Virtual reality is coming to the Tribeca Film Festival in a big way this year. Festival visitors will have the chance to try out 19 VR exhibits, most of which are seeing their world premier.
Interactive installations and VR content will be on display to the public at the Festival Hub, a space created just last year that houses what Tribeca calls ‘experiential storytelling’.
Two separate areas will be hosting VR content at the Hub – ‘Storyscapes’ and ‘Virtual Arcade’, both of which will be open during different times, so visitors will need at least 2 full days if they plan on seeing all the VR content that Tribeca has to offer.
Storyscapes is a space dedicated to both VR and interactive exhibits that deal with issues like racism, violence, and the destruction of the environment. A total of 6 VR exhibits will be on display April 14-17 where they will compete for a juried award. Although we’ve omitted non-VR installations in the running for the award, you can head to the Tribeca Storyscapes website for the full list.
The northern white rhinoceros is the most endangered animal on the planet. Only three remain, and they are protected at all times by armed bodyguards. The Ark is a virtual reality documentary that puts viewers face-to-face with the last northern white rhinos, and tells the story of the global coalition scientists who are fighting to rescue the species from extinction.
Project Creators: Jongsma + O’Neill (Eline Jongsma and Kel O’Neill) Key Collaborators: Springbok Entertainment
DEEP VR is a meditative and psychoactive VR experience, controlled by the player’s breathing. Discover a beautiful underwater seascape where the world challenges, surprises, and comforts. Explore the ways in which VR can change our relationship with both body and mind.
Project Creators: Owen Harris and Niki Smit Key Collaborators: Cinekid, Paradoxical Recordings, Bryan Duggan
Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness
After losing his sight in 1983, John Hull began recording an audio-diary documenting his discovery of “a world beyond sight.” John’s original recordings form the basis of this interactive experience, which uses real time 3D, virtual reality, and binaural sound to explore the interior world of blindness. (This project is a 2015 Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund grantee.)
Project Creators: Arnaud Colinart, Amaury La Burthe, Peter Middleton, James Spinney
SENS is the first project to adapt a graphic novel into a virtual reality. It is also a beautifully universal experience that works without words. The game invites you to a trip through a graphic maze: all around you are arrows in ever-changing shapes, showing you the way. Where will it lead you? (Ayats served as the designer of Climate Anxiety at Tribeca Hacks <Story Matter> in 2015.)
Project Creators: Charles Ayats, Armand Lemarchand, and Marc-Antoine Mathieu Key Collaborators: Calcumentor, Franck Webber
The Turning Forest
In a land that never was and a time that could never be, a boy stared into the eyes of a fantastical creature. Around them, a magical forest; in front of them, a magical journey. The Turning Forest is a real-time CG VR experience for people young and old–inviting audiences into a magical space of imagination, where rustling leaves are also the footsteps of something familiar, yet strange. In this place, things are not quite what they seem.
Project Creator: Oscar Raby Key Collaborators: BBC R&D and S3A, and Shelley Silas
6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement
Right now, 80,000-100,000 people are in solitary confinement in the US. They spend 22-24 hours a day in their cells, with little to no human contact for days or even decades. The sensory deprivation they endure causes severe psychological damage. These people are invisible to us—and eventually to themselves. (This is a virtual reality project featured as an installation for the first time. It is also a 2016 TFI New Media Fund grantee.)
Project Creators: The Guardian’s Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton Key Collaborator: The MillBuy a Pass to the Festival Hub
Virtual Arcade is space hosting additional VR experiences from some of the top creators in VR content, where everything from the fantastical to the downright weird (just the way we like it) will be on offer April 18-20.
An orphan girl, living in a fantastical city in clouds, endures tragedy. Lighting enchanted matches, she relives her past and grasps at future hope. The story is a meditation on the sacrifices people make for the greater good. Crafted by Penrose Studios, ALLUMETTE is set in a fully immersive, virtual reality world.
Project Creators: Eugene Chung, Jimmy Maidens, Penrose Studios
THE ARTISTS OF SKID ROW
Ramiro Puentes is an outstanding artist—photographs, paintings, sculpture, poetry. But more than that, he’s risen from crippling poverty and used art to reimagine the streets of Skid Row.
Project Creator: Molly Swenson, Tyson Sadler, Hayley Pappas/RYOT Key Collaborators: Bryn Mooser, LAMP
Playing with movement, space and time, ASHES shares the tragic story of two lovers, told specifically for 360-headset environment. Director/Producer Jessica Kantor draws upon her classical ballet training to bring us this unique piece inspired by choreographer Pina Bausch, known for telling stories through dance.
