To commemorate seven decades of promoting cinema and screen culture in the country, the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) inaugurated the Extended Reality (XR) Commission. Funded with an AU$80,000 grant by filmmaker and philanthropist Ling Ang, the commission is set to award a MIFF XR entry that features an XR-based immersive experience highlighting the history and culture of Australia’s cinematic industry.
Embracing Transformations and Innovations
One of the oldest film festivals in the world and the largest in Australia, MIFF plays an integral role in promoting the cinematic history and culture of Melbourne, Australia, and the rest of the world. Held annually, it runs for 17 days and showcases local and global films of various genres including shorts, documentaries, and feature films.
Since it was launched in the 1950s, MIFF has continually embraced transformations and innovations in the industry. In 2016, it introduced a VR program that furthered the adoption of new technologies in the cinematic world. This year, the program was rebranded as MIFF XR with extended reality encompassing virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality.
A New Perspective
MIFF XR is an Australian-first fully digital platform that is accessible without any VR equipment. The platform is free to use and available globally. XR platform users gather on a virtual Swanston Street to join a digital version of The Capitol Theater.
Alongside the rebranding of the platform, the XR Commission was launched to encourage Australian creators to present their stories and creative work within the virtual space. It endeavors to connect creators from across the globe and enable them to reach a new generation of global audiences.
A filmmaker and artist herself, Ang immensely values the industry and aspires to help artists build a collective language of storytelling. By helping fund the XR Commission, Ang is paving the way for other artists “to tell histories from a new perspective and to explore the challenges of today’s world in new ways.”
“I want Australian creators to be in dialogue with their international peers and I want audiences across the globe to be challenged in new and exciting ways,” Ang said in a press release shared with ARPost.
Submissions for XR Commission Are Open
The AU$80,000 grant from Ang will be awarded for the creation of an immersive XR work that highlights Melbourne and MIFF’s contribution to its cinematic history and culture. Australian artists from all disciplines can submit their applications from October 21 to November 18. The XR Commission accepts applications from digital media, visual art, theatre, filmmaking, game development, or other disciplines, as long as they adhere to the selection criteria.
All applications will be assessed by MIFF XR Programmers. Then a panel of judges comprised o the MIFF Artistic Director, XR Programmers, and Ang will select the shortlist. Shortlisted applicants can expect notifications of their entries on November 25. The winning project will be featured and granted its world premiere at the 70th-anniversary event of MIFF to be held from August 4 to 21 next year.
Extending Moving Images Into the Future
Indeed, there is so much to look forward to in 2022 and beyond. XR technologies will revolutionize the world of cinema, filmmaking, and other forms of media. With the inauguration of the MIFF XR Commission, we can expect to see Melbourne and the rest of Australia at the forefront of the future of the cinematic world.