VR Cinema Innovation Comes To Sundance 2020

At the Sundance Film Festival this year, the 2020 edition of the New Frontier returns with 32 Projects from 21 Countries. Beginning on Thursday, VR will take over select sections of Park City including the designated New Frontier Central and the New Frontier at The Ray.

The New Frontier Program feels like a program of historic proportions in 2020. Or maybe we are just living in amazing times of historic artistic innovation. Either way this year’s program seems rather mind blowing with an array of innovative VR projects coming to Sundance, pushing the envelope on VR storytelling. The New Frontier’s collection of curated media works includes Mixed Reality (MR) Underwater VR, and smart phone AR. There will also be AI present in a variety of capacities as well.

The President and Founder of Sundance Institute​, Robert Redford, stated,​ “​Technology infuses most aspects of modern life — and is evolving at a historic pace. The New Frontier artists that we showcase are taking completely fresh and thoughtful approaches to how the newest technological formats engage with the ancient art of storytelling.”

The VR Cinema portion of the New Frontier Program offers a range of VR programs from around the world. Reality and cinema collide will collide in tx-reverse 360°​ as Lead artists Martin Reinhart, and Virgil Widrich plan to take us into a vortex and suspend the order of space and time in this VR release from Austria & Germany.

Hominidae, The CG animated reality film by Brian Andrews scheduled to have it’s Sundance Film Festival World Premiere showing at The Box at The Ray on January 24th at 8:00pm. I look forward to this concept of reimagining anatomy through X-Ray Virtual Reality as the viewer follows a half human/half spider creature set in a hostile world (I’m assuming full of equally strange creatures) and attempting to raise her younglings. The cast includes Phyllis Griffin, Luis Mora, Emily Weems, Kidjie Boyer, Austin Daly, and Oliver Angus.

After the Fallout from lead artists Sam Wolson, and Dominic Nahr traverse Fukushima after the Daiichi nuclear plant failed and left Japan devastated, in fear of the unknown.

Also included in the New Frontier’s section is Bembé, a story about the traditional celebration from Cuba of the souls of dead slaves visiting family and friends on earth for a multi-day celebration. Ernesto Collinet, Kalina Collinet, and Katyleidy Collinet star in the upcoming VR release. The Lead Artists are Marcos Louit, Patricia Diaz and the Key Collaborators are Andy Ruiz, Alain López, Ernesto Collinet.

Large Scale VR At The Biodigital Theater

Located at the New Frontier Central, the Biodigital Theater offers cutting-edge presentations space featuring a rotating schedule of large scale VR theatrical works.

Be sure to bring your swim suit to Sundance this year! Yes, you read that right. The Sundance Film Festival has plans to take credential holders on an underwater journey. Floating in water and equipped with an underwater VR headset and snorkel the pool becomes a space simulation absent of gravity, the viewer is immersed in all senses. This is Pierre “Pyaré” Friquet’s Spaced Out .

Also included at the Biodigital Theater will be Theo Triantafyllidis’ Anti-Gone. This feature-length livestream game telecast set in a post–climate change world full of excess and rebellion.

Diversity in New Frontier

Of the 32 New Frontier projects announced, 21 countries are represented, and 31% of the projects are directed or led by one or more women, 44% are directed or led by one or more artists of color, and 31% by one or more people who identify as LGBTQ+. 4 were supported by Sundance Institute in development, whether through direct granting or residency Labs.

The Sundance Film Festival runs from January 23rd – February 2nd. You can check out the full New Frontier Lineup here.

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