Last week Sesqui and the film Horizon were in Sault Ste. Marie. If you haven’t heard of Sesqui (short for Sesquisentinial) it is is a 360° cinematic experience marking Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. It’s traveling across Ontario using a giant canvas dome to show the film Horizon. The 20 minute film features landscapes from across Canada and includes artists from across Canada, the film is projected on the interior of the dome providing an immersive film experience.
The film has no words and was visually quite stunning. Given that this was billed as a part of the 150th commemoration events I (perhaps naively) expected there to be some historical content in the film. There was almost none. The film was much more focused on highlight the physical, geographical, and cultural diversity of the landscape of Canada. There were many segments of people singing, canoeing, skating, skateboarding, and engaged in other outdoor activities. This was paired with wildlife footage and landscape images.
IMAX technology originally premiered in 1967 when the National Film Board launched the In the Labyrinth film at Expo ’67. The Sesqui project connects back to that original leap in film technology by attempting to create a new kind of immersive film experience.
Sesqui has also created a learning hub which includes additional information on select topics including : Arts, Canadian Geography, education, English, Indigenous Studies, Language Arts, Physical Education, and Social Studies. For example, Horizon includes footage of a traditional Haida dance and the work of Haida carver Christian White. The supplemental video material connects these brief segments to large social and cultural traditions and provide historical context to the brief clips that were seen in the Horizon film. The educational material isn’t perfect but it is a good starting point to have larger conversations about the material that was included (and the material that wasn’t) in the film.
Multiple trailers and previews of the content can be found on Youtube and I’ve included one of the trailers below. They also mentioned at the screening that there is an associated app, Meridian VR and that eventually all of the video footage will be available to download via that app.