Lijo Jose Pellissery hopes for virtual reality option
In a open letter, filmmaker Lijo Jose Pellissery states that VR might make up for lost theatre experience
"Listen to mad people they can change the world." So begins director Lijo Jose Pellissery’s new letter written to, in his words, "address a creative dilemma."
The filmmaker said he was disheartened by rumours of a tentpole release like Tenet being considered for an online release (the studio backing the Christopher Nolan film has already confirmed that they are not thinking of an OTT release) and the fact that many major film festivals are being conducted online.
Lijo, whose upcoming film Churuli is said to be heavy on extraordinary visuals, hinted that his film is better experienced on the big screen. “In the context of the pandemic, I thought of many options like an online release, prop-up film tents and modular cinemas seating limited to 20 people. As social distancing is a need of the time, the social movie-going experience was no more an option along with mounting legal barriers, and an online release would not do justice to the art.”
The Ee Ma Yau director thinks there is a solution to this. “The idea is to bridge the gap between the creator and viewer by introducing matchbox cinema headset into the equation. (This is, basically, a VR headset which can be converted for a cinema hall experience).” Lijo then went on to list the ideal VR specifications for an optimal viewing experience.
Lijo added that he has pondered ways to make VR accessible for everyone. “Cheaper ones brought more problems and the ones with quality weren’t affordable for all. This prompted the need for a distribution system, much like our old movie libraries. How do we implement this? Imagine an additional device on the library rack, a VR headset. Synonymous to a book library providing the reader with the reading experience, VR facilitates cinema hall experience to viewers. You can implement this immediately because it is an enhancement of a personal experience, just like buying brand new headphones.”
He pointed out that a single idea may revolutionise the industry and said he is close to implementing his film in a VR platform by talking to various companies. The statement has kickstarted a discussion on social media. Some brought up the impracticality of the idea while others supported it. Some questioned the filmmaking format of a VR-friendly release and opined that nothing can replace the theatrical experience.