Virtual reality experience opens in Leeds station as part of 30th Leeds International Film Festival


Bruntwood's virtual reality booth gives commuters sneak peak inside Platform, the new development rising above the station.

Commuters will be able to experience the latest technology and explore Leeds like never before in virtual reality from Thursday as the Bruntwood Virtual Reality Booth opens in the North Concourse of Leeds City Station.

As part of the 30th Leeds International Film Festival, also opening Thursday, the free experience is open to all and offers an exciting range of virtual experiences specially curated for Leeds audiences who are invited to enter the booth, don a headset, and explore the VR phenomenon.

The experiences on offer include a sneak peek inside the new Platform development, the former City House adjacent to Leeds Station, currently being developed by Bruntwood: a family-owned and run property company that specialises in creating places for business success. The new building is due to open in May 2017, but viewers at the Bruntwood Virtual Reality Booth will be the first to preview the stunning view from the roof garden in virtual reality, which offers unparalleled views of the city skyline, as well exploring the workspaces on offer at the building that have been specially developed to facilitate collaboration.

Newly commissioned for the 30th Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF30) is Welcome to Leeds, a City in Bloom: a 360 degree journey through Leeds’ most iconic landmarks. Created by Surround Vision, the UK’s leading specialist in 360º content creation, the experience is narrated through a new poem specially written for the project by Leeds Young Authors’ Khadijah Ibrahiim and Saju Ahmed. The journey begins at Leeds Bridge, the site of the first ever moving image, and transports viewers through the city’s most beloved landmarks, from the Corn Exchange to Leeds Dock, to the University of Leeds’ Parkinson Building and the newly-opened Victoria Gate.

Also on offer inside the VR booth are some of the most acclaimed creations in virtual reality to date from around the world for all ages:

Invasion!: From the director of the beloved Madagascar comes a colorful VR animated short about a duo of aliens with grand ambitions to take over our world and destroy anyone who tries to stop them. Instead, they are greeted by the cutest and cuddliest animals on the planet - two adorable, white bunnies….and you are one of them!

Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness What is it like to be blind? The VR companion piece to the acclaimed documentary Notes on Blindness is created from the diaries of academic John Hull as he slowly loses his vision. Each scene addresses a memory, a moment and a specific location from John’s audio diary, using binaural audio and real time 3D animations to create a fully immersive experience in a ‘world beyond sight’.

Colosse: A real-time virtual reality storytelling experience, where you are in charge of the story in a unique, fantastical setting. This animated tale is formed by the viewer’s gaze - the things they pay most attention to – which directs the experience around them, giving them a subtle control over events as they unfold.

Kate Vokes, Marketing and HR director at Bruntwood said:
“We're delighted to be partnering, for the first time, with Leeds International Film Festival. When we seek out sponsorship opportunities we look for the chance to do more than just simple brand association, we look for partners that add cultural vibrancy to our cities and LIFF certainly does this.

We have collaborated with LIFF on a virtual reality experience as this matches two of Bruntwood's passions, the development of cities and supporting the arts. We can't wait for the people of Leeds to see what we've got in store and for them to take a virtual tour of Platform so that they can see the part that Bruntwood is playing in the development of the city.”

Chris Fell, Director of Leeds International Film Festival said:
“Alternate reality experiences like VR are quickly becoming more accessible and 2016 is a watershed year for the technology behind them. We wanted to introduce virtual reality into our programming this year and our partnership with Bruntwood gave us a great opportunity to create a unique film experience that we could share with everyone in a specially-designed booth at Leeds Station.

“Film festivals are about celebrating their locations as well as cinema. We’re delighted the Bruntwood Virtual Reality Booth and the Surround Vision film gives everyone a chance to enjoy a new experience of Leeds, a city in bloom indeed.”

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