The Oldenburg International Film Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary by bringing the event to the metaverse. The festival, known as “Germany’s Sundance,” is partnering with German metaverse platform MILC and film critics’ site The Film Verdict.
Their partnership, which began with the Alpha Film Festival in March of this year, aims “to establish a new digital platform for independent filmmakers around the world to premiere their work and break free from the limitations of traditional digital distribution channels.”
Announced Thursday, the virtual festival will allow fans to watch films, attend panels and workshops and network with filmmakers from all over the world. It will also feature a number of exclusive events, including a world premiere screening of a new film by acclaimed director Werner Herzog.
“We are excited to be partnering with MILC and The Film Verdict to bring the Oldenburg International Film Festival into the metaverse,” said festival director Torsten Neumann. “This is a new and exciting way for us to connect with our fans and filmmakers from around the world.”
According to Neumann, “metaverse screenings” may provide international festivals with the means to grant global access to their premieres and exclusive events to fans.
Under the current regulations set by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), international festivals are required to limit access to their world premiere screenings to local, in-person audiences or individual territories. However, Neumann believes that a “metaverse premiere” could be a separate event, free from these restrictions.
The OIFF will be open to the public from September 13-17, 2023. To learn more about the festival, interested parties can visit https://www.filmfest-oldenburg.de/.
How the metaverse will change film festivals
The move by the festival into the metaverse is just one example of how the film industry is embracing new technologies and platforms to reach audiences. As the digital landscape expands, film festivals and filmmakers must adjust and explore novel methods of engaging with their viewers.
“Ever since the world had to move into digital isolation back in 2020, we decided to embrace new and innovative formats for the festival as welcome opportunities,” said Neumann.
“And the sheer idea that entering the MILC metaverse like a virtual territory that claims its own status with regard to digital film premieres could open new perspectives and support, especially for indie films, seems like an exciting path to explore.”
The partnership between the OIFF and MILC has also marked a significant milestone for the film industry’s integration of Web3 technology. The industry has been actively adopting the latest Web3 technology, as evidenced by the increasing production of NFT collections.
More recently, Aventus is partnering with the rights holders of “The Wolf of Wall Street” to create NFTs commemorating the film’s tenth anniversary.
The metaverse offers many new opportunities for filmmakers and audiences and potential benefits for film festivals. For example, in the past, film festivals were limited to those who could travel to the festival location. But with the metaverse, anyone with an internet connection can attend a film festival.