A program of

Panels & Virtual Reality

The VAFF hosts a series of panel discussions on Friday of the Festival and an interactive Virtual Reality Lab on Saturday and Sunday of the 2019 Festival, all free and open to the public and held at Common House.

Panel Discussions

Friday, October 25, 2019
Located at Common House
Free and Open to the Public

Women and Work
10:00 AM
Women from the film industry on the question of how work, or the lack thereof, defines the female identity and impacts the female experience, and the noticeable prevalence of this theme in contemporary film narratives coming from women-filmmakers around the world.

Featuring Shelly Chopra Dhar (How I Felt When I Saw that Girl), Marty Elcan (Ladies Most Deject) and Amy R. Letourneau (PBS), moderated by Claire Kaplan (UVA)

VR Filmmaking
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

A Critical Eye
2:00 PM
Composed of leading journalists and film critics on the current state of the industry

Featuring Alonso Duralde (The Wrap), Soraya McDonald (The Undefeated), Brian Truitt (USA Today), and Alissa Wilkinson (Vox), moderated by VAFF Advisory Board member Scot Safon

Virtual Reality Lab

Saturday, October 26 through Sunday, October 27, 2019
Noon-4:00 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.

360 Films

12 Seconds of Gunfire: “12 seconds of gunfire: The true story of a school shooting” is a powerful virtual reality experience produced by The Washington Post, based on an unforgettable front-page article by 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist John Woodrow Cox.

Everest: Follow Sherpa Tenji as he climbs higher and higher into Mount Everest’s Death Zone, an area that contains so little oxygen that his body cannot survive for long; it’s a race against time.

Lost in a Forgotten Place: This 360 degree experimental short explores a post-apocalyptic nightmare about a strange encounter at a deserted block.

Second Step: a photorealistic, “floating” VR film journey through space in which the viewer joins astronauts on a future mission to prospective destinations on the Moon and Mars.

Interactive VR Experiences

Future Dreaming: Step into a time-warping dream bubble as four young Aboriginal Australians guide you through their futures. Be ready for an intergalactic adventure. Look out for the space emus!

Home with América: Exploring themes of nostalgia, family separation, and home, this film follows Gladys’s, an undocumented immigrant living in Los Angeles, act of poetic resistance to physical borders.

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 2019 Virtual Reality Lab is presented by Capitol Interactive

and by Jefferson Technology