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OTTO's VR Documentary 'Jafri' Makes the Cut for Toronto International Film Festival

The Otto Empire, 3 months, 1 week ago

Striking portrait piece follows titular character on his Friday afternoons in Melbourne

OTTO's VR Documentary 'Jafri' Makes the Cut for Toronto International Film Festival

The VR documentary short, Jafri, directed by Michael Beets and filmed, produced and set in Melbourne, makes its North American debut at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) next month. The first project by PLaTo Reality, Jafri has been selected to screen as 1 of 5 films in POP VR – a presentation of Virtual Reality cinema from across the globe. Jafri is the only Australian VR project to make it to TIFF, and one of only a handful of extraordinary Australian films selected this year. 

The inclusion of an exclusive VR section in this year’s TIFF is a sign of the rapid pace the VR industry is moving and constantly evolving. 

“The Festival has always been committed to providing audiences with transformative experiences,” says artistic director of TIFF, Cameron Bailey. “We are thrilled to share this curated virtual reality experience with our audiences and explore together where the future of storytelling will take us.”

Jafri is the principal project for Melbourne production house, PLaTo Reality – collaboration between industry heavy weights, Visual Playground and The OTTO Empire. The demand for experiential and fully immersive, cinematic storytelling saw the heads of the two existing companies join forces to give birth to PLaTO,  an end-to-end VR production company. 

The lead of this striking piece, Jafri spends his Friday afternoons standing in the middle of the busiest intersection in Melbourne’s CBD, silently challenging the beliefs of passersby with his simple signs; ‘STOP RACISM NOW’. A portrait piece, Jafri, the documentary, explores the tender and complex man behind the signs as he guides us through his daily life and intimate moments that shape him. VR technology allowed director Michael Beets to immerse the audience in Jafri’s world, untapping an emotional quality to the storytelling that is exclusive to VR technologies.

Michael will be travelling to represent the project at TIFF, which runs from September 8 to 18 in Toronto.