The 2023 Venice Film Festival VR Winners

The Venice Film Festival's Immersive category has become a significant part of the festival, highlighting the best in virtual reality (VR) content. Beginning in 2017, the category has hosted multi-award winning productions from leaders in the XR industry, and has only continued to grow since its inception.

For the 80th Venice International Film Festival in 2023, the Venice Immersive category celebrated outstanding achievements in VR with several awards.

Adjudicated by a jury that included Singing Chen (Taiwanese filmmaker and music composer) as Jury President, alongside German Heller (Argentinian animator and producer) and Pedro Harres (Brazilian director, animator, screenwriter, and multimedia artist), a total of 44 projects from 25 countries were presented, 28 of which were entered for competition.

Grand Prize Winners:

Venice Immersive Grand Prize

  • Recognizing the most outstanding overall VR project was awarded to "Songs for a Passerby" by Celine Daemen, a 25-minute immersive experience from the Netherlands, exploring the intimate and ephemeral nature of street performances through virtual reality

Venice Immersive Special Jury Prize

  • Went to "Flow" by Adriaan Lokman, a 15-minute collaborative VR project from the Netherlands and France merging abstract art with digital media to create a visually captivating immersive experience designed to challenge the viewer’s perception of space and music.

Venice Immersive Achievement Prize

  • Was given to "Empereur" by Marion Burger and Ilan Cohen. The piece, which offers an immersive journey into the complexities of leadership and historical narrative, blending VR with a rich storyline that invites viewers to engage deeply with themes of power, decision-making, and the human aspect behind historical figures was given the award in recognition of its significant contributions to the advancement of immersive media.

For the full list of presented works, both entered for competition and not, click here.

The continual inclusion of VR categories at prestigious film festivals like Venice marks an essential recognition of immersive media's role in the future of storytelling and entertainment. The category will only continue to expand as more and more studios look to experiment with VR to tell deeper immersive stories.

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