New York’s 17th Tribeca Film Festival (April 18-29), presented by AT&T, has unveiled its 2018 immersive program, showcasing works by artists who are pushing boundaries in technology and storytelling. The Virtual Arcade lineup includes 21 world premiere VR/AR exhibits as well as five Storyscapes experiences in competition. The program takes place at the Tribeca Festival Hub from April 20-28. A new addition to Tribeca Immersive is Tribeca Cinema360, a VR theater featuring four curated screening programs of 360° mobile content, running April 21-28.
Tickets will be available starting March 27 at tribecafilm.com/immersive; passes and packages are available now on the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival App for iOS and Android.
Among the 33 innovative VR exhibitions and experiences on offer are works from top creators such as Jeremy Bailenson, Chris Milk, Eliza McNitt, Eugene YK Chung, Gabo Arora, and Saschka Unseld, and emerging artists Asad J. Malik, Gabriela Arp, and Lucas Rizzotto. Established entertainers with projects this year include: directors Terrence Malick, Laurie Anderson; actors Rosario Dawson, Lupita Nyong’o, Alicia Vikander; and Grammy-winning band OK Go. Several projects tackle timely cultural issues, including racism, climate change, immigration and xenophobia, nuclear war and HIV/AIDS.
“We are at a cultural crossroads. In times of crisis and contemplation, artists have always found a way to inspire and challenge,” said Loren Hammonds, Programmer, Film & Immersive. “The creators that we’ve invited to take part in this year’s Tribeca Immersive are no different. They are using technology and storytelling to tackle subjects such as the dangers of nuclear weapons, racial and religious discrimination, and the real face of climate change. VR is a medium of transportation, and these pieces will do just that for our audience.”
Among the program’s animated highlights are the World Premieres of Arden’s Wake: Tide’s Fall from Penrose Studios, which continues the story of its award-winning VR title; 1,000 Cut Journey, which puts viewers in the skin of a black man encountering racism at each phase of his life; alien planet adventure Star Child; Job Simulator follow-up Vacation Simulator from Owlchemy Labs; and a new untitled project from OK Go and WITHIN. The 2018 lineup spans live footage projects, fantastical animation and photoreal CG for a stunning array of immersive visual story experiences.
“Each year, we’re seeing creators push boundaries and explore new ways to tell stories through VR. As the technology improves, so does the storytelling, and with that we are able to use VR to tackle new issues, experiences and narratives and invite new audiences to experience these projects,” said Ingrid Kopp, co-curator of Tribeca Immersive.
#WarGames VR (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Sam Barlow, Eko; Key Collaborators: MGM, m ss ng p eces
Kelly, an ex-military brat-turned-hacker activist, teams up with international hackers in an attempt to bring about peace. But, as events escalate, it begins to appear that they may have done more harm than good. #WarGames puts viewers in the middle of the convergence of hacktivism, modern-day espionage, and military intrigue.
1000 Cut Journey (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Courtney Cogburn, Elise Ogle, Jeremy Bailenson, Tobin Asher, Teff Nichols; Key Collaborators: Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Cogburn Research Group
In this immersive virtual-reality experience, the viewer becomes Michael Sterling, a black man, encountering racism as a young child, adolescent, and young adult. 1,000 Cut Journey highlights the social realities of racism, for understanding racism is the essential first step in promoting effective, collective social action and achieving racial justice.
Arden’s Wake: Tide’s Fall (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Eugene YK Chung, Jimmy Maidens; Key Collaborators: Devon Penney, Annmarie Koenig, Bruna Berford, Christina Tasooji, Adrian Ochoa, Jessica Douglas, Terry Kaleas, Kinga Vasicsek
Tide’s Fall continues the journey of Meena, a young woman living in a post-apocalyptic world and searching for her father in the depths of the ocean after his unexpected disappearance. Featuring the voice of Academy Award-winner Alicia Vikander, this expansion of Penrose Studios’ award winning Arden’s Wake embraces the art of long-form storytelling in virtual reality.
BattleScar (New York Premiere) – USA, France
Project Creator: Nico Casavecchia, Martin Allais; Key Collaborators: Arnaud Colinart, Andrew Geller, Raphael Penasa, René Pinnell
After Lupe, a Puerto Rican runaway, meets Debbie in the cell of a juvenile detention center, she is introduced to the punk scene of the Lower East Side and the secret world of Alphabet City. BattleScar is a coming of age drama set in 1978 New York that explores identity and empowerment through stunning animation and immersive environments. Narrated by Rosario Dawson.
Campfire Creepers: Midnight March (World Premiere) – France, USA
Project Creator: Alexandre Aja; Key Collaborators: Casey Cooper Johnson, Martin Andersen
When the kids at Camp Coyote are forced on a brutal midnight march by their sadistic counselors, one boy reaches his breaking point. He turns the tables on the bullies, revealing a surprising secret about himself in the process. Master of horror Alexandre Aja invites viewers on a thrilling ride that will leave them gasping. Cast: Archie Lewis, Chloe Hawthorne, Kai Czuplak, Lara Karbritz, Lola Martin.
