Virtual Reality Pavillion.

For the last three years, the festival has included some of the world’s top VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) experiences in the festival’s lineup. These immersive multimedia experiences show glimpses of what the future holds for technology, storytelling, and filmmaking.

This year, the Festival is working with the University of Pacific, Stockton, to show a series of John Muir-inspired VR short films that were created by students and faculty. These projects were produced to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Muir’s first trek into Yosemite Valley. Leading the project is filmmaker and NCFF alumnus Kevin Pontuti. Pontuti is the lead of the University of the Pacific’s MEDIA X program, which includes film, VR and transmedia studies.

The experiences include “A Yosemite Welcome” a 360-degree stereoscopic short film that transports you to Yosemite National Park where you are met by John Muir (played by actor/historian Lee Stetson) as he tells you a story about his first encounter with a Yosemite bear.

In “Before the Dam: A Visit to Muir’s Hetch Hetchy” viewers can step back in time and walk through Hetch Hetchy circa 1900 and see the valley John Muir as he saw it before it was dammed for San Francisco’s water supply. “Before the Dam” is a virtual reality experience that allows you to traverse the valley floor (an impossible feat today). Along the way, you can read Muir’s journals from his trips to Hetch Hetchy beginning in 1871 and see why Muir fought so hard to preserve this spectacular area.

“The John Muir Museum” gives viewers a look into the future of a museum designed to capture the spirit of Muir and the sense of place he evoked in his writings. Step in a visual proposal for an actual physical museum at the University of the Pacific, and contribute your ideas for how to best use this space to honor John Muir’s legacy.

And finally “Little Manila Recreated” is a virtual walk through the streets of Stockton’s once-vibrant Filipino neighborhood, Little Manila.  Little Manila Recreated is a virtual reality experience that reconstructs the now-demolished mid-twentieth century neighborhood in downtown Stockton and tells the history of a place that was once home to the largest population of Filipinos in the United States. This virtual reality experience is the work of the 2018 Digital Delta Summer fellows at the University of the Pacific and was done in collaboration with the Filipino-American National Historical Society (FANHS) and the Little Manila Foundation.

VR Schedule

Friday, September 7, 6-9pm at the Ol Republic Brewery, 124 Argall Way, Nevada City, during the Festival’s Opening Night Block Party on Argall Way.

Saturday, September 8, noon-7pm at NCFF HQ, 110 Union Street, Floor 1, during Nevada City’s Farmers Market.

Free to the public.