Festivals, as in all artistic disciplines, offer a very good framework in the case of Extended Realities to exhibit new ideas, concepts and works and to make them accessible to a large audience.
They are a good platform to get to know innovations and to offer the community a place for exchange and networking. Sometimes awards are presented at the festivals to recognize outstanding achievements.
With regard to XR, there are different types of festivals that provide a stage for the works. On the one hand, there are festivals organized exclusively for XR. On the other hand, there are a number of festivals that affiliate XR as one of their branches – a tendency that is often seen in recent years.
VR Ham: https://www.vrham.de
The VR HAM Festival in Hamburg bundles the contemporary work of VR artists and offers the opportunity to view all works in the fields of “Immersive Installations”, “VR Cinema” and “VR Exhibition”. Parallel to this, workshops will be offered free of charge to artists from the independent performing arts to teach them the basics. The program will be complemented by lectures highlighting different trends and techniques in the development of VR. During the Corona pandemic the event took place hybrid. Thus, it was possible to participate both on site in Hamburg’s Oberhafen, and online with or without VR glasses in the virtual festival location VRHAM! VIRTUAL.
Places Festival: https://places-festival.de
The PLACES Festival takes place annually in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, and provides a three-day setting to experience VR experiences throughout the city and listen to presentations at various locations. The festival’s motto is “testing, learning, discovering, exchanging and networking” and aims to bring together interested parties and professionals from the industry. Parallel to the exhibition, hackathons will be held to develop solutions and concepts on a named topic in small teams within a few hours. In addition, the DIVR Science Award will be presented in three categories at the festival.
Virtual Worlds Festival: https://virtualworlds-festival.com
As a partner of Filmfest München, the VIRTUAL WORLDS Festival is an international festival for artistic and narrative immersive experiences. The focus of the festival is to explore different types of immersive storytelling and to give visionaries a platform to exhibit their work. Under the motto “Off to new Adventures,” the festival aims to bring visitors into contact with new worlds and get them excited about the exhibits.
VR / AR Global Summit: https://www.vrarglobalsummit.com
VR/AR Global Summit Online is an international conference hosted by the VR/AR Association. The conference serves to introduce virtual reality and augmented reality solution providers to a wide range of companies, particularly in the media sector. Product presentations and networking events in the form of speed dating formats and virtual booths provide a variety of opportunities to learn about industry news and innovations.
XR Week: https://xr-week.converve.io
The XR Week is a conference in Stuttgart, Germany, which is especially aimed at B2B users. It serves as an annual event to promote startup innovation and to create platforms for recruiting and matchmaking. Talks and panel discussions on current XR topics round off the conference program. In addition, services such as the creation of a personal networking profile will be offered.
Laval Virtual – Pro Days: https://www.laval-virtual.com
The Laval Virtual Festival is an event with a long history: it has been held in the small French town of Laval since 1999 and has welcomed international guests to the festival ever since. During the festival there are exhibitions, lectures and product presentations as well as an award ceremony. In addition, the organizers of the Laval Virtual Festival also cooperate with VR Days Europe.
WebXR Summit: https://webxr.events
The WebXR Design Summit showcases applications of spatial computing for interactive storytelling and the user:s design experience. The world’s leading WebXR experts and 3D designers will present design principles and best practices for immersive technologies.
Ars Elecronica: https://ars.electronica.art
Ars Electronica in Linz is a festival that does not specialize in XR alone, but covers the entire field of tension between art and technology. Immersive projects are increasingly part of the program and thus occupy an important position in the media art festival. Symposia, exhibitions, performances, concerts and interventions provide the framework for shaping the debate around digital transformation, from speculative visions of the future to analytical reflections.
DOK Leipzig: https://www.dok-leipzig.de
Sundance Festival: https://www.sundance.org
Raindance Festival: https://www.raindance.org/festival
Venice International Film Festival: https://www.labiennale.org/en/cinema
New Images Festival: https://newimagesfestival.com/en/
VR Awards: https://vrawards.aixr.org
The VR Awards recognize excellence in VR in the following categories: VR Social Influencer Award, VR Hardware of the Year, VR Game of the Year, VR Experience of the Year, VR Film of the Year, VR Marketing of the Year, Rising VR Company of the Year, Innovative VR Company of the Year, VR Enterprise Solution of the Year, VR Education and Training of the Year, VR Healthcare of the Year, and Out-of-Home VR Entertainment of the Year. This reflects the wide range of applications in which outstanding VR applications are already being used. The award provides access to a large and exclusive network of the VR industry.
VR Now Awards: https://www.vrnowcon.io
The VR NOW Awards are European awards that recognize XR experiences in the following four categories: Best VR Technology, Best immersive Cinema, Best industry VR, Best VR Entertainment. The VR NOW GRAND PRIZE honors the best project of the year, selected from all nominees in the other categories.
DIVR Science Award: https://places-festival.de/en/divr-award-2021/
The DIVR Science Award serves to honor work from the university environment and is awarded by the Institute for Virtual Realities (DIVR) in cooperation with the Places_VR Festival. Each year, the most innovative applications and concepts from German universities are sought in the categories “best concept”, “best impact” and “best tech”.
Immersive Learning Award: https://www.immersivelearning.institute/immersive-learning-award-2019/
The Immersive Learning Award of the Institute for Immersive Learning is designed to focus on education and training tools in the form of XR applications. The award recognizes projects in the categories of Customer-Project, Tools, and Standard Content.
Laval Virtual Awards: https://www.laval-virtual.com/laval-virtual-awards-2022/
The Laval Virtual Awards are presented as part of the Laval Virtual Festival and recognize work in the fields of industry, healthcare, sports, virtual worlds, service, education, entertainment and “VR for a cause.” For more than 20 years, Laval Virtual has been committed to promoting XR solutions worldwide.
Author: Maria Emilie Bürger