Tag Archives: Father William Fulco

Ancaster’s André van Heerden pens script for virtual reality film

Jesus VR screens at Venice International Film Festival

Venice Film Festival attendees are donning thew virtual reality goggles for the advent of Jesus VR presentation. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)


Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Debra Downey, Ancaster News

Script-writer André van Heerden admits even he “got lost” in the experience of viewing the first feature-length virtual reality film.

A 40-minute preview of Jesus VR – The Story of Christ screened last month at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, and the Ancaster resident and his wife, Carolyn, had front-row seats.

“Because it’s shown in virtual reality, it’s not really a big screen but more of an actual world that you’re suddenly immersed in. It was surreal,” said van Heerden. “…When you’re within that world and you’re able to turn and look wherever you want, you feel like you’re actually there.”

Virtual reality is a relatively new technology for film. The Venice theatre in which it was screened was equipped with 50 virtual reality headsets and individual seats that pivoted 360 degrees.

According to the show-business magazine Variety, if Jesus VR — The Story of Christ is a success, it could help shape the way virtual reality stories are produced and distributed. The film was shot entirely in Matera, Italy, and employed over a hundred crew members and hundreds of extras. It tells the story of Jesus Christ from his birth to his resurrection.

Van Heerden, who has worked in various aspects of film and video production for the past 15 years, said it took about a month to develop the script’s original draft, followed by another six weeks accommodating requests for extra scenes or additional parts to scenes.

Andre Van Heerden at the 73rd International Venice Film Festival. (Photo credit: Ancaster News)

“Because the producers were looking for a faithful and accurate telling of Jesus’ story, a lot of my writing was research based,” said van Heerden. “I wanted to make sure that I picked the most significant parts but also the moments that could be strung together to tell a complete story. Everything came back to Biblical scriptures and making sure that it lined up with them.”

Van Heerden also worked with technical advisor Father William Fulco to ensure the script was scripturally and theologically sound. Fulco was the technical advisor on the highly acclaimed movie The Passion of the Christ.

Jesus VR — The Story of Christ is slated to be released around Christmas on all major virtual reality platforms, including Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive.

(Source: http://www.hamiltonnews.com)

Jesus VR – The Story of Christ: a special 40-minute preview of the first feature length Virtual Reality film

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 1.19.26 PMThe 73rd Venice International Film Festival presents the world premiere screening, in a special 40-minute preview, of Jesus VR – The Story of Christ, the first Virtual Reality feature-length film ever made, a new immersive experience that is revolutionizing the world of cinema. The film, which runs 90 minutes, is produced by AUTUMN™ VR Inc. and VRWERX, LLC.

For four days, from September 1st to the 4th, all accredited visitors to the Venice Film Festival are invited to experience this technology applied to the preview of Jesus VR – The Story of Christ, for a short time, or for the entire duration. The screening will be held in the new VR Theatre, on the second floor of the Casinò, which will be equipped with 50 VR Head Gears for individual viewing on seats that pivot 360°.

Festival Director, Alberto Barbera

“We are particularly happy to present the world’s first virtual reality feature film. – declared Alberto Barbera, director of the Venice Film Festival. – JESUS helps show the narrative and spectacular potential of this new technology, which until now has been limited to brief films. The presentation is particularly important because this year the updated film market, now called Venice Production Bridge, is also presenting 6 VR projects among the 40 proposed audiovisual products in search of financing, alongside movies, documentaries, TV series and web series. It is a sign of the attention the Venice Film Festival pays to the sweeping changes which are helping redefine the horizons of the production of images in motion.”

Virtual Reality is a new revolutionary expressive means that is redefining the forms of cinema and the media industry, offering new creative opportunities to directors and artists, to tell new stories and explore original innovative languages.

Jesus VR – The Story of Christ offers audiences an experience that is unparalleled in its immediacy, going back 2,000 years in time to witness the story of Jesus Christ from his birth to his resurrection, from his baptism to his first miracles, through the last hours of his crucifixion.

Jesus VR – The Story of Christ was shot entirely in Matera in 4K 360° with an all-Italian crew. This is the first and most ambitious feature-length Virtual Reality film ever produced, employing the biggest VR production crew ever, with over a hundred crew members and hundreds of extras.

Enzo Sisti is the executive producer of Jesus VR – The Story of Christ, and in earlier years was the executive producer of The Passion of the Christ (2004). The religious advisor is Father William Fulco, who was also religious advisor on The Passion of the Christ.


Jesus VR – The Story of Christ was directed and produced by David Hansen with his partner Johnny Mac through Autumn™ VR and VRWERX’s Alex Barder and Russell Naftal.

“We’re proud to have shot this entire innovative film in Italy with a mostly Italian crew”, says Executive Producer Enzo Sisti, “It’s fantastic that the first place we’re screening it is in the fabulous Venice International Film Festival.”

Jesus VR – The Story of Christ will be available this Christmas on all major Virtual Reality platforms including Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and the HTC VIVE.


The Biennale Cinema 2016 will run Aug. 31 to Sept. 10. For more information on tickets click here.