So far in 2017, we’ve seen film festival lineups feature more imaginative and innovative virtual reality experiences than ever before, reflecting creators’ bolder experimentation with VR storytelling as VR technology becomes better and more accessible. Tribeca Film Festival, running April 19-30 in New York City, doesn’t disappoint with their Tribeca Immersive program of 29 VR films and experiences to be showcased in the Virtual Arcade and Storyscapes exhibitions. In recognition of VR storytelling’s ongoing evolution, Tribeca Immersive 2017 features a diverse range of experiences across many genres which aim to push past the current frontier of VR filmmaking.
“As VR has continued to evolve technologically, so has the storytelling. Our mission is to shine a light on those creators pushing the boundaries of the medium to move beyond the demo phase and deliver on the promise of fully realized stories and truly transformative experiences,” said Loren Hammonds, programmer for film and experiential at Tribeca Film Festival.
Here are the VR experiences from the Tribeca Immersive lineup we’re most excited to see:
The Last Goodbye
Project Creators: Gabo Arora, Ari Palitz
Key Collaborator: Stephen Smith, Here Be Dragons, MPC, Otoy, LightShed and USC Shoah Foundation
In July of 2016, Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter toured the Majdanek Concentration Camp in what he vowed would be his final visit. By marrying a stereo video capture of Pinchas within a photoreal roomscale experience, The Last Goodbye reaches profound levels of immersion in service of the first ever VR testimony that will be archived and preserved. The importance of listening to Pinchas’ story is more important now than ever and this is also a beautiful testament to love, compassion and the human spirit.
Project Creator: Jérôme Blanquet
Key Collaborators: James Sénade, Yann Apéry, Antoine Cayrol, Baptiste Chesnais, Pierre Zandrowicz, Jean-françois Blanquet
This is a poetic trip into the future: Alexandro volunteers for an experiment carried out to study dreams. He can’t imagine that he will be subjected to the intrusion of Elsa, a form of Artificial Intelligence who aims to digitize his subconscious in order to feed off it. She’s a vampire… bit by megabit.
The Other Dakar
Project Creator: Selly Raby Kane
Key Collaborators: Electric South, Goethe Institute
A little girl receives a message and discovers the hidden face of Dakar. An homage to Senegalese mythology and a stunningly visual debut from Dakar-based artist and designer Selly Raby Kane, this magical 360 film transports viewers to a place where past and future meet and where artists are the beating heart of the city.
Project Creator: Kevin Cornish
If our minds are a map of every memory we’ve had, what do we become if those memories are stripped away? In this cinematic, room-scale VR experience set against the backdrop of an alien invasion, you are a prisoner being brainwashed by a lost love. As you cycle through your memories, the two of you begin to question what is real and what is imagined.
Project Creator: Alexandre Perez
Key Collaborators: Avi Amar
It’s Leo’s bedtime, but he thinks there is something under his bed. Is it just the harmless imagination of a young boy, or something more sinister? Is it… you? From director Alexandre Perez, Sergeant James recaptures the innocence of youth, the wonder of the unknown, and the folly of fear, while hinting at a far creepier possibility.
Project Creator: Steven Schardt
In the near future, self-driving taxi services employ “safety drivers,” a transitional measure of comfort for passengers. On his first day, Musay, an Ethiopian immigrant with 40 years of driving experience, picks up a couple habituated to the service. Not content with merely sitting, Musay insists on driving, instigating a series of events with substantial consequences.
Project Creator: Ethan Shaftel
Extravaganza mixes 3D animation and live-action footage in a bitingly funny satire. You are a puppet trapped in a stunningly offensive puppet show, performing for a clueless executive (Paul Scheer). Confronted with his glaringly obvious blind spots and prejudices, Extravaganza asks: can technology change society for the better, or does it just magnify our worst traits in new ways?
Project Creator: Zach Richter, Bobby Halvorson, Eames Kolar
Key Collaborators: Chrissy Szczupak, Orin Green, Jess Engel, ECCO VR, International Orange Chorale of SF, Chris Milk, Aaron Koblin
Hallelujah is a revolutionary virtual reality music performance that reimagines Leonard Cohen’s most well-known song. It is the world’s first VR music experience to provide an uncompromised sense of presence with six degrees of freedom using Lytro Immerge technology. A Within Original.
Which VR experiences are you excited about? Let us know on our Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!
Tickets for the Tribeca Immersive program, open to the public April 21, are $40, on sale now.