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Screening films in a virtual Cinema, and why it works

We recently hosted two film festivals in a virtual cinema. On the first day more people attend the screenings in The Star Cinema on Decentraland as avatars than attended the physical events in Milan and Austin.
Decentraland is a decentralised 3D virtual reality platform. It allows uses to create any number of buildings or activities. Over the past few years there has been a huge surge of interest in ‘metaverse’ project. We felt hosting existing film festivals would not only be cool but serve a real-world purpose. The beta test proved the point.
The basic idea is that filmmakers selected for a festival cannot always attend for economic reasons (with or without travel restrictions). This will always be an issue. Been there myself. But now they can attend virtually and engage in the process with other filmmakers. Watching a live stream of a film festival on YouTube just doesn’t compare.
The Star cinema also hosts a free ‘On Demand’ service for filmmaker who want to reach a new and wider audience.
If anyone is interested in adding their films to our catalog let me know. The service is FREE. Maybe you have a film that has already completed its festival run and now languishes on Vimeo. More than happy to consider adding them to the catalogue so they reach a new global audience. Drop me a message.
The reasons why someone would attend a movie screened in a VR world, and a filmmaker would want to participate, seem obvious to us. Not least it exposes the independent filmmaker to an audience they could otherwise never reach.
If interested in reaching a new audience let me know.
Decentraland Film Festival

  • Hi Steve, I would like to send you some links to some of my multi-award-winning films for you to consider for inclusion as I'm interested in adding some of my films to your catalog and would love to be in at the start of your exciting initiative. When you find the time please DM me to let me know where to send the links. Kudos on what you have achieved so far.
    Regards Ray Brady

    1 month ago
    • Hi Ray, Thanks for your kind comments - much appreciated. Look forward to watching your films. Drop me the links at Cheers Steve

      1 month ago
  • Steve: Can you elaborate on "watching a live stream of a film festival on YouTube just doesn’t compare". What are the pros and cons, compared to watching at The Star Cinema on Decentraland? A clip of the festival might be really informative for interested Shooters.

    1 month ago
  • Hi Tony. There are several ways to view a festival, or shall I say 'festival content. The first is to upload the festival selection and we create a catalogue. Visitors to the festival can than gather at a specific time (same time as screening IRW), or at a time that suits them. Bearing in mind if you want to see the official selection for a festival in LA then a 7pm screening in LA is a tough call if watching in Paris, or London. Likewise the reverse. In both the beta test festivals they opted to just upload the movies rather than live stream. Had they opted for the 'live streamed event it would have included introductions and Q&A's. This is a more complex option. A less complex is to record the introductory talks and Q&A's and then we incorporate into the catalogue in the appropriate place. Then visitors can watch after the event at a time to suit.

    As for the experience. Having watched a live streamed event online you are basically sitting at home watching your computer. Nothing physically changes of course if you visit a festival as an avatar. Home in front of computer. However, on a platform, as in the gaming say, you will meet other festival attendees. You can strike up a conversation, chat with filmmakers from other parts of the world. Again, I use the gaming example, it is a much more immersive experience. Plus after watch a movie you can wander outside the theatre, meet with filmmakers in other spaces on the platform. A DJ Set, a digital gallery. In short it is a space to build the kind of relationships who would if you could have attended in person.

    Hope that helps. Happy to answer any other questions.


    1 month ago
  • Thanks, Steve. Food for thought... The Decentraland /Star Cinema links on YouTube are, to be honest, not that enticing. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place for clues to how it can be more immersive. Or is it a question of getting a headset to get the full virtual experience??

    1 month ago
    • Tony Pleased you visited the Star. Fully compatible VR platforms do have a way of drawing you in. But what makes the experience immersive in this instance are other participant; people, albeit in avatar form. Watching a movie alone is not the same experience as one shared even though the audience is not obviously visible to us in a cinema. The Real World experience cannot be replicated in VR but it is better experience than sitting alone watching a movie. In addition you are engaged with like-minded people who made the effort to attend a particular festival for the same reasons you did. At the Star you have the opportunity to engage with them. Is it perfect, far from it. The technology lags aspirations. But we felt it better to build and make the experience better rather than wait for someone else. In doing so it enables filmmakers to 'dabble' in the experiment too. VR & AR platforms will play a major force in socialising and entertainment in the coming years. It is an opportunity to get ahead of the curve. But of course not everyone wants to do that, and that's fine too. Have a great Christmas

      1 month ago
  • Hello Tony,
    Merry Christmas.

    As a first time film maker (almost... I'm sat here right now working on the final colour grade) the current social climate, and it's effects on film festivals has been a nagging topic of concern, always at the back of my mind.
    So, I really appreciate innovative people, such as yourself, for attempting to adapt and continue the the format, and in doing so give us all a possible platform to showcase our work.

    I am very keen to look into this further. Can you please post a link to examples or any demonstration media. (I've read through this thread a few times but cant see any)
    Thank you

    1 month ago
  • Kieran, Here is a link to the cinema: There is also a link to the main platform to look around the space. Click on events and jump into any location to see what is going on. Steve

    1 month ago