It’s been five years since a lovable little hedgehog brought home VR’s very first Emmy® Award. Since then, VR filmmakers and content creators have taken us from outer space to our innermost thoughts and virtually everywhere in between. Tonight, during the 73rd Emmy® Awards, we’re taking a moment to look back at the VR films and interactive experiences that have caused the world to stand up and take notice—and to celebrate how far we’ve come as a creative medium.
Winner of the 2021 Emmy Award for Outstanding Interactive Program, Space Explorers: The ISS Experience is an epic series that follows eight astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Shot over two years with exclusive access to the crew, The ISS Experience offers an intimate take on the joy, wonder, and dangers of life in orbit. Click here to learn more.
Winner of the 2021 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Interactive Media, Outstanding Directing Team for a Daytime Animated Program, and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation - Character Design, Baba Yaga is the latest VR narrative from Baobab Studios. From Executive Producer Jennifer Hudson, this 27-minute interactive tale has multiple endings depending on the choices you make. Click here to learn more.
Featured in Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, Colette tells the story of Colette Marin-Catherine, who fought the Nazis as a member of the French Resistance. Since 1945, she has refused to set foot in Germany. That changes when a history student named Lucie enters her life and encourages her to visit the concentration camp where the Nazis killed her brother. Colette marked both the first Academy Award® nomination and win for the video game industry. Click here to learn more.
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best VR Work at the 78th Venice International Film Festival, Goliath: Playing with Reality explores the limits of reality, the weight of mental illness, and the supportive power of gaming communities. It tells the true story of Jon, a man diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, through a deft combination of highly stylized low-poly animation, artful narration by Tilda Swinton, and the sense of immersion that only VR can deliver. Click here to learn more.
Part of the WisdomVR Project, the Emmy-nominated documentary Inside COVID19 humanizes a global pandemic and follows Dr. Josiah Child as he fights for his patients and his own life after contracting the virus. Click here to learn more.
Nominated for the News & Documentary Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sound and Outstanding Interactive Media: Documentary, Micro Monsters with David Attenborough explores the real-life superpowers of arthropods from a perspective only immersive media can deliver. Over five episodes, viewers explore a near-invisible world of conflict and community that’s both mesmerizing and monstrous. Click here to learn more.
Daytime Emmy-nominated short film Bonfire puts you in the shoes of Space Scout 817. You’re on a mission to discover a new home for the human race. Too bad your piloting skills lack... precision. You crash-land at night on a mysterious unknown planet 300 light-years from Earth. Your only source of light is your makeshift bonfire.
Winner of the 2020 Emmy Juried Award for Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Media, The Line is a fantastical story set upon a scale-model of 1940s São Paulo and narrated by Rodrigo Santoro (Westworld). Unlock an enchanted maquette where you’ll discover the love story of two miniature dolls, Pedro and Rosa. The Line was the world’s first VR narrative experience that fully integrated support for Quest’s hand tracking feature. Click here to learn more.
On April 15, 2019, the Notre-Dame cathedral caught fire. Nine months later, Notre-Dame is not entirely saved, but still standing. Emmy-nominated documentary Rebuilding Notre Dame provides a unique and unprecedented immersion in the cathedral before and after the fire, narrated by the leaders who look after the iconic monument. Click here to learn more.
Emmy-nominated documentary When We Stayed Home is a compilation of 360° video, revealing the empty streets of a world on pause. Through the eyes of a city local, witness the calm, the beauty, and the emptiness of Paris, Venice, Jerusalem, and Tokyo, each testifying to the singularity of April 2020 as an unprecedented moment in time. Click here to learn more.
Based on the award-winning children’s book written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean, Wolves in the Walls blends an AI-powered protagonist and choreography from immersive theater company Third Rail Projects to create a uniquely compelling and emotionally engaging experience unlike what’s come before it in VR. Eight-year-old Lucy isn’t just a passive character in the story. She remembers your interactions and uses them to inform your future play sessions—at least until it’s all over. Wolves in the Walls won the 2019 Emmy Award for Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Programming. Click here to learn more.