Project Creator: Jessica Kantor/supported by Vrideo
The Crystal Reef
A rocky reef off the coast of Italy demonstrates the future of climate change. Meet Dr. Fio Micheli, the marine scientist who studies this reef, and dive underwater with her to learn about ocean acidification and how human-produced carbon dioxide will turn all the world’s oceans into what scientists are calling “the ocean moonscape.”
Project Creator: Cody Karutz and Lauren Knapp/Stanford University Key Collaborator: Jeremy Bailenson
The Crystal Reef: Interactive
Experience climate change firsthand in this fully immersive virtual reality experience. Use your hands to swim and examine marine life as you become a scientist and discover “ocean acidification.” Dive through a digital replica of the reefs of Ischia, Italy and learn about how these reefs are a “crystal ball” that show the future of all the world’s oceans.
Project Creator: The Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL) – Key Collaborator: Stanford University
A spectacular dragon embarks on a hero’s journey to do battle against a duplicitous sorcerer and protect the world from the second coming of his ancient and powerful progenitor. DRAGONFLIGHT is the debut project of VR studio Blackthorn Media, an Academy and Emmy Award-winning team of story-tellers, visual effects veterans, programmers and artists.
Project Creators: Michael Conelly, Will Telford, Keith Goldfarb, Lyndon Barrois/Blackthorn Media
HARD WORLD FOR SMALL THINGS
Award-winning film and theater director Janicza Bravo ventures into the world of VR with an exploration of the circumstances and lives affected by a single tragedy in Los Angeles. Drawing from a real-life experience, Bravo and studio collaborators WEVR craft a remarkably powerful narrative that culminates in a devastating conclusion.
Project Creator: Janicza Bravo/WEVR – Key Collaborators: Wevr, Seed&Spark, Han West
HOLIDAYS: CHRISTMAS VR
When a man stoops to dangerous new lows to get his son the ultimate VR headset for Christmas, he finds out more about himself and his family than he ever wanted to know. From writer/director Scott Stewart (Legion, Priest) and starring Emmy Award-winning actor Seth Green and Clare Grant, CHRISTMAS is part of Distant Corners’ HOLIDAYS anthology feature created by John Hegeman and produced in association with XYZ Films.
Project Creators: Distant Corners, Scott Stewart, Amanda Mortimer, Gabriela Revilla Lugo, WEVR
Directed by Eric Darnell (Antz, Madagascar), this interactive and animated film follows menacing aliens with vastly superior technology who come to claim the Earth and destroy anyone in their way. Despite incredible odds, Earth’s citizens rise up and defeat the evil aliens. Surprisingly, these Earthly citizens are not humans but a pair of the cutest, meekest and cuddliest creatures of our planet: two fluffy white bunnies.
Project Creator: Eric Darnell. Maureen Fan/Baobab Studios
Journey across Africa in search of Kanju, “creativity born of struggle.” Visit a floating school rising from the slums of Makoko. Witness President Obama’s historic speech in Nairobi from the press pit. This uplifting, immersive documentary seamlessly layers traditional narrative techniques and 360° live action. Feel the power of storytelling merged with technology and rediscover Africa as the bright continent.
Project Creator: Stephanie Riggs/Azimyth Creation Studios Key Collaborator: The Nantucket Project, Harbers Studios
Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante (Sharknado 1, 2 & 3), Killer Deal follows a struggling machete salesman who runs into trouble when his discount hotel room comes with an unwelcome guest. A very unwelcome guest. The experience takes all the things we love about over-the-top horror and puts the viewer right in the middle of the “splash zone.”
Project Creators: Irad Eyal, Aaron Rothman, Anthony C. Ferrante, iMan Productions, Better VR Studios Key Collaborator: Ian Ziering
My Mother’s Wing
In Gaza, foundations are built, destroyed, and built again. This virtual reality experience follows the struggle and strength of a mother coping with the death of her two children in the 2014 war.
Project Creators: Gabo Arora, Ari Palitz/Vrse.works Key Collaborators: Chris Milk, Patrick Milling Smith, Samantha Storr
Lose yourself in a vibrant psychedelic dance party brimming with joyful insanity. VR filmmaker Tyler Hurd and WEVR present a fun animated VR music video experience for Old Friend by Future Islands. Gaze upon the elegant dance routines and enjoy the blissful absurdity. Unhinge yourself, feel the ridiculousness and dance like everyone is watching.
Project Creator: Tyler Hurd/WEVR