The bastion of cinema — the Sundance Film Festival — is bravely exploring the VR medium and trying to engage its audience into the new immersive experience this week in Park City, Utah. While gaming and simulations are the most common applications for virtual and augmented reality, some creators want to take these experiences in a more cinematic direction, using Sundance as the fitting platform to showcase their tech inspired entertainment.
Prominent VR attractions include Awavena, a VR experience following the Yawanawa, an indigenous people based in the Amazon. There’s also BattleScar, an impressive CG animated film following a homeless teen based in a fictionalized 70’s New York, narrated by Rosario Dawson. Dinner Party, meanwhile, tackles the first recorded alien abduction case, and finally, Chorus is essentially a six-player VR game where players can shoot lightning at attacking monsters.
The AR attraction The Journey to the Center of the Natural Machine has earned a lot of positive feedback from attendees. The “Natural Machine” is the human brain, and the AR experience is meant to be experienced by two people in one room, observing each other and interacting with a projection of the brain.
While virtual reality has had a limited presence at previous Sundance festivals, this is augmented reality’s big debut. VR, AR, and other emerging technologies are the star of the festival this year, showing off what could be possible with the next generation of technology. Even Robert Redford, founder of Sundance, can’t help but appreciate what virtual reality has to offer.