A program of

Panels & Virtual Reality

The VAFF hosted a series of panel discussions on Friday of the Festival and an interactive Virtual Reality Lab on Saturday and Sunday of the 2018 Festival, all free and open to the public and held at Common House. See below for an archive of our 2018 Panels and VR Lab.

Panel Discussions

Friday, November 2
Located at Common House
Free and Open to the Public

Producers Forum
10:00 AM
A panel of leading Hollywood producers and members of the Virginia Film Festival Advisory Board.

Women in Film
A discussion of the opportunities and continuing challenges for women in the industry today hosted by Life Out Loud Films.

VR Filmmaking
2:00 PM
Mona Kasra, assistant professor of Digital Media Design in the UVA Department of Drama, will host a conversation about the present and future of the rapidly-evolving world of VR filmmaking with leaders in the field, including Parnaz Rad, creator of Blue Bird, and Malvina Martin, executive producer of the award-winning Black Dot Films. Black Dot Films recently earned multiple Webby Awards for its work on the acclaimed Nat Geo miniseries, The Long Road Home. Martin also developed, produced, and directed the highly-successful launch of Facebook’s 360 LIVE platform – the first ever live VR broadcast which featured Neil deGrasse Tyson and streamed to millions of viewers.

Virtual Reality Lab

Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4
Noon-5:00 PM
Located at Common House

The Virtual Reality Lab will present a choice of experiences to offer visitors a glimpse into what is rapidly becoming possible with VR and immersive film technologies.

Meet the Creators:
Saturday, November 3
3:00 PM: Parnaz Rad, Blue Bird
4:00 PM: Malvina Martin, Black Dot Films

Sunday, November 4
3:00 PM: Derek Ham, I Am A Man

360 Films

Blue Bird: The scars of the heart tell a lifetime of stories.

Ashes to Ashes: A dysfunctional family burdened with the
bizarre dying wish of their recently deceased grandfather.

Race to Alaska: An immersive documentary following two individuals Roellen and Rohan Gilmore as they embark on an epic journey from their humble home in Australia to compete in one of the most challenging sailing races in the world.

Polar Obsession: From award-winning Black Dot Films, National Geographic Photographer Paul Nicklen braves rough ocean waters and sub-zero temperatures to return to Antarctica and dive beneath the ice for a close-up encounter with a twelve-foot-long leopard seal.

My Africa: The story follows the journey of a young Samburu woman through her community’s daily life, tending livestock, digging “singing” wells deep into dry riverbanks and rescuing a baby elephant.

Interactive VR Experiences

Fire Escape: The visually stunning world of Fire Escape throws viewers onto a fire escape in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. When the clock strikes 8:00 PM, the blood moon sets the tone for a very strange night of voyeurism, mystery, and murder. Unleash your inner voyeur in this neo-Hitchcock/Rear Window Three-Part Interactive VR Series.

I Am A Man: an interactive virtual reality experience set to the historic events of the African American Civil Rights Movement. Users will witness the Memphis Sanitation Worker’s Strike and the events leading to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. using the Oculus Rift VR headset. The VR project was created by Derek Ham and won an award for funding through the Oculus Launch Pad program.

VR Programmer

Mona Kasra, Virtual Reality Lab Programmer

Mona Kasra is a new media artist, scholar, and Assistant Professor of Digital Media Design at the University of Virginia (UVa). Her work employs, explores, and experiments with existing and emerging media in the context of art making, storytelling and installation, and her research begs political and theoretical questions about the power of visual media in our culture and cross-culturally. She has exhibited work in numerous gallery and online exhibitions and has juried, curated, and programmed for various film festivals and art exhibitions. In 2016, she served as Conference Chair at ACM SIGGRAPH, undertaking an engaged role in the strategic planning, leading, and managing of the world’s largest, most influential annual conference on the theory and practice of computer graphics and interactive techniques.



The 2018 Virtual Reality Lab is supported by Jefferson Technology.