'Symphony' triumphs in the themed entertainment industry with one of the Thea Awards

The film, promoted by the "la Caixa" Foundation in collaboration with the director Gustavo Dudamel, has won the Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement - Immersive Experience, awarded by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA)
Recording of the 'Symphony' experience with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel

PHOTO/LA CAIXA  -   Recording of the 'Symphony' experience with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel

The film 'Symphony', promoted by the "la Caixa" Foundation in collaboration with the director Gustavo Dudamel and directed by Igor Cortadellas, has won the Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement - Immersive Experience, as announced by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) at a press conference held in Orlando. 

The award will be presented at Disneyland Park in Los Angeles at the 28th annual Thea Awards gala on 23 April 2022. Since 1994, the Thea are awards of excellence presented annually to creators, theme parks, exhibits and experiences to recognise their achievements and talents within the themed entertainment industry. 

In October, 'Symphony' was honoured at the 40th Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF Immersed 2021) with the Best Cinematic Live Action Award. In addition, at the end of September, it received a special mention at the Guanajuato International Film Festival in Mexico. In July, the short film was a finalist at the Cannes International Film Festival, in the VeeR Future Award - Cannes XR - Marché du Film circuit, where virtual reality films are presented. 

La filmación final de ‘Symphony’ tuvo lugar en el Gran Teatro del Liceo de Barcelona en agosto de 2019 bajo la batuta del director de orquesta Gustavo Dudamel y los músicos de la Mahler Chamber Orchestra
PHOTO/LA CAIXA - The final filming of 'Symphony' took place at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona in August 2019 under the baton of conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the musicians of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

The immersive and panoramic film has also been a finalist at the Melbourne International Film Festival; at the ShorTS International Film Festival of Trieste - Maremetraggio; at the AIXR International VR Award, and at the Festival of International Virtual and Augmented Reality Stories (FIVARS), the latter two, still pending to be held and the jury's verdict; the panoramic film has also been a finalist at the Hawaii International Film Festival, where it will be screened on 20 and 21 November; at the International Short Film Festival of Cyprus, and at the AMUA. Festival de Cortometraje Musical de Hondarribia, which will take place from 3 to 5 December. 

Currently, the 'Symphony' experience can be seen in a permanent space set up at CaixaForum Barcelona, with prior reservation of tickets, where the experience has a specific architecture to live this immersion with an improved quality. It is also being screened in Amsterdam, at the Church of VR, where virtual reality content is being shown as part of the VRDays Europe festival. 

The project, which premiered on 15 September 2020 at CosmoCaixa Barcelona to great public and critical acclaim, offers spectators an unprecedented way of experiencing and enjoying classical music. For the first time, spectators can place themselves in the middle of a symphony orchestra in this immersive experience using cutting-edge virtual reality technology. This unique project began a tour in September 2020 that will tour around a hundred cities in Spain and Portugal over ten years. So far, it has already visited Madrid, Malaga, Valladolid, Toledo, Santander, Castellón de la Plana, Alicante, Pamplona, Granada and Murcia.

Más de 250 personas han trabajado y colaborado para hacer realidad el proyecto de ‘Symphony’
PHOTO/LA CAIXA - More than 250 people have worked and collaborated to make the 'Symphony' project a reality.

The starting point of the project, on which work has been going on for more than four years, was to talk about the emotional power of music from an informative point of view. From the outset, the "la Caixa" Foundation opted for virtual reality as the best way of explaining this story. Cutting-edge technology has facilitated what would otherwise not have been possible: sitting next to the violins in a great symphony orchestra while Beethoven is performed. The intention is to appeal to all audiences, including those who are already connoisseurs of classical music. 

'Symphony' is a two-part, two-film experience of 12 minutes each. In the first part, viewers can watch a panoramic film that introduces them to this journey by guiding them through sounds only. The second unit is dedicated to the virtual reality experience. 

When viewers put on the glasses, they suddenly discover that their surroundings have changed. They are now in the Gran Teatro del Liceo, seated in a chair, and Maestro Gustavo Dudamel, the soul of the Gustavo Dudamel Foundation, welcomes them. They are then surrounded by the musicians of a symphony orchestra, all in silence, waiting for the conductor's cue, who energetically gives the entrance to Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. The very famous four notes that begin this symphony mark the start of the experience. 

‘Symphony’ premiada con uno de los premios Thea Awards
PHOTO/LA CAIXA - 'Symphony' wins one of the Thea Awards

The audience will see the musicians distributed around the stage in their usual form, in families of strings, wind, brass and percussion, and will feel them very close in a real way, just as they will fully experience the energy and gaze of the conductor, situated right in front of them. This musical experiment will allow them to turn their heads from side to side and up and down to acquire new views and perspectives of a symphony orchestra and its instrumentalists.