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Academy of Film hosts activities to explore virtual reality film

10 Apr 2018

Director Tsai Ming-liang (left) shares his insights on VR film development
Director Tsai Ming-liang (left) shares his insights on VR film development

The Academy of Film (AF) of the School of Communication, in collaboration with the 42nd Hong Kong International Film Festival, premiered the first virtual reality (VR) Chinese language film, The Deserted.


Director of The Deserted Mr Tsai Ming-liang and the leading actor Mr Lee Kang-sheng travelled to Hong Kong from Taiwan to speak at AF’s master class. They shared their thoughts and vision for this pioneering cinematic innovation with the audience.


The Deserted, Mr Tsai’s debut VR work, is an attempt to break the established dichotomy of traditional cinema, and create an interactive film experience that blurs the lines between reality and creative expression. The 55-minute piece is a milestone in Chinese language cinema and was selected for the first-ever Virtual Reality competition at the Venice Film Festival.


Over the three-day screening from 31 March to 2 April, 15 public sessions were held at the Academy’s studio while three additional sessions were offered exclusively to students of the Academy. AF Director Professor Eva Man said, “Working in one of the top tertiary institutions that provides film education in Asia, I’m pleased and excited that we play a key part in bringing this piece of extraordinary cinematic innovation to audiences in Hong Kong.” Furthermore, renowned artiste Rebecca Pan, director Ann Hui and actress Cecilia Yip attended the film’s Hong Kong Premiere to show their support.


At the master class, Mr Tsai talked about his VR filmmaking journey, he said, “VR technology has been developing at a very fast pace, thus, making a VR film is a continuous adventure of exploration, in which new discoveries are found almost every day.” He believed the most impressive part for an audience is the immersive experience in a 3D environment where shooting took place. 


Mr Tsai Ming-liang won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival with Vive L’amour (1994). Mr Tsai has established himself as one of contemporary cinema’s most accomplished auteurs. In addition to bringing films into the art world, he has been constantly exploring multimedia and new technology in filmmaking.