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Family movies with a virtual reality twist

Elsie Adamo

The Canberra International Film Festival pride themselves on offering a wide range of films and events that will allow everyone to find something they will enjoy, including the young Canberrans amongst us.

The carefully curated 2016 program has two children’s films showing – a 40th anniversary viewing of Storm Boy and the Canberra premiere of Chinese film The Magic Brush – as well as a unique opportunity to experience Virtual Reality (VR).

The much-loved Australian children’s classic Storm Boy has been restored by the National Film and Sound Archive and is being shown on Sunday 30 October. Centered around a young boy living with his reclusive father in the Coorong, Mike becomes friends with a local Indigenous man who names him Storm Boy and bequests that he looks after an uncared nest of pelicans.

The film explores the struggle between Mike’s impending adolescence and his connection with his father against the backdrop of rural Australia. Storm Boy has been loved for 40 years, and this is the perfect opportunity to bring your children along to enjoy Australian cinematic history with a story that is still charming and relevant today.

The showing will be followed by a Q and A with cinematographer Geoff Burton and other Storm Boy filmmakers.

The Magic Brush, written and directed by Zhi-xing is the story of a little boy who loves to paint. Given a magic brush by the Ink Sage that makes his painting come to life, he is instructed to use the brush – with the help of his friends – to help the village defeat the evil General.

The story is based on the beloved Chinese novel by the same name, first published in the 1950s. While it’s an adventure for kids of all ages, parents should be mindful that The Magic Brush is in Mandarin with English subtitles.

Along with these films, the Canberra International Film Festival, partnered with the Canberra Arboretum, is offering children and adults alike the chance to experience an immersive 3D experience with the EcoVR, a virtual reality ecosystem data viewer.

During the virtual reality experience, you will be immersed in “a 3D interactive model of the National Arboretum…where time-series environmental data is overlaid on a spatially accurate 3D model of the ANU research forest,” explains EcoVR creators The Borevitz Lab.

“The cutting edge of screen arts technology and provides a glimpse into what the future might hold for interactive science and cinema”.

You can find out more information about EcoVR here. There are four sessions over both weekends during the Festival. Tickets are free, and sure to be fun for the whole family.

the essentials

What: Canberra International Film Festival
When: 27 October – 6 November
Where: Films will be showing at the National Film and Sound Archive and the EcoVR at the Canberra Arboretum

HerCanberra are proud sponsors of The Canberra International Film Festival.


Elsie Adamo

Elsie originally hails from South Australia but after almost five years in the Capital likes to consider herself now as a local. A student at ANU she keeps herself busy on campus with student societies and now interning at HerCanberra. Her great loves include sitcoms, podcasts, bookstores, cider, brunch and online shopping. More about the Author

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