Update: The film mixer featuring Headcase VR co-founder Lucas Foster has been cancelled. Foster could not attend because of an illness, according to the Sarasota County Film and Entertainment Office.
Will the films of tomorrow feel more like a visit to Star Trek’s holodeck? What once seemed a possibility only within the realm of science fiction now seems close to reality with technology like Oculus Rift on the market. Now, the question may be whether the makers of art are prepared to work in an immersive world. Jeanne Corcoran, director of the Sarasota County Film and Entertainment Office, wants to ensure filmmakers on the Suncoast have the knowledge they need regarding virtual reality. “This is the latest and greatest breakthrough in filming techniques,” Corcoran said.
The film commission on March 3 will bring Lucas Foster, co-founder of Headcase VR and the producer of films including Mr. and Mrs. Smith, to Sarasota to speak at a mixer. “This will help our community become cutting edge,” Corcoran said. Since companies like Oculus have directed recruiting efforts toward institutions like Ringling College of Art and Design in the past, Corcoran expects young filmmakers to take a particular interest in this event. “We do expect a lot of student attendance,” she predicted. “It is their generation of technology, their brave new world. Students of all types, whether it’s filmmaking or cinematography or new technology or animation, all have a stake in new technology.”
Foster recently sat on a panel about virtual reality at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Corcoran said it’s exciting to see him come to Sarasota on the heels of an internationally watched event, and that the expertise will be especially valuable now as major investments in film infrastructure get made. She noted post-production and soundstage facilities have been created or are under construction at a number of educational institutions in town. But virtual reality technology could also be of interest in related fields like medicine and scientific research; Sarasota is also home to companies like BioLucid, which have incorporated computer animation into scientific software applications. “This is a happening place for this kind of discussion,” Corcoran said.
The Film and Entertainment Mixer will be held March 3, 5:30-7:30pm, at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus. Tickets are $15 if ordered before the end of February and $20 at the door. Go to filmsarasota.com for more information.