Over the past year, we’ve seen VR truly come into its own as a storytelling medium. From multiple Emmy Awards to an impressive seven-figure deal coming out of Sundance, this burgeoning art form continues to earn critical and commercial attention. As SXSW kicks off this week, we’ll dig into the Oculus-supported content on display. And today, we’re excited to announce that six Oculus-supported projects have been named official selections of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.
Following the debut of Step to the Line at Tribeca 2017, we’re honored to have had three VR for Good Creators Lab projects accepted into this year’s program. Tackling topics ranging from modern-day slavery to bigotry and hate, these immersive vignettes hold up a mirror to humanity’s ills while shedding a light on our collective ability to effect positive change.
Meeting a Monster examines the memories and motivations of former white supremacist Angela King. Through audio recordings, dramatic re-enactments, and present-day footage, the film invites us to experience both the stereotypes and bigotry that lured Angela into the white power movement as well as the encounters that led her back out. While the monsters of Angela’s past and imagination define much of the eight years she spent mired in bias and hate, she finds the path to redemption only after encountering and acknowledging the ultimate monster—herself.
In southern India, debt bondage enslaves entire families in a vicious cycle of deception and violence. The Hidden follows the developing case of a family of nine that has been enslaved in a rock quarry for 10 years—over the ludicrous sum of just $70 USD. Indian government representatives and human rights activists plot a raid to attempt to apprehend the creditor and free the family. The Hidden takes you to sites of active slavery and inside the rescue mission itself, bringing you face-to-face with two families as they endure the unspeakable.
Even as transgender visibility in pop culture continues to break glass ceilings, direct violence and discriminatory legislation against the transgender community continues to rise. Shannon Scott stands up at a time when her communities—proud transgender service-people and veterans of the US Armed Forces—are vulnerable and under attack. Shannon has dedicated her entire adult life to defending and safeguarding American citizens at home and abroad. Driven by the military tenet of “Leave No One Behind,” she seeks freedom and justice for all from the marbled halls of Washington, DC, to the hallowed ground of those who championed equality before her.
While some works of art seek to inspire action, others make the world a better place by contributing something beautiful, engaging, or thought-provoking without an explicitly political motivation. In addition to the activist-oriented projects produced through VR for Good Creators Lab, we’re excited to debut three unique pieces of immersive entertainment at Tribeca next month.
Directed by Alexandre Aja (High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes) and starring iconic ’80s horror icon Robert Englund of Freddy Krueger fame, this episodic narrative from Future Lighthouse and Dark Corner leverages the unique affordances of VR storytelling to chill and thrill audiences like never before.
Untitled Ok Go & WITHIN Project
WITHIN Founder and CEO Chris Milk joins forces with OK Go’s Damian Kulash to let you and a friend experience the joy of music creation. Enter an environment surrounded by magical music-making contraptions, involving animals and robots wondrously working together with your help to create an original song.
SPHERES: Pale Blue Dot
The Big Bang was silent. Then came sound. Journey through the history of sound in the Universe and uncover the strangest song of all. Following the premiere of the first episode of SPHERES at Sundance, Eliza McNitt returns to debut the second installment at Tribeca. And with an unprecedented deal signed as a result of the project’s first public showing, we can’t wait to see what the encore has in store.
We’re excited to see the presence of VR continue to grow and evolve at film festivals like Tribeca. By incorporating interactivity and embracing the viewer’s literal point of view, VR experiences reimagine the role of the audience as co-conspirator and active agent rather than simply a passive participant. Individually, these projects showcase some of the strides being made by the industry. But collectively, they speak to VR’s potential to change the face of content creation and consumption as we know it.
We look forward to exploring that future with all of you.
— The Oculus Team