Belfast Telegraph

Cinema-goers to get plugged in for ultimate sensory experience at Belfast Film Festival

By Amanda Poole

In a world first, creative technology will collide with horror fans at this year’s Belfast Film Festival.

Over three nights in April, movie-goers will sit back, plug in and “enjoy’ the sensory journey that is Biosuite — an emotional-response cinema experience.

Selected theatre seats will monitor pulse rate and skin response, triggering subtle sound and image changes to the unfolding story, during the screening of Unsound.

The short horror film has been brought to the festival by Belfast production company Filmtrip, in collaboration with the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen's.

The scary screenings will take place in the SARC Sonic Lab, the world’s only 360-degree, 48-channel sound theatre. Each night’s Biosuite experience will also |involve the screening of a classic David Cronenberg feature film.

Miguel Ortiz, a research fellow at SARC, is responsible for the sound design and score on Unsound. He said after further development this type of experience could be rolled out in movie theatres across the world.

“It’s been challenging, but very interesting and so rewarding. It links to some of the work we have been doing at SARC with physiological response to music,” he said. “The public’s real-time responses will influence scenes and music. The current system will be used and that involves five electrodes being placed on each person’s fingers, so it’s very non-invasive.”

Gawain Morrison, producer at Filmtrip, said: “It will be a unique cinema experience for whoever is in one of the hot seats.

“At Filmtrip we are all about multi-platform projects and pushing technology in areas that this has never been done in before.”

Mr Morrison said when discussing the script and genre, horror was the obvious choice.

“It was a no-brainer because of the ‘boo’ moments and the tension,” he said.

Hot seats are on a first come, first served basis — to be in with |a chance of winning email contact details to before April 6.

More information is also available at


Unsound is a 10-minute horror starring Stella McCusker and Richard Dormer which will be followed by one of these classic David Cronenberg films:

Sunday, April 10: Scanners — 1981 sci-fi horror about a corporation using people with telepathic and telekinetic skills.

Monday, April 11: Naked Lunch — 1991 adaptation of William S Burroughs’ novel.

Tuesday, April 12: Videodrome — A sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see life and the future of media spin out of control.

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