As announced a couple of months ago (see the news), La Biennale di Venezia has inaugurated the first competition for virtual reality (VR) content, entitled Venice Virtual Reality. The selection of the competition includes 22 VR experiences that will have either their world or their international premiere, and will compete for three awards: Best VR Film, the Grand VR Jury Prize, and the Best VR Creativity Award. The competition will be held from 31 August-5 September at the VR Theatre (Palazzo del Casinò, Lido di Venezia).

Among the selected films are The Deserted by acclaimed director Tsai Ming-Liang and La Camera Insabbiata by avant-garde artist and director Laurie Anderson and Huang Hsin-Chien, which will both have their world premieres. Immersive journalism expert Nonny de la Peña will present her Greenland Melting, while the expanded version of Penrose Studios’ third film, Arden’s Wake, and the 360-degree experience of SKY Italy’s successful Gomorrah series are also competing. The Last Goodbye, a testimony of the tragedy of the Holocaust, by award-winning filmmaker Gabo Arora, was at Tribeca earlier this year, as was Draw Me Close by Canadian playwright-director Jordan Tannahill, which explores his relationship with his mother in the wake of her terminal cancer diagnosis. Finally, The Argos File by Josema Roig is an interactive, live-action VR series, integrating cinema-quality visual effects and 360-degree stereoscopic footage, and the Danish production Separate Silences by David Wedel is a hybrid cinematic VR experience.

The 22 films selected for the first Venice Virtual Reality are:

The Deserted – Tsai Ming-Liang (Taiwan)
La Camera Insabbiata - Laurie Anderson, Huang Hsin-Chien (USA)
Greenland Melting – Nonny de la Peña (USA)
Arden’s Wake (Expanded) – Eugene YK Chung (USA)
The Last Goodbye – Gabo Arora (USA)
Draw Me Close, Chapters 1-2 – Jordan Tannahill (Canada/UK)
The Argos File – Josema Roig (USA)
Gomorrah VR – We Own the Streets – Enrico Rosati (Italy)
Separate Silences – David Wedel (Denmark)
Melita – Nicolás Alcalá (USA)
My Name Is Peter Stillman – Lysander Ashton, Leo Warner (UK)
Alice, the Virtual Reality Play – Mathias Chelebourg (France)
Bloodless – Gina Kim (South Korea/USA)
Nefertiti – Richard Mills, Kim-Leigh Pontin (UK)
Dispatch – Edward Robles (USA/UK)
Proxima – Mathieu Pradat (France)
I Saw the Future – Francois Vautier (France)
In the Pictures – Qing Shao (China)
Snatch VR Heist Experience – Rafael Pavón, Nicolás Alcalá (USA)
Free Whale – Zhang Peibin (China)
Nothing Happens – Un Kranot, Michelle Kranot (Denmark/France)
The Dream Collector – Mi Li (China)