Oculus at Sundance—‘Dear Angelica,’ VR for Good, and the Future of VR Storytelling

Oculus Blog
Posted by Oculus VR
January 17, 2017

We’re excited to celebrate our third year at the Sundance Film Festival this week!

After launching Oculus Story Studio at Sundance 2015, VR went on to bring home an Emmy with Henry. Now, the premiere of Dear Angelica ushers in a new world of illustrative storytelling made possible with Quill. It’s amazing how quickly this art form developed, and we’re proud to be working with so many talented creators.

Here’s a rundown of our Park City plans—if you’re at Sundance this year, we hope you’ll join us!

Oculus House
Located at 201 Heber Avenue at Main, the Oculus House is your hub for all things VR at Sundance. Open to the public, this multi-room space will offer demos for Rift, Touch, and Gear VR. There are plenty of Oculus experiences and tools to try—including Medium and Quill.

Drop-in demos begin at 9am MT on January 20. Make sure to stop by to create your own Quillustrations and sculpt live in Medium throughout the festival.

Cutting-Edge Content
Dear Angelica—the third feature from Oculus Story Studio—premieres at Sundance, with a special screening at the Oculus House on January 21! This short VR film is the emotional culmination of breathtaking artistic vision and technology, and we hope you love it as much as we do.

That’s not all. The range of VR content produced and funded by Oculus and our partners is incredible. We’ve moved beyond traditional storytelling conventions, throwing out the playbook in favor of bold experimentation to push boundaries and explore new genres like comedy and dance. Four particular standouts will premiere at New Frontiers and be available to experience as part of our demos at the Oculus House:

  • • Miyubi (Felix & Paul Studios) is a comedic experience that places you in the shoes of a Japanese robot given as a present to a young boy—and tests the limits of narrative VR film
  • • Through You (Saschka Unseld and Lily Baldwin) tells an unconventional story of love lost, found, and burned—only to return from the ashes
  • • Zero Days (Scatter, Yasmin Elayat, and Elie Zananiri) extends award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney’s documentary and lets you encounter the invisible world of cyberwarfare at a human scale
  • • Heroes (Melissa Painter) combines VR, AR, and 2D to take you inside the world of two dancers performing an athletic and intimate duet set to the iconic David Bowie song

These films showcase VR’s power to revolutionize the way the world tells and shares its stories. That being said, you don’t need a large budget to scratch the surface of this medium’s transformative capacity.

VR for Good
In May 2016, we paired 10 rising filmmakers with 10 nonprofits to champion a variety of social missions while telling their stories in VR as part of our VR for Good initiative. Each team was invited to attend our VR for Good Boot Camp, where mentors and experts gave hands-on instruction in VR filmmaking to help these creators bring their ideas to life.

Join us on January 22 as we premiere eight of the first 10 films produced through this program. Here’s a few of the highlights:

Nonprofit CARE and filmmaker Shannon Carroll worked with Rob Holzer of Matter Unlimited to produce Women on the Move. This film follows a Nigerien grandmother who joins with local women on a path of financial empowerment to fund previously unattainable opportunities for girls—including her own granddaughter.

With guidance from the Tribeca Film Institute’s Opeyemi Olukemi, Spectrum Laboratory and Roberto Drilea brought together young artists on the autism spectrum to create Use Your Imagination, a VR musical told from the perspective of a child with autism who discovers comfort, community, and confidence through music and the arts.

In Notes to My Father, developed by Her Choices Trust and Jayisha Patel under the mentorship of Lightshed Founder Gabo Arora, we experience a story of love, grief, and reconciliation between a father and daughter, inspired by conversations with survivors of human trafficking.

This is just a sample of the inspiring work that’s come out of VR for Good in its first year. Stay tuned to the blog and our social channels for future announcements and the launch of VR for Good’s 2017 Creators Lab!

The Future of VR Filmmaking
Oculus team members including Creative Producer Yelena Rachitsky and the leads of Story Studio will participate in a range of panels throughout the festival. Please click here to view the schedule.

We’ll post regular updates throughout the festival to our Facebook page and Twitter feed, so be sure to keep an eye out. In the meantime, click here for more information. We look forward to an exciting week with the VR/360 filmmaking community at Sundance!

— The Oculus Team