The LuxFilmFest brings virtual reality to all with rentable headsets
Over 3,300 visitors flocked to the VR Pavilion during 2020’s LuxFilmFest. Despite being shut down early due to the pandemic, the Pavilion’s popularity made one fact clear: the public is intrigued by virtual reality. The VR Pavilion returned to neimënster in 2021, this time with a desire to make VR even more accessible.
Held from March 4–14, the annual film festival once again featured a VR cinema, which screened award-winning 360° films, including a number of Luxembourgish co-productions: Ayahuasca, Under the Skin and Precious Human Factor.
This time, however, festivalgoers had the chance to rent headsets and experience VR from the comfort of their own homes through VR to Go. A menu of moving documentaries, animated tales and audiovisual spectacles let viewers take heart-pounding journeys to other worlds, all without violating travel restrictions.
VR to Go initially arose in response to Covid-19 as a way to preserve VR at the LuxFilmFest. However, it soon proved to be a welcome new entertainment option at a time when options of any kind were scarce.
Because VR to Go was sold out throughout the duration of the festival, it was extended to the end of May due to popular demand.
How VR to Go works
The initiative, a partnership between the VR Pavilion and Montréal-based PHI, furnished 12 headsets that visitors could rent for 2–3 days at a cost of €20. They could choose from a total of three hours of programming split across two distinct options – one emphasizing documentaries and the other animated tales.
A UVC box disinfected headsets between every rental using ultraviolet light.
Socially distanced at-home users could have exhilarating experiences without taking risks. VR to Go opened virtual reality up to those who would otherwise have missed out because they were wary of using VR in public or because they could not make it to neimënster.