Familiar & Brand-New Productions at the Russian Fulldome Festival

In our latest article we introduced the Russian Fulldome Festival as an ambitious player on the global fulldome stage. Despite its novelty, this event has already established a tradition for further Russian festivals, like “International MultiDome Science and Art Festival” in Novosibirsk. Such festivals offer planetarians a chance to find themselves in the midst of like-minded enthusiasts and engage into heated discussions of their favourite topics – science, high technologies and, definitely, fulldome films.

Since the Russian Fulldome Festival is held every other year, the number of programs included in the short list has got pretty big, with total of 50 feature films, music shows and shortcuts being demonstrated this year. During the Festival viewers watched productions from Russia, Ukraine, the USA, France, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain, India, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan. While some films were trying to reveal the mysteries of outer space, astronomy, geography, biology and other exact sciences, the others were devoted to such spheres of art as painting, music and literature.

The beginning of the 2nd Russian Festival was marked by a live laser show which set the perfect mood for the following days. While standing near the dome center, the performer delivered a dazzling dance with laser beams, practically juggling with the light in his hands. After such an impressive performance, the Festival attendees were more than willing to start with the film program.

Of course, many productions had been already demonstrated on international fulldome festivals throughout the world, but they were completely new for Russian planetarians, who travelled a long way to watch the best foreign films, get the hang of western fulldome trends and hear valuable opinions on their own productions.

We have recently published the list of the Festival winners, but it would be only fair to repeat the titles of the shows honored with Audience Choice Awards: "A Starry Tale", produced by Kagaya Studios won the prize in the Feature Film category; Valentina Tereshkova Cultural and Educational Centre and Svensons Art Media, received the prize in the Musical Show category; and LIGHT, produced by ZEISS was declared the best Short Film.

Besides well-known shows of respectable companies and planetariums, the Festival gave stage to new films and music shortcuts produced in Russia and neighboring countries. Certainly, they still have a lot to catch with, but there are powerful and creative ideas lying in their core. The demonstrated non-scientific films and clips indicated a significant shift in peoples’ attitude towards planetariums and fulldome content, in general. As Sergei Yazev, the Jury member and Professor of Irkutsk State University, adopted our quote:

Nowadays the dome is no longer about stars and black holes. It is as much about science as entertainment.

Among those films that premiered during the Russian Festival, we should specifically mention two shows produced by the Donetsk Planetarium: “Journey to the Solar System” (in collaboration with Fulldome Film Society) and “Dynamic Earth” (not to be confused with the production by Spitz). The educational content delivered by both films has a very good quality and offers profound coverage of the chosen topic. The narration is really engaging and, combined with stunning visuals, it immerses viewers into the mystical world of the infinite universe.

We all know what is currently happening in Ukraine, it is clearly going through a rough time, and it is definitely admirable and remarkable that, despite all problems and drawbacks, they could produce such appealing shows. All the workers of the Donetsk Planetarium deserve our full support and unconditional respect for their great and creative contribution to the fulldome content.

Their films, as well as other competitive productions, could be seen not only by professional planetarians during the day, but also by the general public in the evening. Moreover, a few Festival attendees (including FDDB representatives) were brought to Tutaev (a small town nearby Yaroslavl) for the opening ceremony of a portable planetarium, so that even more people and, particularly, children could watch fulldome films, sent to Russian from all corners of the world.

All in all, it was great to perceive that fulldome breaks geographical and political barriers, exposing brilliant productions to the world audience and encouraging further creative collaboration. We have seen a clear sign that the Russian fulldome media look up to its western counterpart and are ready to adopt its best features. Namely, the development of the Russian fulldome community became the topic of many workshops in the course of the Festival, but this is the story for our next article.

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