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Epic Cinematic Experience Stay Alive My Son On The Bill For Belfast XR Festival

The heart-wrenching voyage of survival Stay Alive My Son has been confirmed as one of the experiences for this year’s Belfast XR Festival later this month.


Based on the internationally acclaimed memoirs of Pin Yathay, this immersive story thrusts audiences into the poignant shoes of a father facing unimaginable choices during the Cambodian genocide.


For 60 minutes attendees will be able to embark on a tragic voyage of survival, an epic cinematic journey spanning 45 years.

Stay Alive My Son, the directorial debut by Victoria Bousis, is a virtual reality experience that places audiences in the shoes of a pained father forced to make the gut-wrenching decision to abandon his six-year-old son to survive during the Cambodian genocide.


Organisers of the festival describe it as the ultimate “gripping tale of love, sacrifice and resilience”.


Deepa Mann-Kler, director and curator for Belfast XR Festival added: “It’s an honour to be sharing Stay Alive, My Son with audiences across Northern Ireland, made by Victoria Bousis, a visionary, who truly pushes the boundaries and limitations of what can be created with virtual reality.


“This story has won every global award going and it is a huge coup for Belfast to be bringing this work here.


“Victoria has created an epic, stunning, AAA cinematic experience. Stay Alive, My Son enables you to be the father, where you begin your journey for atonement, travelling from cavernous labyrinths to the magnificent temple of Angkor Wat. At its heart this is a story of compassion. In todays’ world we need these stories now more than ever.”


Belfast XR, now in its third year, specialises in curating worldclass immersive technology content that takes the art of storytelling to a new level.


The innovative arts festival which will once again merge technology and art to create a unique virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experience for attendees.


Extended Reality or ‘XR’ is the collective name for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). VR is a computer-generated artificial environment with scenes that appear to be real, while AR is a digital overlay onto the real world, which is viewed through your phone or an iPad.


Speaking of the annual Belfast XR Festival, which is an annual gathering for the XR arts – storytelling, visual arts, music, drama, dance, literature and theatre, Deepa said bringing virtual and augmented reality content to new audiences locally is something the team at Belfast XR are passionate about: “I have been working with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) since 2016  with my company Neon. During that time I have been fortunate to visit XR Festivals across the USA and Europe.


“I realised that  there are so many incredible stories being told in this medium that audiences in Northern Ireland never get the opportunity to experience. This was my key motivation.


“Our ambition is to create an unmissable annual gathering for XR that inspires storytelling and our passion is to bring the best global virtual and augmented reality content to new local audiences. You don’t need to have used a virtual reality headset before, as our team will guide you through the whole process.”


Running on Wednesday February 28 and Thursday 29 at the Black Box, this year’s festival theme is Legacy which will offer attendees the chance to experience world history in captivating ways allowing audiences to step into the past, interact with historical figures, and explore significant events firsthand.


Belfast XR Festival is both for XR enthusiasts and those who haven’t experienced any form of XR in the past.


Deepa explained: “The Festival is aimed at 16+ years of age and is open to everyone. You don’t need to have experienced AR, VR or any of these types of experiences before. We  have an amazing team who will guide you through the whole process from the minute you step into The Black Box.


“I want people to have memorable experiences. I want them to be altered, in a good way. I want them to talk about how it made them feel. I want to increase their appetite to experience more.


The Belfast XR Festival is supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. It is also supported by the Department for Communities through Northern Ireland Screen, Digital Catapult NI, Future Screens NI and Ulster Screen Academy.


For more information follow Belfast XR Festival on social media or go to belfastxrfestival.com 

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