24th Festival Platform Award Critiques
In Search of an Unprecedented Experience as If the World Is Falling from the Sky
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, a record-high 114 entries from 34 countries around the world were submitted in 2020, making the judging process very heated. More specifically, there were 41 entries in the Geo-Cosmos Category (22 in the previous year) and 73 in the Dome Theater Category (24 in the previous year), doubling or tripling from the previous year. It gave me the impression that expressions in formats such as fulldome images have surely become more popularized lately than in the past. I also found signs this year that many creators worldwide are seeking new ways of expression in such formats. In the Geo-Cosmos Category, many digitalized expressions had been seen in the past, but this year, there were many works integrating an analog feel, or a human touch. The award-winning work in this category, Chigiru is no exception. Collages consisting of various colored and textured torn paper form an animation on the spherical surface, and many jury members were moved by this work. After being required to be contactless and maintain social distance this year, many people may empathize, be healed, and moved by the work encompassing the warmth and interaction of humans. The Dome Theater Category received many entries that explored diverse expressions using a variety of ideas and technologies. Many challenging and creative expressions were seen, including a fusion of music and video, storytelling, and live performances. In addition, there were many submissions from areas that had fewer entries previously, such as the Middle East, South America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. Just as seen in this year's prize-winning work, L'alter-Monde, the true charm of this category is a unique experience, in which a detailed, elaborate, high-resolution world fills the entire dome with a wide field of view, as if it is falling from the sky with music.