Seattle C enter
June 2-5, 2016
"You have to see this as an inquiry. Four days of asking ourselves if VR matters. Is this
just good for entertainment? Or is it a potential doomsday device? People seem to
have a pretty visceral reaction when they experience it. And by it, we mean X. The
unknown. We are trying to solve for X, the radical unknown. And it will be a terrific
opportunity for the community to experience aspects of this X.”
- City Arts // Sandy Cioffi, SIFFX festival director
Visitors take in Art/Tech History timeline at the Nonny de la Peña Retrospective
SIFFX 2016 was the inaugural year of a festival
within the Seattle International Film Festival
showcasing the most current and creative thinking
in virtual reality/VR, augmented reality/AR and
360° immersion. It was held June 2-5 at Seattle
What we set out to do:
Launch a 4 day festival, showcasing the most current and creative
thinking in virtual reality ( VR) , augmented reality ( AR) and 360°
Frame VR / AR / 360º technology through an arts, culture and social
C atalyze a conversation between Seattle's arts, cultural, civic and
tech communities about this transformational moment in cinema and
Bring national and international immersive artists, creative
technologists and thought leaders to Seattle to explore contemporary
forms of new media, exhibit new work, experiment with new tools, make
connections and dig into the question: How can we shape the purpose, use, and
language of an entirely new medium at this pivotal moment?
Create an intensive, hands-on learning experience for Seattle's
Offer a range of immersive experiences, from communal viewing in the
Pacific Science Center Laser Dome to walk-around and sit-down headsets in the
Light a fire in Seattle about the artistic, cultural and business
potential of immersive media!
And here's what we did:
// 360º SC RE E NINGS @ THE DOME
// THRE E VR/AR GALLE RY E XHIBITIONS, INC LUDING
THE FIRST-E VE R RE TROSPE C TIVE OF NONNY DE LA
PE NA’S IMME RSIVE JOURNALISM
// X-AC ADE MY: A THE ORE TIC AL, HISTORIC AL &
TE C HNIC AL C URRIC ULUM OF IMME RSIVE ME DIA
// FLY STORY ARTIST INC UBATION PROGRAM
// ME DIA C OVE RAGE
Opening Night on the red carpet with SIFFX swag!
fabulous wonder.land @ X-Gallery
360º SC RE E NINGS @ THE DOME
How we want to be immersed:
22% floating in ocean
30% flying through air
9% without a body
14% dune-buggying the surface of Mars
12% in the midst of a dance
13% marching in a parade
—Results from survey conducted on Opening Night by Vis à Vis Society performance
Communal immersive viewing – “look up!” - at Pacific Science Center Laser Dome.
Thanks to the generous, risk-taking, collaborative support of Omnispace, Optima,
and Pacific Science Center, we transformed the Pacific Science Center Laser Dome
into a 180º screening venue. Which included installing a 12 projector projectionmapped system with positional sound. With this phenomenal support our dream of
lying back and looking up to watch the stars came true!
We were thrilled to feature the work of leading immersive content makers Vrse,
RYO T, Wevr and The New York Times.
Joe Chen speaks about art-tech collaboration during Opening Night at The Dome.
We opened the festival at The Dome to a full house of over 300
attendees. The performance troupe Vis à Vis Society orchestrated the
evening, taking surveys on the red carpet and providing instruction for the
collective cardboard viewing experiment during the show. Joe C hen, E xecutive
Technical Producer at Vrse ( Within) , spoke from a creative technologist's
perspective about the current moment in immersive media and the process of
collaborating with artists. The after-party featured signature drinks, a 360º photo
booth, video projection by C oldbrew C ollective, and music by KE XP DJ
THRE E VR/AR GALLE RY E XHIBITIONS
“My whole family had a wonderful time, and I was able to share the cardboard
viewer later with my mom, who is mobility impaired, and watching her face light up
with delight as she was able to move through spaces she would never be able to on
her own was profound and wonderful. What an incredible opening to a weekend that
inspired many.” - Rachel Kessler, Vis à Vis Society
Visitors experience VR Program at X-Hub.
• O ver 1,000 people experienced the 3 galleries: X-G allery, X-Hub and
Nonny de la Peña Pavilion. Ticketing the galleries in 1.5 hour time slots
allowed 40 visitors per block to move through the exhibit without having to stand
in line or feel rushed. Understanding that most people were experiencing VR / AR
/ 360º video for the first time, and that providing quality experiences is critical to
the adoption of the technology, we were pleased to hear from both visitors and
artists, many of whom have exhibited at the major X festivals, that we achieved just
that - an unprecedented quality VR exhibition experience.
SIFFX curated the first-ever retrospective of Nonny de la Peña's
pioneering immersive journalism, showcasing the evolution of her
groundbreaking work from Hunger in Los Angeles to Project Syria and Kiya.
Samsung Ambassadors guide visitors through VR experiences at X-Gallery.
We were fortunate to have the in-kind support of the leading gear
manufacturers. Samsung provided 30 Gear VRs and arranged for 9
ambassadors to staff the galleries; Valve loaned 12 HTC Vive systems for the
Nonny de la Peña Retrospective and X-Hub galleries; and O culus sent a
representative and system to demo Lost.
