Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories
Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories (FIVARS) is a media festival that showcases stories or narrative forms from around the world using immersive technology that includes virtual reality, augmented reality, projection mapping and spatialized audio.
Created and directed and curated by Keram Malicki-Sanchez and working with technical director Joseph Ellsworth, in Toronto, Canada in the summer of 2015, the FIVARS - an acronym for the Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories - features a selection of virtual reality and augmented reality experiences that focus on narrative or a form of storytelling. The earliest recorded event was the Camp Wavelength music festival in Toronto, August 28-30th. It is considered to be Canada's first dedicated virtual or augmented reality stories festival, and was the world's first virtual reality festival dedicated completely and exclusively to narrative pieces. FIVARS is operated by Constant Change Arts & Technology Initiative (a not-for-profit) and VRTO (Virtual Reality, Toronto) - a conference and Meetup group. FIVARS then ran its first official festival September 20 and 21 at rock music venue "UG3 Live" in downtown Toronto from 11am to 7pm.
FIVARS returned with a preview pavilion at the VRTO Virtual & Augmented Reality World Conference & Expo in June 2016 and to Camp Wavelength in August of the same year.
The festival continued in 2016 for a second year, September 16–18, 11am to 7pm at MSMU Studios in downtown Toronto. The program was listed a "Public Event You Should Attend" in the syllabus for the Future Cinema program at York University. The festival featured 30 selections - each enhanced by a haptic backpack created by Subpac FIVARS Festival Explores Human Experience Through Virtual Reality, in addition to a custom 3D Audio Chamber created by David McKevy and an augmented reality art gallery by artist Daniel Leighton and presentation by Joergen Geerds of KonceptVR and Daniel Burwen of Jaunt. Ellsworth moved into a tech consulting position.
In 2017, the FIVARS festival featured 35 pieces from 15 countries and was held at the House of VR in Toronto. World premieres included "Sanctuary" by Shivani Melukar, "City of Ghosts" from director Olivier Asselin and CieAR, and IN HIS PRESENCE from director Brenda Colonna and producer Philip Plough, among others.
Immersive Media Awards
The festival awards prizes for People's Choice in two categories: Immersive Video and Interactive Experience and introduced a Grand Jury prize and Impact award in 2017.
On Monday, September 22 the festival announced People's Choice awards for two categories at the Cadillac Lounge - a music venue and restaurant in Toronto.
- Best Interactive Experience: Pearl by Patrick Osborne
- Best Immersive Video: Help by Justin Lin
- Grand Jury Award: Real by Connor Hair and Alex Meader 
- Best Interactive: Alteration
- Best Immersive (Passive): Guardian of the Guge Kingdom
- Impact Award: Priya’s Shakti / Priya’s Mirror
- Grand Jury Prize: Manifest 99 
- Exclaim! Magazine Camp Wavelength Festival Coming to Toronto Island in August
- Digital Journal Inside Canada's first virtual-reality film festival"
- BNN Virtual reality gets its own Canadian festival with FIVARS
- Toronto Star TIFF isn’t the only film festival in town this month
- Huffington Post FIVARS Is the Most Cutting-Edge Storytelling Festival in the World
- Huffington Post 5 Reasons VRTO Will Completely Change the Face of VR
- VRScout VRTO Reinvents the Tech Conference
- Indie88 Radio CAMP WAVELENGTH ANNOUNCE FULL LINEUP & DAILY SCHEDULES
- L'Express POP02 et FIVARS: la réalité virtuelle invitée d’honneur
- York University, Future Cinema 1 - Professor Caitlin Fisher
- NOW Magazine
- CBC Radio: That time I met Jesus in Computerland
- Meetup.com Listing Archive
- Immersive Education Apollo 11 VR wins FIVARS Public Choice Award in Toronto
- Telecommunications Software & Systems Group Two International Awards won by Waterford based VR Company
- SONAR 360
- VRFocus FIVARS Winners Announced
- FIVARS 2017 Winners Announced