Dome Fest West makes its immersive debut at OCC’s Planetarium

Founder and Executive Director Ryan Moore welcomes the audience to opening night of Dome Fest West on Friday at OCC’s Planetarium.


Dome Fest West kicked off its three-day immersive film festival on Friday at Orange Coast College’s Planetarium

After a year of film festivals being non-existent due to COVID-19, Dome Fest West Founder and Executive Director Ryan Moore collaborated with other film festival organizers around the world to create the Best of Earth Festival

“We were like, 'hey let's make up for lost time and do four film festivals,'” Moore said. 

The other festivals are held in Germany, UK and Melbourne this weekend as well. Dome Fest West planned on having its iteration at the Griffith Observatory, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, those plans changed and it was moved to the Planetarium.

“OCC’s Planetarium is something that we have on campus that is specifically for the community to bring people from the outside in,” Director of the Planetarium Scott Mitchell said. “It is especially important for STEM outreach, bringing in local schools, showing them different fields of science and hopefully getting [students] excited about STEM careers.”

Mitchell is looking forward to what this new endeavor will bring for the Planetarium. “We’re really excited to be part of [the festival] and to be showing off this really interesting visual medium,” Mitchell said. 

Out of 120 submissions, 19 films were nominated to win The Best of Earth competition. “We took some of the best educational, artistic and experimental films and highlighted all of them throughout the festival,” Moore said. 

On opening night, Atlas of a Changing Earth premiered and captured the audience with its focus on the changes Earth has undergone and how it will compare in the future due to the rising global temperatures. This 24-minute feature will show again on Sunday at 3 p.m.

On Saturday at 4 p.m., Beautifica, a 60-minute film, will premiere at the festival and is expected to hit theaters around the country within the 12 months. 

Described as an educational film, In the Land of the Flabby Schnook, a six-minute children’s film premiered Saturday during the “Learning Made Fun” Block. 

Immersive dome experiences are a relatively small thing at the moment, however, it is ready to grow much bigger. In Los Angeles, there is a multimode “immersive art park” called Wisdome LAMystic Universe is the current interactive exhibit on display there. 

In Las Vegas, MSG Sphere is currently being developed and is expected to arrive in 2023. The cost to build this dome performance venue is $1.8 billion. 

“We’re so small and so niche, but we love it so much,” Moore said.

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