Professor Gina Kim wins VR award at the Venice International Film Festival

"Bloodless" is one of three films honored in the festival's newest category

By Noela Hueso

Gina KimIn the inaugural year of the Venice International Film Festival’s virtual reality competition, a jury led by director John Landis has chosen the 12-minute film Bloodless as the winner in the Best VR Story category, written and directed by Department of Film, Television and Digital Media Professor Gina Kim.

Twenty-two films, in genres spanning from documentary to science fiction, were in competition and three prizes were handed out in the Venice Virtual Reality program. Director Eugene Y.K. Chung received the Best VR award for Arden’s Wake (Expanded); and directors Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang won the Best VR Experience award for La Camera Insabbiata.

This is the first time that a major film festival has included VR in competition — an appreciable confirmation of the medium’s growing permanence in storytelling entertainment. Venice, touted as the oldest film festival in the world, was one of the first major festivals to show interest in the VR genre and in 2016 showcased VR projects in the brand-new VR Theatre at the Palazzo del Casino with seats that pivot 360 degrees.

Bloodless traces the last living moments of a real-life sex worker who was brutally murdered by a U.S. soldier at the Dongducheond camp town in South Korea in 1992. ("Comfort women" have been available to U.S. army soldiers stationed in South Korea since the 1950s.) Portraying the last hours of her life in the camp town, Bloodless transposes a historical and political issue into a personal and concrete experience. The film was shot on location where the crime took place, bringing to light ongoing experiences at the 96 camp towns near or around the U.S. military bases.

The 74th annual Venice International Film Festival, which took place August 30-Sept. 9, opened with a screening of alumnus Alexander Payne’s (M.F.A. ’90) Downsizing.

Posted: September 11, 2017