Chalkroom (New York Premiere) – Taiwan R.O.C., USA
Project Creator: Laurie Anderson, Hsin-Chien Huang
Chalkroom is a virtual reality work by celebrated artist Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang in which the reader—the viewer—flies through an enormous structure made of words, drawings, and stories. Inside the experience, the reader is free to roam and fly, while words sail through the air like emails, fall into dust, and form and reform.
Coral Compass: Fighting Climate Change in Palau (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Tobin Asher, Elise Ogle, Jeremy Bailenson; Key Collaborators: Rob Dunbar, Bob Richmond
Palau, like many other small countries, is powerless to curb global carbon dioxide emissions. Nevertheless, the tiny island nation is adapting to climate change: In its clear, warm waters exist resilient coral reefs safeguarded by a strong-willed people fighting to keep them alive.
The Day the World Changed (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Gabo Arora, Saschka Unseld; Key Collaborators: Nathan Brown, Tom Lofthouse, Jennifer Tiexiera, Nate Robinson, Igal Nassima
This virtual-reality experience situates participants in the ruins of Hiroshima after the bomb, allowing them to witness testimony from survivors and survey the nuclear arms race through immersive, interactive data visualization. The Day the World Changed, from acclaimed creators Gabo Arora & Saschka Unseld, brings the harrowing impressions of the victims of atomic bombings and nuclear tests to viewers through innovative use of 3-D scanning and photogrammetry.
Dinner Party (New York Premiere) – Puerto Rico, USA
Project Creator: Angel Manuel Soto, Charlotte Stoudt, Laura Wexler; Key Collaborators: Rachel Skidmore, Bryn Mooser, Erik Donley
Dinner Party tells the incredible story of Betty and Barney Hill, an interracial couple who made the first report of a UFO abduction in America in 1961. Having sought hypnosis to recover memories of their inexplicable experience, the Hills decide to listen to the recording of their session during a dinner party—and what they hear could change their lives forever. Cast: Malcolm Barrett, Sarah Sokolovic
Firebird: The Unfinished (World Premiere) – France
Project Creator: Balthazar Auxietre; Key Collaborators: Hadrien Lanvin
The curator of a museum dedicated to the famous sculptor Auguste is making a last inspection the night before the grand opening when a storm breaks out. Suddenly, the statues populating the grounds are not quite as still as one might expect—but it’s not clear whether the storm outside is playing mind games, or whether, perhaps, the ghost of Auguste has appeared to ask for help finishing his masterpiece. Cast: Tarek Aitmeddour, Raphaelle Boitel, Augustin Jacob, Pauline Journe, Myriam Kerkour, David Negroni
Fire Escape (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Vassiliki Khonsari, Navid Khonsari, Andres Perez-Duarte, Sam Butin; Key Collaborators: Lulu LaMer, Maria Essig, iNK Stories
This innovative, interactive thriller invites the participant to peer into the private lives of eight diverse New Yorkers from the vantage of a fire escape, where suspicion and deception unfold in real time. Set against the shadowy backdrop of gentrification in contemporary Brooklyn, Fire Escape depicts a contingent of disenfranchised tenants who soon become entangled in a string of dark mysteries and murder. Cast: ASMR Darling, Ethan Rains, Edward Jackson, Michelle Lukes, Olivia Preciado, Tanya Henderson, Giselle Gilbert
The Hidden (World Premiere) – India, USA
Project Creator: Lindsay Branham; Key Collaborators: International Justice Mission, Oculus VR for Good
There are currently more people living in slavery than at any other time in human history. One such family has been enslaved in a rock quarry in southern India for 10 years—over a paltry debt of $70 USD. Indian government representatives, supported by the human rights group International Justice Mission, plot a daring raid to free the family. Also playing as a part of Cinema360: VR For Good Creators Lab.
Into the Now (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Michael Muller; Key Collaborators: Michael Smith, Morne Hardenberg
Director and legendary shark photographer Michael Muller’s lifelong fear of sharks eventually led him to discover the tranquility and peace of mind that is possible underwater, engaged with these curious and intimidating creatures. This stunning documentary, a revolutionary, stereoscopic virtual-reality experience, explores marine life and ocean conservation via Muller’s own internal journey.
My Africa (World Premiere) – USA, UK
Project Creator: Conservation International, Passion Planet, Vision3
In Northern Kenya, the futures of wildlife and people are intertwined. Stand in the midst of a thundering wildebeest migration, witness a lioness snatch her prey—and meet a community dedicated to saving Africa’s wildlife in My Africa. The mixed-reality, companion experience puts participants in the shoes of a Reteti Elephant Sanctuary keeper caring for the newest arrival, a baby elephant named Dudu. Cast: Lupita Nyong’o (narrator), Naltwasha Leripe
SPHERES: Pale Blue Dot (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Eliza McNitt; Key Collaborators: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel, Jess Engel, Arnaud Colinart, Dylan Golden
In this cosmic journey from the edges of the universe to our “pale blue dot,” the viewer uncovers echoes of the Big Bang; gazes back in time; traces the history of sound across the cosmos, uncovering the strangest song of all; and traverses the universe, ultimately finding a path home.
