The Belfast XR Festival, supported by Future Screens NI and Northern Ireland Screen, today announces the complete line-up for its inaugural programme, showcasing the best of local and international immersive technology content.

The festival takes place for one day on Wednesday, 9th November 2022 at The Black Box, Hill Street, Belfast as part of the 22nd Belfast Film Festival running from 3 to 12 November 2022. Its goal is to create an unmissable annual XR gathering that inspires storytelling.

Programmed by Deepa Mann-Kler, Belfast XR Festival Director, this year’s programme showcases a rich selection of works from creators working at the forefront of emerging technologies, including interactive virtual reality and screen-based installations.

The festival brings together 10 projects from countries across the world (Ireland, Canada, Poland, UK, Germany, Switzerland). Three projects are from Northern Ireland, and eight have lead artists that identify as women or with mixed-gender production teams. This year’s programme also shines a light on some of the most urgent social and political issues of our time, with works exploring vital topics such as the climate emergency, loneliness, and estrangement during lockdown.

The festival is also proud to showcase work by the BAFTA award-winning filmmaker Antonin Niclass. In Midnight Story narrated by BAFTA award-winning actress Miriam Margolyes. Also included is Genesis, by German filmmakers Maria and Joerg Courtial, in which 4.7 billion years of evolution are condensed into an intense 24-hour journey.

Capacity for the festival is limited.


What is XR?

Everyone is talking about the metaverse but what does it mean? Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated artificial environment with scenes that appear to be real, making a person feel as if they are immersed in their surroundings. 360° films are video recordings where a view in every direction is recorded at the same time. You watch virtual reality and 360° films through a headset. Augmented reality (AR) is a digital overlay onto the real world, which is viewed through your phone or an iPad. Extended Reality (XR) is the collective name for VR and AR.


Deepa Mann-Kler, Director, Belfast XR Festival says: “We are thrilled to present the inaugural Belfast XR Festival, featuring projects by creators from all over the world and a strong presence of excellent Northern Irish talent. Belfast XR Festival highlights the enormous diversity and vibrancy of the ever-growing international immersive and expanded realities scene, from high-profile international filmmakers who are experimenting with new technologies, to new works from some of the most exciting emerging talent in the field. This year’s programme considers pertinent issues of our time from a hugely diverse range of perspectives and art forms.”

Michele Devlin, Director, Belfast Film Festival says: “BXRF is such an exciting new development. This festival is packed with engaging, new, and innovative ways to experience storytelling. We’re blown away by the quality of work being made for immersive and expanded reality platforms in Northern Ireland right now. The BXRF programme highlights this work and will excite audiences of all ages.”

Hugh Odling-Smee, Project Manager, Film Hub NI says: “Film Hub NI are delighted to be supporting the inaugural Belfast XR Festival. Cinema has always been at the forefront of innovation in screen technology, and we’re delighted to share this opportunity for exhibitors to engage and understand what immersive art means for the cherished collective audience experience. The brilliant Belfast XR Festival programme that is emerging shows that the principles of high-quality storytelling, design, music, and production will apply to XR expansion, just as they have to cinema since the late 19th century.”

Professor Paul Moore, Director, Future Screens NI says: “Future Screens NI is delighted to be supporting the inaugural Belfast XR Festival. It is a critical component in supporting the immersive eco system. It is a platform for content creators to share their work publicly and a chance for young people and the public to access high quality immersive experiences. It is not often that one can stand in both the present and the future at the same moment.”

Richard Williams, CEO of Northern Ireland Screen says: “We are delighted to support the Belfast XR Festival as part of Belfast Film Festival. This is a fantastic platform for local talent to showcase immersive virtual and augmented projects to the public. This is an exciting time for the interactive sector in Northern Ireland and we welcome continued support in this growing economy.”