnels beneath Waterloo station, there are an impressive 18 different experiences on offer, including:

  • Noah’s Raft, a VR documentary from lauded Nigerian filmmaker Joel Kachi Benson that transports you to Makoko, a floating slum where an education worker is determined to transform his community;
  • Eternal Return, a mixed reality experience fusing dance, music and recorded speech where physical objects come to life in your virtual surroundings;
  • Atomic/Ghost in the Atom, a 360º film recorded in an underground nuclear waste repository in Finland;
  • Captured, an unsettling digital installation that takes a 3D photograph of your face and slaps it onto an AI avatar, who – along with your fellow audience members – joins a virtual mob that’s entirely out of your control;

Eulogy in its past location

  • Container, an immersive film that throws light onto the persisting forms of modern slavery;
  • Eulogy, a multisensory experience in the pitch dark from pioneering company Darkfield;
  • Future Rites, a VR communal dance in the Rambert ballet studios, in which your movements will be ‘autotuned’ by professional dancers to create an animated group performance that unfolds within your headset; and
  • A Life In Pieces, an immersive animation bringing to life the sketches and diary entries of Stanley Hayami, a Japanese-American teenager who was taken to an American internment camp during WWII.

Of course, the wider film festival has plenty of other things vying for your attention, too. There’ll be star-studded premieres of brand new films like The Harder They Fall, Jeymes Samuel’s Western starring Idris Elba; a special showing of the first two episodes of Succession’s third series; a Surprise Film screening; and of course a whole roster of ground-breaking new features, shorts and documentaries from critically acclaimed film-makers around the world…

…but this is virtually the best part.


NOTE: The BFI London Film Festival takes place from 6th – 17th October at various venues around the Southbank. To find out more, and book tickets, head HERE.

Main image: Inhibition

Love film? Check out our pick of London’s loveliest cinemas.

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