Historic award for Chinese VR suspense movie

Xu Wei
The short suspense film "Killing A Superstar" won the Best VR Immersive Story award at the recent 77th Venice International Film Festival. 
Xu Wei

The short suspense film “Killing A Superstar” won the Best VR (virtual reality) Immersive Story award at the recent 77th Venice International Film Festival, the first time a VR film production from China’s mainland was honored at an international A-category film festival. 

The Venice Film Festival was founded in 1932 and is one of three major international film festivals in Europe, alongside the Cannes Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival. 

In 2017, the Venice Film Festival created the first award category for VR productions, and began to attract many international film and television companies, creators, and artists to present new creations that differ from traditional film and television content. This year, a total of 31 VR movies from around the world were nominated for awards.

With a length of only 20 minutes, the film directed by Fan Fan revolves around a superstar named Lisa who’s receiving death threats from crazy fans as the result of a scandal. When Lisa conducts a live interview at her luxury villa, a murder takes place.

Historic award for Chinese VR suspense movie
Ti Gong

Zhang Luyao plays Lisa in “Killing A Superstar.”

“Killing a Superstar” uses VR technology — considered a fashionable new trend in the film industry — to offer a panoramic, interactive telling of the story. 

The film also features multiple parallel narratives. Viewers are given the freedom to switch between different scenes to identify clues and uncover the truth on their own. It leverages 8K HD and Dolby Atmos technology to present an immersive VR audio-visual experience, and is now available on iQiyi’s VR app and Qiyu’s all-in-one VR headset platform.

“Killing a Superstar” was produced by the streaming website iQiyi. In 2018, iQiyi’s 15-minute science-fiction short film “The Last One Standing VR” was nominated in the VR category at the 75th Venice International Film Festival. Set in the year 2048, the film follows the adventures of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) robot.

Zhang Hang, vice president of iQiyi, said the prize and recognition “Killing A Superstar” garnered from the Venice Film Festival is not only a milestone for local VR content, but also sets a new benchmark for the industry. 

“It demonstrates that we are able to combine innovative original content with technology,” Zhang said.

In recent years, iQiyi has been at the forefront of the emerging Chinese VR industry. 

As one of the first domestic technology and entertainment companies to tap into the VR market, iQiyi has steadily established a VR line-up that includes television dramas, films, variety shows and gaming. 

So far, the company has launched several VR interactive programs derived from dramas and variety shows, such as “Idol Producer” and “iPartment Season 5.” In the future, the interactive format of “Killing A Superstar” will be used in other productions.  

iQiyi is also developing offline VR entertainment. In July, iQiyi launched an original VR game — “Robot Master.” The game’s immersive sensory features provide users with a unique gaming experience via senses of touching, smelling and hearing, as well as wind, vibrations, heat and gravity.

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