Three Day VR & AR Festival Comes To Toronto This Weekend


FIVARS, The Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories — Canada’s first and original VR/AR showcase, starts today until Sunday!

I got an early sneak peak last week and would highly recommend checking it out.

FIVARS showcases a new wave of filmmakers and content producers who push the boundaries of virtual reality cinematography. The three-day experience takes place at the House of VR (639 Queen St W) from 10am-7pm daily.

FIVARS showcases the best in cinematic VR from all over the world. From the 200 films submitted the top 20 are here in Toronto. This year FIVARS features VR films from Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, South Korea, United Kingdom, USA, Argentina and Peru.

It’s amazing to see how different countries all over the world approach such a new medium. The Japanese films I found were very in your face while the India films allowed much more room to breathe and take in the sights around you.

“We are always looking for what represents the vanguard in VR while demonstrating a unique approach to the medium itself, ” says founder and executive director Keram Malicki-Sanchez. “We want to represent the spectrum of ideas, themes, genres, voices and territories.”

This year the festival will be held at the 2-storey House of VR at Queen and Bathurst. Tickets are sold in 2 hour blocks for individual days and grant the purchasers a wristband that can be used for access to talks (1 hour special presentation daily) with producers, directors, distributors and special guests, and a paper ticket with 40 minutes of viewing time that can be applied to the catalog of choices.

The full lineup is below, I’d recommend checking out Submerged, City of Ghosts, Under the Neon Lights and Extravangza.


Programming line-up:

360° Viewing Experiences

A Little Love, Director Alton Glass, USA, 8:49

When a successful hardworking mother finds herself too busy to make her daughters 8th birthday party on time – the girl makes an unusual wish, sending them on an unforgettable and eye-opening journey.

An Obituary, Director Jean Yoon, South Korea, 12:56 mins

Ki-un hears of Sang-Woo’s death and attends the funeral only to receive an email from his presumed deceased friend warning him not to come.

Ashes to Ashes, Director Ingejan Ligthart Schenk, Netherlands, 10:52 mins

A surreal, tragicomedy about how a dysfunctional family handles the dying wish of their grandfather. Seen through the ‘eyes’ of the deceased this short VR film gives a unique point of view on a bizarre set of family relationships.

Asteroids!, Director Eric Darnell, USA, 8 mins

Mac and Cheez are back with their robot sidekick Peas, this time on a dangerous, deep space mission. Disaster strikes as they are attacked by teeth-gnashing space bugs careening asteroids.

Dolphin Man: Search with Fabrice Schnöller, Director Benoit Lichtí, France, 5 mins

Experience  freediving in the footsteps of Jacques Mayol and begin to understand what the underwater world has to offer us all.

Dreamtime 4K Stereoscopic, Jonathan Sims , USA, 4 mins

DREAMTIME is a meditation on imagination and the unknown, and is the first cinematic use of Deep Dream to achieve a VR experience, placing you within a dream that is half human and half machine.

Extravaganza, Director Ethan Shaftel, USA, 5:45 mins

Busy executive (Paul Scheer) tests a VR headset that promises to be the future of entertainment… but is actually anything but forward thinking. Can technology change society for the better, or does it magnify our worst traits in new ways?

Gladiators in the Colosseum, Director Joerg Courtial, Germany, 6:05 mins

Drop into Rome 80 AD in the centre of the Colosseum surrounded by 50,000 cheering spectators as you witness Gladiators fight to the death, all while Emperor Titus looks on, waiting to pass his final judgement.

Guardian of the Guge Kingdom, Director Bin Huang, China, 7:12 mins

Meet Pasang Tsering, a 28-year-old Tibetan who follows his heart to be a guardian of Guge Relics and Guge culture, giving up all the favorable conditions of urban life.

IORANA Rapa Nui, Damián Turkieh, Argentina, 4:03 mins

Travel to the mysterious Easter Island, discover its ancestral culture, know its traditions and live the music of the most isolated place in the world with 3D spatial audio as if you were really there.

Kiss Me, Director Ryutaro Nakamura, Japan, 5:43 mins,

The new age of music video’s is here. A 360, fully immersive take on the music video genre with the latest VR & 3D sound technology.

Miyubi, Director Félix Lajeunesse & Paul Raphaël, Canada, 40 mins

A Japanese toy robot – inhabited by you, the viewer – is gifted to a young boy on his birthday. Over the course of a year, you’ll experience a hilarious and endearing interactive story. starring Jeff Goldblum, P.J Byrne, Emily Bergl, Owen Vaccaro, Richard Riehl, Ted Sutherland and Tatum Kensington Bailey.

