BUSAN -- A virtual reality theater is running 36 films at the Busan Cinema Center during this year’s Busan International Film Festival, running through Oct. 21.
Seven booths featuring the Galaxy Gear VR and Oculus Rift have been installed on the first floor of the center. Visitors watch films as they are seated on special chairs that allow them to freely view the films in every direction.
Visitors lined up to experience the VR films, which are available for viewing every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
BIFF is the first film festival in Korea to host a virtual reality cinema.
A man watches a virtual reality film at Busan Cinema Center on Friday. (Park Ju-young/The Korea Herald)
Available for viewing are films such as French director Jerome Blanquet’s “Alteration,” featuring a male lead who confuses an artificial woman and his real lover.
Korean director Gina Kim’s “Bloodless,” which won for best VR story at the Venice International Film Festival last month, and Korean-American director Eugene Chung’s “Arden’s Wake,” which similarly won for best virtual reality at the Venice fest, are also available.
Responses to the experience have varied.
Virtual reality theater at Busan Cinema Center (Park Ju-young/The Korea Herald)
Lee In-ah, a volunteer at BIFF this year, said the experience was intensely new and “unbelievable.”
“Once I put the VR glasses on, an entirely new world was in front of my eyes,” she said. “I knew in my head that I was just sitting in a chair, but I felt as if I were in a different place.”
Klang Fee, a German national who works in sound postproduction, said the screen seemed “a little burry.”
“Technology has not yet developed to the fullest, but I see the direction where it goes,” he said.
The theater is operating in cooperation with telecom KT and VR technology company Barunson.
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