27.04. ‐ 02.05.2021

4th LICHTER VR Storytelling Award // Finalists 2020

This is how LICHTER-VR-On-Demand works!

How can I watch the films competing for the 4th VR Storytelling Award? Do I need a VR headset?

You can watch the films competing for the 4th VR Storytelling Award directly on the LICHTER website. Go to the VR section page or click on a VR film in our programme grid. There is a separate stream for each VR film. You do NOT need VR glasses. If you click on one of the links to the films, a new window will open, in which you can start the film. At first, it looks like a "normal" movie. To let your gaze wander, move your mouse pointer over the film image and, while holding down the mouse button, drag the image to the desired direction of view. VR movies are all about freedom of vision - so you should definitely try this function!

What are the technical requirements for the films competing for the 4th VR Storytelling Award?

To watch the VR movies you need a stand computer, a laptop, a smartphone or a tablet. These devices must of course be connected to the Internet. We recommend a minimum bandwidth of 16mb/s in order to be able to watch the films smoothly in the highest quality. Access should also occur via one of the browsers listed below: Firefox, Edge, Safari and Chrome.

Can I also watch the films featured in the 4th VR Storytelling Award offline using my smartphone or VR glasses?

If you would like to watch the VR films conveniently via your smartphone, GearVR, Cardboard VR glasses or even an Oculus Go, this is possible via the VRdirect app. To do this, download the VRdirect app to your device at https://www.vrdirect.com/de/ or in the usual stores and then enter the code for the film in the app's search field (you will find the download code on the LICHTER website for each film). Download your personal LICHTER VR media library into the VRdirect app. After downloading, the VR films are available to you for a limited time and can be watched independently from an internet connection. The films have an average size of 700MB, so you should use a WLAN connection if you only have a limited download volume on your smartphone.

The 2020 Finalists


Watch the movie here

VRdirect App Download-Code: Aripi

(Director: Dmitri Voloshin; MDA 2019, OV, Length: 8 min.)

The monotonous everyday life of a lonely astronaut becomes a hair-raising race against time due to a technical defect. With a lot of humour and speed, Aripi fully exploits the visual immersive potential of VR - a trip worth seeing, which convinces especially with its breathtaking camera movements. Don't forget to fasten your seatbelts!

"Cutely designed and lovingly told tragic-comedy - Kirsty van der Plas, Jury 

Battleground PolyU

Watch the movie here

VRdirect App Code: PolyU

(Director: DJ Clark; HKG 2019, English OV, Duration: 8'45 min.)

The clash between protesters and police forces during the siege of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University at the end of 2019 in the course of the protests by the democracy movement is documented here in an impressive way and with a lot of personal commitment. A historical document to which the use of a 360° camera lends a visual impact.

"Great use of the medium to translate the tension of the situation.Good use of music and good transitions. A piece of great journalism." - Ioana Matei, Jury 


Watch the movie here

VRdirect App Downloadcode: Songbird

Director: Lucy Greenwell; UK/DNK 2018, English OV, Duration: 9 min.)

An ornitologist is on the trail of a bird species believed to be extinct. A sudden discovery, followed by an unexpected encounter, tragically demonstrates the consequences of climate change to the scientist. It is above all the audio design that makes this animated film with documentary elements an intimate experience. 

"Great storytelling and a very touching way to pass on the key message." - Ioana Matei, Jury

Paris Terror - The Hyper Cacher Hostages

Watch the movie here

VRdirect App Download-Code: Paris

(Director: Ricarda Saleh; D 2018, German OV, Duration: 10 min.)

In January 2015, terrorists raid the editorial offices of the satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo". At the same time, another assassin invades the Jewish supermarket "Hyper Cacher" and kills four people. Further customers are taken hostage and locked up in a cold storage room. The film deals with the survivors' memories and lets the audience participate in the traumatic experiences and fears of these people in those uncertain hours of their imprisonment. A mix of animated sequences and filmed interviews maintains a respectful distance without trivializing anything. The medium of 360-degree film gives us an understanding of the fates of those affected with unexpected intimacy.