X-AC ADE MY: A THE ORE TIC AL, HISTORIC AL &
TE C HNIC AL C URRIC ULUM OF IMME RSIVE ME DIA
"After spending the weekend at SIFFX and learning everything I can about VR, part of
me wants to drop everything and devote my complete time and attention to
developing content for this new medium. It's coming, and this is the ground floor. But
another part of me can't get my printer set up so we'll see how it goes.”
- Chris Allen, SIFFX participant
Making Is Thinking: 360º Cinematography with Steven Schardt & Michael Franz of Panogs.
The Grandfather of VR, Tom Furness
We brought pioneering artists, creative technologists and thinkers to Seattle
audiences, including: Joe C hen of Vrse (Within), the "Grandfather of VR" Tom
Furness, the "Godmother of VR" Nonny de la Peña, and Toby
C offey, Head of Digital Development at the UK National Theatre.
Chet Feliszek in conversation with the “Godmother of VR” Nonny de la Peña.
We programmed 2 days of panels and workshops, ranging in theme
from What's Old Is New (the history of art/technology intersections), to Cyber
Feminism, The Business of X, 360º Cinematography, Story Ecosystems, and
Panelists included: C het Feliszek (Valve), Kiki Wolfkill (Microsoft), E ren
Aksu (Emblematic Group), Daryle C onnors (filmmaker, game developer,
author), Robin O ppenheimer (media scholar), Bruce O berg (Sucker Punch),
Ted Youngs (Panogs), E mily E ifler (eleVR), Tom Sanocki (Limitless, Pixar),
Kim Voynar & Nathaniel Luke Pinzon (Wondertek Labs), Steven Schardt
(vr.org), Michael Franz (Panogs), E va Hoerth (The Rat Lab, VREAL), Kel
O 'Neill (The Ark), James Nestor & Sandy Smolan (The Click Effect),
James Kaelan & Blessing Yen (The Visitor), and Milica Zec & Winslow
Turner (Giant), and Josh Daniels (Pyramid Communications).
Feminism 360º panel
The sessions were live-streamed by Front Row Live. (The total viewing time was
21hrs 10min, and the average viewing time was 16 min.)
FLY STORY ARTIST INC UBATION PROGRAM
"I'm still processing all of the magic I experienced at #SIFFX2016 last weekend. I'm so
honored to have been immersed in incredible conversations and brain sparks with so
many talented people! It's been a long time since I've felt in my element and felt that
paralyzing inner-critic shut the cuss up." - Dacia Saenz, FLY STORY artist
Artist Emily Eifler demoes her DIY paint program for FLY STORY participants.
• In collaboration with Washington Filmworks, SIFFX invited 17 Seattle artists,
from a range of disciplines, to participate in the FLY STORY incubation program.
• We convened a conversation with FLY STORY artists and arts, culture and civic
leaders, including representatives from the O ffice of Arts & C ulture, Mayor's
O ffice of Film and Music and Virtual World Society, about the future of
immersive storytelling in Seattle.
• Many of these artists are now incorporating 360º media and thinking into
their work and have forged collaborations with fellow FLY STORY participants.
ME DIA C OVE RAGE
‘Virtual reality’ has been one of those vague sci-fi neologisms that's been hanging
around the culture for the past 30-odd years without anyone really knowing what it
means. But SIFFX, like Illuminous Analemma, makes a strong case that the period of
VR existing only in theory is over. It isn't going to change the nature of storytelling/
filmmaking/consciousness itself. It is changing those things, even now. This future is
happening right now, in front of our eyes. – “SIFFX Dares Seattle to Get Real About Virtual
Reality Right Now,” Charles Mudede, The Stranger
“SIFF GETS REAL, Virtual Reality may be the breakout star of this year’s film festival.”
(Lara Hale, June 2016, Seattle Magazine // Photo: Hayley Young)
SIFFX was covered by all the major Seattle press outlets, including:
City Arts, Empathy Device, The first-ever SIFFX arrives, Jonathan Zwickel; The
Stranger, SIFFX Dares Seattle to Get Real About Virtual Reality Right Now, Charles
Mudede; The Seattle Times, ‘Craft your world around you’: SIFFX explores the future
of virtual reality, Kate Clark; Seattle Magazine; Seattle Weekly; Seattle Met; Geek
Wire; KUOW; KCTS; and KOMO
SIFFX would not have been possible without the generous support of our
Sponsor branding was visible throughout the festival: on the SIFFX sponsor slide
that appeared before SIFF screenings, at all SIFFX panels and workshops, and
in the galleries. Sponsor logos also appeared in the printed program and were
listed on the sponsor page of the website.
Vulcan Technology’s demo booth at X-Maker’s Space.
NE XT STE PS // 2017 and Beyond
Given the success of the festival for artists, presenters, participants and sponsors, we
are exploring options for an X Festival in Seattle in 2017. We are bringing together a
coalition of producing partners and hope to be making an announcement soon.
360º photo booth at Opening Night party