The 16th annual Tribeca Film Festival has spent the last week in lower Manhattan showcasing some of the best new video content—including film, television, virtual reality (VR), gaming, and online media. The Virtual Arcade in the Tribeca Festival Hub (50 Varick Street, New York NY) is the home to the 29 virtual reality exhibits that are included in this year’s Tribeca Immersive program.
The Storyscapes and Virtual Arcade exhibit features both documentaries and narratives from established VR creators and emerging artists. Storyscapes was created to bridge filmmaking, technology, and storytelling.
At the 2017 Festival, the Storyscapes’ juried showcase presents six VR and interactive installations focusing on emotion and the human experience, tackling topics including an exploration of autobiography in VR, a hunger to connect with the world around us, recounting life in a concentration camp, perception and identity, and the secret lives of strangers. The Virtual Arcade, in its second year, returns to entertain, inspire, and transport participants with everything from animated epics to post-apocalyptic landscapes.
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.
—Loren Hammonds, Programmer, Film & Experiential at Tribeca Film Festival
All the exhibited works are presented in virtual reality and some utilize the still evolving medium better than others, but a few truly exploit the potential of what VR can bring to the moving image.
From Storyscapes, Remember: Remember is a room-scale narrative VR film from Moth + Flame Founder and Project Director Kevin Cornish. After donning a VR headset, the viewer is put in the place of a prisoner being brainwashed by a lost love during an alien invasion. Using the best-in-class VR technology, the viewer walks and explores this war-torn world as an integral part of the experience.
From the Virtual Arcade, Life of Us is a shared virtual reality journey from project creator Within featuring original music by Pharrell Williams. Viewers wearing VR headsets experience a retelling of the complete story of the evolution of life on Earth.
The continued acceptance of virtual reality as a new medium by the Tribeca Film Festival and other major groups is proof that we are only at the beginning of the development of VR and immersive film-making. Just as films continue to evolve and improve each year with new creators finding new methods of storytelling, virtual reality content will also progress as innovators take to this new medium.