Sundance and the New Frontier




Sundance Film Festival has mostly been known for independent and experimental films over the past 4 decades. In the last 3 or 4 years, Virtual Reality has inched it’s way into the spotlight. I was lucky enough to be working with Ben Vance at Buffalo Vision on Irrational Exuberance when it was accepted to the New Frontier exhibition.

The festival showcased  a wide array of uses for this new immersive technology. Matt Damon’s film The Martian was converted into a seated VR experience that was actually pretty exciting. There were several intense documentary style experiences that explored serious topics like gun violence, planned parenthood and solitary confinement. VR seems to be a great platform for digital activists to evoke some serious empathy from willing participants.

Other VR artists focused on more abstract explorations of this new space. In the Eyes of an Animal, you take on the various forms of magical animals. It kind of felt like being inside a Bjork music video. Reggie Watt’s Waves creates a bizarre and hilarious experience that can’t help but put a goofy grin on your face.

All in all, it was an inspirational experience. I expect the VR component of Sundance will continue to expand until we are locked permanently to our chairs. See you in VR!