News  ·  19 | 07 | 2021

From the Rotonda to the International Space Station

Thanks to the Geneve International Film Festival and studio BONALUMI Engineering, Locarno74 is ready to take off towards infinity, writing a new chapter in the story of the iconic Piazza Grande booth

You go to space six people at a time. With space travel being all over the news, during the Locarno Film Festival it will be possible to visit the International Space Station while remaining in the Rotonda by la Mobiliare. Thanks to the project conceived with the Geneva International Film Festival and put together with BONALUMI Engineering, from July 30 to August 14 the old Piazza Grande projection booth will feature an incredible virtual reality experience: the film Space Explorers: The ISS Experience, by Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël.  

The film
Space Explorers: The ISS Experience is the biggest film production ever made outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, and now it’s ready to land at the center of the Rotonda by la Mobiliare. Two cameras were left in orbit, with NASA’s consent, to capture over 200 hours of footage inside the International Space Station. Subsequently, in Montreal, Felix & Paul Studios turned this footage into four episodes, two of which will be shown to the Locarno audience: Adapt (29 minutes) and Advance (33 minutes).

The booth
The experience will take place inside an icon of the Locarno Film Festival: the Piazza Grande projection booth. To mark the occasion, BONALUMI Engineering has turned the black box into a small yet large virtual reality space. The original booth, created by Livio Vacchini in 1971 and now on display in the Parco Robinson, was two polyester swimming pools welded together like a seashell. In 1990, Roland Ulmi came up with a new design. The current version, inaugurated in 2006, was perfected by Alessandro Bonalumi and the team of Image & Sound, whose studio went back to the Ulmi variation to turn it into a state-of-the-art virtual experience.  

The screenings
From dawn until dusk, and beyond. The Locarno74 audience will be able to experience the International Space Station from July 30 to August 14, with more than 180 screenings scheduled from 10.30 a.m. until midnight, meaning there can be around 1000 viewers total over sixteen days. Each screening can accommodate six people, with a mandatory Covid certificate*. Price? Free of charge. However, access is granted only via booking – like all other Locarno74 screenings – on the official app or the Festival website.

*The Covid certificate states you’re fully vaccinated, recovered from the virus in the last six months, or had a negative antigen or PCR test result (respectively in the last 48 or 72 hours). The Locarno audience will have the possibility to do quick tests in pharmacies, medical centers or a bespoke test center, for the entire duration of the event. More details to come.