Venice Immersive, the extended reality (xr) section of the 79th Venice International Film Festival (VIFF), is currently running through September 10.

The full line up of 43 immersive works from 19 countries – 30 in-competition, 13 out-of-competition, as well as one film screening – will be presented on the aptly named Venice Immersive Island (an actual Venetian island, Lazzaretto Vecchio).

Formerly known as Venice VR Expanded, the rebranded Venice Immersive “intends to acknowledge the growth of immersive media beyond the technologies of virtual reality and to include all means of creative expression in xr” including a collection of 20 stand-alone works, 11 installations, seven 360° videos, five vr worlds on platform VRChat, and one feature-length screening (U.K. documentary We Met In Virtual Reality by Joe Hunting).

Established xr artist Celine Tricart (The Sun Ladies, The Key), returns with Fight Back (pictured at top), an animated level-based game with a documentary element that provides “an introduction to self-defense techniques as an answer to gender-based violence.” The player begins as a newborn star whose sister stars have been swallowed up in darkness and need to be unveiled again. Learning actual self-defense moves as the game progresses, the user builds muscle memory and confidence while hearing true stories from real women.

Kindred, an animated vr short film directed by Bambou Kenneth, is based on the true story of Syd, a parent-to-be working their way through the U.K. adoption system, and Ollie, a child looking for a home. The animation for Kindred was done by in partnership with Electric Skies, and produced by Tessa Ratuszynska of Storytrails.

Ollie from Kindred

From the Main Square is the Master’s thesis and first xr film from Berlin-based Brazilian filmmaker Pedro Harres. Square places the user directly in the center of a new civilization, experiencing first-hand its blossoming through to its ultimate self-destruction. In the work, Brazilian illustrator Daniel Eizirik’s style is brought to life by animator Samuel Patthey and assembled by programmer Douglas Rachevsky.

From the Main Square

Venice Interactive is accessible to all festival pass holders, or a Venice Immersive Pass is available to those who only want to participate in the xr activities.

After hosting online events the past two years, the festival will also host a virtual version of the Immersive Island in VRChat, where users at home can access the “Worlds Gallery,” a selection of an additional 30 virtual worlds and two special events in their HTC Vive or Oculus headsets, or via Steam on PC. Daily 75-minute guided “World Hop” tours will take users through a curated selection of immersive worlds on VRChat.

Below, we’ve laid out the works which we believe to be animated or which feature extensive animation. The full list with a comprehensive breakdown by category is available here:

  • Ascenders – Jonathan Astruc (France)
  • Reimagined Volume I: Nyssa – Julie Cavaliere (U.S.)
  • Rencontre(s) – Mathias Chelebourg (France)
  • All Unsaved Progress Will Be Lost – Mélanie Courtinat (France)
  • Okawari – Landia Egal & Amaury La Burthe (France, Canada)
  • From the Main Square – Pedro Harres (Germany)
  • Eggscape – German Heller (Argentina)
  • Typeman – Keisuke Itoh (Japan)
  • Kindred – Bambou Kenneth (U.K.)
  • Shiineui Bang (Poet’s Room) – Bomsok Ku (South Korea)
  • Namuanki – Kevin Mack (U.S.)
  • Darkening – Ondřej Moravec (Czech Republic, Germany)
  • Rock Paper Scissors – Alex Rühl (U.K.)
  • Thank You For Sharing Your World – Yu Sakudo (Japan)
  • Mrs. Benz – Eloise Singer (U.K.)
  • Uncanny Alley – Rick Treweek (South Africa)
  • Fight Back – Celine Tricart (France, U.S.)
  • Treasure Heist – Fins (U.S.)
  • Mandala. A Brief Moment In Time – Thomas Villepoux (China, France)
  • Red Tail – Wang Fish (Taipei)