My Brother’s Keeper, Director Connor Hair, USA, 11m

My Brother’s Keeper tells the story of two estranged brothers who, fighting on opposing sides of the Civil War, unexpectedly reunite one last time on the battlefield at Antietam. As we walk into battle with Ethan (19) and Jackson (16), we flash back to glimpses of their young lives to understand what has led them to this extraordinary, life-altering moment amid the carnage and brutality of war.

Rose Colored, Director Adam Cosco, USA, 14 mins

Victoria’s personal A.I., Klive, is only doing what his programming considers will benefit his user. It’s his job to make sure she’s happy, no matter what, but deep down, Victoria knows something is amiss.

Sanctuary, Director Shivanya Mulekar. Canada, 8:11 mins

A VR Documentary that captures the life of the Juhasz family who has been seeking sanctuary in a Canadian church since November 2014.

Sergeant James, Director Alexandre Perez, France, 7 mins

It is Leo’s bedtime. When his mum goes to switch off the light, the little boy thinks there is something under his bed…

SUBMERGED, Director Nishtha Jain, India, 8:10 mins

Climate change and defective government policies are precipitating one of the largest exoduses of migrant labor in the world.



Alteration, Director Jérome Blanquet, France, 18 mins

Alexandro volunteers for an experiment carried out to study dreams in this poetic trip into the future. He can’t imagine that he will be subjected to the intrusion of Elsa, a form of Artificial Intelligence who aims to digitize his subconscious in order to feed off of it.

The Cooties, Director Josh Gladstone, USA, 3:30 mins

You are in control of the content, in this one-of-a-kind live-action VR music video. The more you look around, the more things change.

HooDoo, Director Catherine Salkeld, UK, 6:30 mins

Follow along on the adventures of Claw, a simple cat exploring a mysterious fragment of a forgotten world. With the help of the audience, will Claw get through his journey in one piece?

In His Presence, Brenda Colonna , USA, 15 mins

A prayer and meditation app to spend time with a photogrammetric Jesus.

Manifest 99, Director Adam Volker, USA, 10 mins

Journey into the afterlife aboard a mysterious train inhabited by a murder of crows in this ominous and eerie virtual reality experience.

Meta-Dimensional, Michaella Vu, USA, 6:31 mins

After the death of their secretly brilliant father, two erratic sister’s discover a headset that allows them to dimensionally travel discovering their mysterious past.

UTURN, Director Ryan Lynch, USA, 10 mins

What happens when a young female coder joins a male-dominated floundering startup that’s deep in an identity crisis?

The Dream Collector, Mi Li , China, 12 mins

Join an ordinary old man and an optimistic dog living in a garbage dump, picking up the ‘garbage’ people that have been abandoned.

Floresta Encantada, Director Ygor Marotta and Ceci Soloaga aka VJ Suave, Brazil, 15m

Journey through an enchanted forest filled with magical characters that leads you to a shamanic experience.

Under the Neon Lights, Director Jono Brandel and Zach Richter, USA

Under Neon Lights is an interactive, colorfully animated VR music experience for The Chemical Brothers’ song “Under Neon Lights”, featuring St. Vincent, A psychological and physical coming-of-age story, Under Neon Lights is framed around a girl whose world builds in neon color as she runs through the different environmental stages of her life.



Pacha’s Pyjamas, Director Allah El Henson USA,

After an asthma attack, Pacha’s mother gives her a pair of magical pyjamas. When Pacha goes to sleep, the plants and animals on her pyjamas become her guides on a dream adventure.

Priya’s Mirror, Director Dan Goldman, USA/India, 10 mins

When Priya and her flying tiger Sahas come upon a castle sheltering women burned by acid attacks, she helps free them from their victimhood by confronting Ahankar, the demon-king who’s told them their scarred appearances have no place in society.

City of Ghosts, Director Olivier Asselin, Canada

City of Ghosts is an interactive, 360-degree mobile augmented reality film experience that allows users ̶ equipped with a smart phone, tablet or AR glasses, to interact freely in real space with life-size 3D virtual characters ̶ all within an elaborate scenario and even across several locations. City of Ghosts invites visitors to make a journey through time to relive a story of love, death, ghosts and technology ̶ all in glorious augmented 3D animation mixed with real places.

For all the details and to purchase tickets check out FIVAR’s Eventbrite.

Brock McLaughlin

Brock McLaughlin

Brock McLaughlin 🕹 🎮 Twitter @brockmclaughlin New Media (B)Rockstar. Blogger. Video Gamer. Podcaster at the Game Moose. UnBrocxer. Host/Producer at @comedygamers4u. Somewhat Charming.

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