Oculus today announced that it’s bringing two VR experiences to this year’s Sundance Film Festival— the previously announced Traveling While Black for Oculus Go & Rift, and the newly unveiled The Under Presents for Oculus Quest.
The Under Presents
Oculus says in a blog post that The Under Presents lets you interact with characters and other participants within the experience’s magical ship called ‘The Under’.
According to Oculus, in ‘The Under’ the user enters a vaudeville stage that exists in a “special dimension outside time and space, where you are guided by a mysterious proprietor. ‘The Under’ operates on a loop with different live and recorded acts coming and going — and the main act ‘The Aickman’ is the story within the story.”
“There is a lot of interest in exploring the overlap of immersive theater and VR,” says Samantha Gorman, co-founder of Tender Claws. “The project’s narrative revolves around fate and free will and as part of that we’re interested in playing with the change of feeling of interacting with both pre-recorded and live characters. As well as other players and past recorded versions of themselves.”
The experience is said to arrive on Oculus Quest “later this year.”
Traveling While Black
Oculus also debuted Traveling While Black, a VR documentary film that centers on the history of restricted movement for Black Americans.
Directed by Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams and co-directed with Ayesha Nadarajah and Emmy-Award winning directors Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël (Felix & Paul), the project was created in collaboration with The New York Times Op-Docs.
“It started as a need to talk about this forgotten period,” Williams says in the Oculus blog post. “It’s about connecting the past to the present and explaining to people that we, as Black people in America, are at risk every time we step out the front door. There’s a history that makes you anxious and tense because you carry it with you everywhere you go.”
“I hope Traveling While Black sparks a conversation that inspires real solutions and awareness,” Williams added. “If this film asks the right questions and gets people to think about this ongoing crisis in America — not avoid or gloss over it, just to have a profound discussion about race in America instead of looking the other way — then we’ve succeeded.”
Sundance 2019 will be taking place from January 24th – February 3rd in Park City, Utah.