Emmy-nominated VR film Traveling While Black is a cinematic VR experience that immerses the viewer in the long history of restriction of movement for Black Americans and the creation of safe spaces in our communities. Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams and Emmy Award-winning Felix & Paul Studios transport you to historic Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington, DC. The viewer shares an intimate series of moments with several of the patrons of Ben’s as they reflect on their experiences of restricted movement and race relations in the US. Click here to learn more.
Narrated by Colin Farrell (The Gentleman, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Gloomy Eyes is an animated trilogy where fantastical dioramas twist and rotate around the audience. Winner of the Best VR Experience at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival (2019) and winner of the Jury Award for Storytelling at SXSW (2019), this Tim Burton-esque animated story of a zombie boy and a mortal girl is a playfully macabre tale of love forbidden love. Click here to learn more.
Winner of the Storyscapes Award at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and the prestigious Grand Jury Award for Best VR Immersive Experience at the Venice Film Festival, The Key uses magical realism to elucidate the plight of refugees. The Key was directed by Lucid Dreams Productions Founder & Storyteller Céline Tricart in partnership with Oculus VR for Good Creators Lab and Friends of Refugees. It’s a 15-minute room-scale VR experience with a strong narrative structure punctuated by moments of choice. Click here to learn more.
Placing you inside the invisible world of computer viruses, Zero Days VR won the 2018 News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding New Approaches: Documentary. Zero Days VR highlights how the digital threat of cyber warfare is closer to home than we realize, representing a new chapter in modern warfare. Click here to learn more.
In Emmy-nominated single-player adventure Blade Runner 2049: Memory Lab, you’ve been transported to the Wallace Corporation’s Memory Lab where an eager Joi-Tech model hologram is ready to scan your mind to reveal the circumstances behind your latest retirement. Click here to learn more.
Take a first-hand tour of The White House guided by 44th president of the United States Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in The People’s House – Inside The White House With Barack And Michelle Obama. Through an intimate guided tour of the inside rooms of the White House—including non-public spaces like the Oval Office—only possible in 360° video and VR, this Felix & Paul Studios piece won the 2017 Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Interactive Program. Click here to learn more.
Take a trip into orbit with Mission:ISS. In this Emmy-nominated simulation, learn how to move and work in zero-gravity using your controllers. Dock a space capsule, take a spacewalk, and let real NASA astronauts guide you on the ISS through informative videos and images. Click here to learn more.
Emmy-nominated animated film Dear Angelica tells the story of a mother (Angelica) and her daughter, with the vocal talent of Geena Davis and Mae Whitman. A narrative of grief and loss, Dear Angelica plays out in a series of painted memories—a visually stunning technique that increases our empathy for Angelica’s daughter as we’re fluidly pulled through her imagination to experience her adventures and poignant recollections. The first animated experience created entirely in VR, Dear Angelica marked the beginning of VR’s adoption as a medium for both creation and consumption. Click here to learn more.
In one of the most dramatic, historic, unforgettable, championship series of all time, Follow My Lead lets you relive the 2016 NBA Finals on the court, behind the scenes, and everywhere in between. Follow My Lead won the 2016 Outstanding Digital Innovation Sports Emmy Award. Click here to learn more.
Narrated by Elijah Wood and developed with former creative talent on the Brave and Toy Story 3 teams, Henry is the story of a little hedgehog with a big problem... he loves to hug! After ending up alone on his birthday, he’ll make a wish that changes everything. Henry won the Outstanding Original Interactive Program Emmy Award in 2016. This award was a momentous milestone for all VR storytellers paving the way. Click here to learn more.
In any creative medium, the rules, as they say, are made to be broken. But the beauty of VR is that the rules have largely yet to be written at all. Whether it’s through hand tracking or AI-driven characters or simply the added sense of presence that VR offers as a truly embodied phenomenon, today’s VR films and interactive experiences are blazing a trail, defining the parameters and aesthetic language of a new type of immersive art. Each award in VR’s ever-expanding portfolio is further confirmation that this is an art form that’s here to stay. And it’s changing the way we experience art—and the world around us—one brilliantly-placed pixel at a time.