"The Film uses VR-technology in a targeted manner and with well-considered methodology. Generating a social impact it highlights the influence of technologies and their application on society." - Susanne Ahmadseresht, Jury

Children Do Not Play War 

Watch the movie here

VRdirect App Download-Code: Children

(Director: Fabiano Mixo; USA/BRA/UGA 2019, English OV, Duration: 8 min.)

Since 1987, a brutal war has been raging in Uganda, led by the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army), which wants to enforce a theocracy based on the 10 Commandments. Although the conflict has largely shifted to neighbouring countries since 2008, the traces it leaves behind are still noticeable today. Above all, the use of child soldiers has left scars on the few survivors that are still far from healing. In sad and beautiful panoramic shots of landscapes and life, from an observant distance, the film tells of a country that has lost its children.  

"Beautifully shot with good attention to height which made me feel fully immersed -  something regularly overlooked when filming children." - Kirsty van der Plas, Jury

Since as early as 2017, LICHTER has been presenting a worldwide competition for 360° films every year. Its focus lies on innovative 360° films that explore the possibilities of the medium and test new narrative concepts. This year, our annual jury has again selected the five best works from over 70 submissions. We will announce the winners at the end of the LICHTER-On-Demand online festival.

This year, we had to cancel the collective viewing of our selection in its physical form. We are working on making the VR selection accessible online. For this, you do not necessarily need a VR headset. The films can also be watched on a "flat" screen. The direction of viewing is then controlled by mouse or keyboard. Granted, this does not allow for the same experience as with real VR glasses, but it still gives a good impression.

This year's submissions have shown us that new ideas and concepts are still being polished, while the underlying VR technology is constantly evolving.  The films are becoming technically more precise, the handling of content more confident and creative. Initially, the focus was primarily on technical and formal questions of presenting classic narrative and documentary formats, but now the emphasis is shifting more and more towards the actual content.The proportion of documentary formats remains dominant in both the submissions and the selection, which is not surprising, since the use of VR is extremely fruitful in the documentary field.

With friendly support by:

© Pascal Jackel

The VR-Jury of the 4th LICHTER VR Storytelling Award

Ioana Matei - Immersive and Extended Reality Leader at Procter&Gamble & Film Producer/Co-founder of Reality+

Ioana Matei is the Immersive and Extended Reality Leader at Procter&Gamble, one of the first FMCG Companies to implement immersive technologies in their work process. She is also an award-winning filmmaker and co-founder of Reality+ Productions, focusing on fiction, elevated genre narratives, both on flat and VR. She has co-founded the Women in Immersive Technologies Europe group, an NGO that promotes women and their work in this area. She is of Romanian origin and currently lives in Paris.

© anjapaap

Susanne Ahmadseresht – Project Developer Immersive Media at VRtual X, Vice President at nextReality.Hamburg e.V.

Susanne Ahmadseresht majored in Business Education and Management Training. Since 2015 she professionally deals with the possible applications of immersive media in the area of knowledge transfer and successfully utilises her know-how as a Project Developer and Consultant. In her free time, she is also passionate about the topic of digitisation and has, therefore, co-founded the local initiative nextReality.Hamburg e. V.. As Vice President she actively builds bridges between traditional companies and technologies of the future in order to shift virtual and augmented reality as well as 360° film production more towards the middle of our society. She lives in Hamburg.

Kirsty van der Plas - Head of Production VR Days Europe, Producer at IFFR

Kirsty is Head of Production for VR Days Europe and also on the International Film Festival Rotterdam team as a producer for the narrative content programme (IFFR Pro x VR Days) that connects the two festivals. Some more recent freelance projects include licensing/buying for the Indian Block chain VOD platform, myNK and producing XR Gaming & LBVR content markets. Kirsty is based in Amsterdam.