Star Child (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Paul Bettner; Key Collaborators: Mia Goodwin
This cinematic platforming adventure follows the journey of Spectra and her companion on an important mission to an alien planet. After they are stranded, they uncover a hostile, overwhelming force that threatens to destroy everything. Inspired by countless science fiction adventure classics—games, books, and movies alike—Star Child is, at its heart, both a mystery and a journey of self-discovery.
Untitled OK Go & WITHIN Project (World Premiere) – USA, UK
Project Creator: Chris Milk, Damian Kulash; Key Collaborators: WITHIN, OK Go, Oculus
Innovative creators Chris Milk and OK Go’s Damian Kulash invite pairs of participants into a wondrous environment where they can experience the joy of creating music through collaboration. In this virtual world, replete with magical music-making contraptions, friendly animals, robots, and audience members work together to create an original song.
Vacation Simulator (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Owlchemy Labs
The follow-up to the wildly popular virtual-reality game Job Simulator, Vacation Simulator returns participants to the world of Owlchemy Labs, where they can visit Vacation Island and experience “recreation,” optimal “relaxation,” and classic human pastimes like “sunburn.” Vacation Island offers all this and more, helping visitors rediscover the lost art of “time off.”
Vestige (World Premiere) – UK, USA, France
Project Creator: Aaron Bradbury; Key Collaborators: Paul Mowbray, Antoine Cayrol, Jill Klekas Basmajian
This creative nonfiction experience uses multi-narrative and volumetric capture to journey through the mind of Lisa as she remembers her lost love, Erik. Fragments of memories of their life together appear inside a void and, over time, become entangled with a haunting vision, culminating in the shocking moment of Erik’s death. Cast: Lisa Elin
Where Thoughts Go : Prologue (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Lucas Rizzotto; Key Collaborators: Tarik Merzouk, Steven Hodgson
An intimate social virtual-reality experience, Where Thoughts Go is set in a world where all human thoughts exist as sleeping creatures, each holding a voice message left by a previous visitor. As they awake, they reveal the dreams, experiences and fears of other people—and give the participant the opportunity to leave their own for others to find.
Biidaaban: First Light (World Premiere) – Canada
Project Creator: Lisa Jackson, Mathew Borrett, Jam3 and the National Film Board of Canada; Key Collaborators: Rob McLaughlin, Dana Dansereau
Hero (New York Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Navid Khonsari, Vassiliki Khonsari, Brooks Brown; Key Collaborators: Mark Harwood, Sinclair Fleming, Andres Perez-Duarte, Sam Butin, iNK Stories, Starbreeze Studios
objects in mirror AR closer than they appear (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Graham Sack, Geoff Sobelle, John Fitzgerald, Matthew Niederhauser; Key Collaborators: Sarah Hughes, Steven Dufala, Steve Cuiffo, Jecca Barry, The Molecule, New York Theatre Workshop, SilVR
Queerskins: a love story (World Premiere) – USA
Project Creator: Illya Szilak, Cyril Tsiboulski
Terminal 3 (World Premiere) – USA, Pakistan
Project Creator: Asad J. Malik; Key Collaborators: Kaleidoscope VR, Anita Gou, RYOT, Philipp Schaeffer, Viva Wittman, Jack Daniel Gerrard, Musa Ghaznavi
“Horizons”: 02:09 (World Premiere) – Sweden, China; Project Creator: Svante Fjaestad. Together (New York Premiere) – USA; Project Creator: Terrence Malick, The Factory at Facebook, Movement Art Is
“It’s Right Behind You”: Campfire Creepers: The Skull of Sam (North American Premiere) – Spain, USA; Project Creator: Alexandre Aja; Key Collaborators: Casey Cooper Johnson, Martin Andersen. The Caretaker (World Premiere) – USA; Project Creator: Jacob Wasserman, Nicolas Pesce, Adam Donald; Key Collaborators: Hidden Content, RealMotion VFX. An Obituary (boogo) (US Premiere) – South Korea; Project Creator: Jean Yoon; Key Collaborators: Kuk-seok Yang, Jin-hee Kim.
This Is Climate Change (World Premiere) – Åland Islands, Brazil, Greenland, Somalia, USA; Project Creator: Eric Strauss, Danfung Dennis; Key Collaborators: Diana El-Osta (Producer), Catherine Yrisarri (Producer), Jeff Skoll (Executive Producer), Elise Pearlstein (Executive Producer), Kathy Davidov (Executive Producer), Casey Brown (Executive Producer)
“VR for Good Creators Lab”: Meeting a Monster (World Premiere) – USA; Project Creator: Gabriela Arp; Key Collaborators: Oculus VR for Good, Life After Hate. She Flies by Her Own Wings (World Premiere) – USA; Project Creator: Jesse (Jesus) Ayala; Key Collaborators: Oculus VR for Good, Pride Foundation, Fovrth Studios, Flight School. The Hidden (World Premiere) – India, USA; Project Creator: Lindsay Branham; Key Collaborators: International Justice Mission, Oculus VR for Good.