Sundance 2022 In VR: What To Check Out

Another year, another stellar lineup of ground-breaking VR and AR projects.

Today marks the start of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, kicking off nine days of incredible films premieres, conversations, and immersive experiences. This year the festival is celebrating the 16th birthday of its New Frontier showcase, which serves to highlight the very best in multimedia storytelling.

Similar to last year’s proceedings, event organizers have partnered with digital production studio Active Theory to create The Spaceship, a “biodigital showcase” accessible via a computer or VR headset. Here attendees can use their very own customizable avatars to explore three virtual worlds.

Image Credit: Sundance Institute
  • New Frontier Gallery – A digital event space where attendees can browse the entire catalog of XR content available as part of the New Frontiere showcase and chat with attendees as well as festival employees via proximity chat.
  • Cinema House – An immersive stage environment that will serve as the primary venue for various screenings throughout the festival. This years’ venue includes a new stage designed specifically for live scheduled performances.
  • Film Party – A dedicated social space where attendees can chat with Sundance creators about their respective projects using proximity audio and video chat.
Cinema House / Image Credit:

This years’ New Frontier showcase features over 15 genre-defying projects to enjoy, from comedic VR parodies such as Flat Earth VR to interactive AR experiences like Atua. It can be a bit overwhelming navigating this digital venue, especially for first-time festival-goers.

To help guide you through this years’ offerings we put together a list of must-try XR projects currently available in The Gallery. Here’s what you won’t want to miss:

Flat Earth VR / Image Credit: Sundance Institute
  • Atua (scheduled performances) – “Atua reimagines the realm of Pacific gods in this sculptural AR experience that claims space for gender-diverse identities impacted by colonial first contact, and creates an intimate portal for users to see themselves reflected as vital to their cultural heritage and an intrinsic part of the cosmos.
  • Flat Earth VR“Lucas Rizzotto’s delightful and immersive satirical comedy boards audiences onto a stolen NASA ship and launches them into the stars. Here, they have the chance to live out the ultimate flat-earther fantasy of becoming the first flat-Earth astronaut to ever go to space and prove the globe-earthers wrong.”
Suga’ / Image Credit: Sundance Institute
  • Suga’ – A Live Virtual Dance Experience (scheduled performances)“Suga’ is a collective immersive experience that features live dance performance as volumetric video in a social virtual reality space. The experience takes audiences on a journey through the historical reality of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the establishment of the sugar industry, which has had a lasting legacy on our world today.”
  • The States of Global Peace “In this immersive documentary, you’ll inhabit the shoes of a prime minister who is preparing to deliver a high-profile speech at a virtual U.N. General Assembly in the near future. The political stakes are high. As you are about to begin your remarks, a group of students hijack the security system and take over the screens, asking to have a dialogue with you.”
This is Not a Ceremony / Image Credit: Sundance Institute
  • This is Not a Ceremony “Part performance, part participatory media, This Is Not a Ceremony asks us to consider our role in engaging with documentaries about social injustice and to confront modern notions of empathy and personal responsibility. Darkly humorous and occasionally caustic, This Is Not a Ceremony offers contemporary insights into the lived experience of Indigenous men, and extends a chance to embrace responsibility and the meaningfulness of redemption.”

The Sundance Film Festival 2022 runs now until January 28th exclusively online. Those interested in checking out the New Frontier showcase can purchase an Explorer Pass for $50. This enables you access to The Gallery, Cinema House, and Film Party worlds via a computer or any VR headset compatible with the Chrome browser.

For more information visit here.

Feature Image Credit: Sundance Institute

About the Scout

Former Writer (Kyle Melnick)

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