Leeds, Leeds Star
Leeds International Film Festival offers an epic city-wide celebration of global filmmaking culture, with an incredible choice of film experiences at its 30th Anniversary edition.
5 mins read

Explore virtual Leeds as city’s spectacular annual film festival returns

Commuters in Leeds can step into the world of virtual reality to explore the city in a whole new way as part of this year’s 30th Leeds International Film Festival.

From today (Thursday) the Bruntwood Virtual Reality Booth will be available to try on the North Concourse of Leeds City Station.

The free experience is open to all and offers an exciting range of virtual experiences specially curated for Leeds audiences who are invited to enter the booth, don a headset, and explore the VR phenomenon.

The experiences on offer include a sneak peek inside the new Platform development, the former City House adjacent to Leeds Station, currently being developed by Bruntwood: a family-owned and run property company that specialises in creating places for business success.

The new building is due to open in May 2017, but viewers at the Bruntwood Virtual Reality Booth will be the first to preview the stunning view from the roof garden in virtual reality, which offers unparalleled views of the city skyline, as well exploring the workspaces on offer at the building that have been specially developed to facilitate collaboration.

Newly commissioned for the 30th Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF30) is Welcome to Leeds, a City in Bloom: a 360 degree journey through Leeds’ most iconic landmarks. Created by Surround Vision, the UK’s leading specialist in 360º content creation, the experience is narrated through a new poem specially written for the project by Leeds Young Authors’ Khadijah Ibrahiim and Saju Ahmed.

The journey begins at Leeds Bridge, the site of the first ever moving image, and transports viewers through the city’s most beloved landmarks, from the Corn Exchange to Leeds Dock, to the University of Leeds’ Parkinson Building and the newly-opened Victoria Gate.

Also on offer inside the VR booth are some of the most acclaimed creations in virtual reality to date from around the world for all ages:

– Invasion!: From the director of the beloved Madagascar comes a colorful VR animated short about a duo of aliens with grand ambitions to take over our world and destroy anyone who tries to stop them. Instead, they are greeted by the cutest and cuddliest animals on the planet – two adorable, white bunnies….and you are one of them!

– Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness What is it like to be blind? The VR companion piece to the acclaimed documentary Notes on Blindness is created from the diaries of academic John Hull as he slowly loses his vision. Each scene addresses a memory, a moment and a specific location from John’s audio diary, using binaural audio and real time 3D animations to create a fully immersive experience in a ‘world beyond sight’.

Colosse: A real-time virtual reality storytelling experience, where you are in charge of the story in a unique, fantastical setting. This animated tale is formed by the viewer’s gaze – the things they pay most attention to – which directs the experience around them, giving them a subtle control over events as they unfold.

Kate Vokes, Marketing and HR director at Bruntwood said:

“We’re delighted to be partnering, for the first time, with Leeds International Film Festival. When we seek out sponsorship opportunities we look for the chance to do more than just simple brand association, we look for partners that add cultural vibrancy to our cities and LIFF certainly does this.

We have collaborated with LIFF on a virtual reality experience as this matches two of Bruntwood’s passions, the development of cities and supporting the arts. We can’t wait for the people of Leeds to see what we’ve got in store and for them to take a virtual tour of Platform so that they can see the part that Bruntwood is playing in the development of the city.”

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “It’s exciting to see the Leeds International Film Festival returning for what will be its 30th year celebrating the very best of the film industry, both locally and internationally.

“Over the last three decades, the festival has grown to become a cornerstone of our cultural offering and a fitting tribute to Leeds’s proud history as a place that not only has a passion for film, but which nurtures and supports those wanting to break into the industry.

“As this year’s eclectic programme shows, the festival organisers also continue to innovate and offer something new and interesting year after year and I’m sure next month’s event will be a landmark occasion.”

Chris Fell, Director of Leeds International Film Festival said:

“Alternate reality experiences like VR are quickly becoming more accessible and 2016 is a watershed year for the technology behind them. We wanted to introduce virtual reality into our programming this year and our partnership with Bruntwood gave us a great opportunity to create a unique film experience that we could share with everyone in a specially-designed booth at Leeds Station.

“Film festivals are about celebrating their locations as well as cinema. We’re delighted the Bruntwood Virtual Reality Booth and the Surround Vision film gives everyone a chance to enjoy a new experience of Leeds, a city in bloom indeed.”


The LIFF VR Booth is located in the North Concourse of Leeds Station

Thursday 3rd November – Thursday 17th November

  • 08:00 to 20:00 Monday – Friday
  • 09:00 to 20:00 Saturday
  • 10:00 to 18:00 Sundays
  • FREE (drop in)


Including visiting the booth and image requests



Leeds International Film Festival offers an epic city-wide celebration of global filmmaking culture, with an incredible choice of film experiences at its 30th Anniversary edition. Across 15 days you will find over 300 events at 30 venues, including independent and multi-screen cinemas, concert and music halls, art and community centres, universities and colleges, bars – and even boats!

We invite you to explore the LIFF30 programme, which features five different film festival sections. Be among the first to see new films from around the world in Official Selection, see and hear the world differently through documentary events in Cinema Versa, take on the forces of cult and fantasy cinema in Fanomenon, witness the mini wonders of the short film universe in Short Film City and discover rarely-screened classics and revisit all-time favourites in Retrospectives. We hope you enjoy the adventure!

Full LIFF30 Festival Passes are now on sale for £95 Single / £170 Double. www.leedsfilm.com

Bruntwood is a family-owned and run property company that specialises in creating the right places for people to succeed.

With over 117 properties across four UK cities, we provide office space, serviced and virtual offices, meeting rooms and retail premises to companies across a range of different business sectors.

Over our 40-year history, we have developed a proven business model based on an innovative approach to property development, combined with a single minded focus on the needs of the customer.

We develop, let and manage all of our own properties, allowing us to seamlessly control the whole experience to make sure it meets customer’s expectations at every stage. We don’t see ourselves as a landlord but rather as our customers’ property partner, making sure that their choice of premises adds the best possible benefit to the way their business works.

We have a fundamental belief that there is always a way to improve the world around us and that as a business we have a responsibility to always leave things better than we find them. That’s why each year, along with the Oglesby family shareholders, we invest in the life of the cities we operate in by donating in excess of 10% of profits to art, charitable, environmental and medical initiatives.

For further information please visit: www.bruntwood.co.uk

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