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Sundance 2022 in Virtual Reality: Top Titles to Check out This Year

Another year of sheer brilliance, another stellar lineup of trailblazing AR and VR projects. 

January 20th, 2022 marks the commencement of the latest chapter of the Sundance Film Festival, the most anticipated and prestigious independent film festival held in the United States. Formerly known as the US/ Utah Film Festival, it is organised every year by Sundance Institute to showcase and celebrate the most remarkable works of independent filmmakers around the world. The festival consists of several competitive categories for both American and international films, documentaries, as well as a non-competitive showcase. Since the last couple of years, the organisers have also expanded the repertoire to accommodate AR and VR projects as an effort to celebrate the innovation and creativity found in the immersive experiences. It is also an attempt to recognise new-age AR, VR, and MR projects as an emerging media of art and expression. 

As the nine-day-long gala kickstarted, Sundance 2022 is also expected to highlight the best creations in multimedia storytelling. This year, the festival also marks the 16th birthday celebration of New Frontier Showcase, the wing dedicatedly promoting immersive experiences and multimedia storytelling. Evidently, the anticipation is high to experience some fine contemporary works by independent AR and VR content creators.

Similar to the previous year, Sundance organisers have partnered with Active Theory, a digital production studio. Together, they will develop “The Spaceship”, a bio-digital showcase that can be accessed via VR headsets or computers. In this experience, attendees can explore and interact with each other in three different virtual environments using their customised VR avatars. The virtual worlds designed for Sundance 2022’s Spaceship are as follows:

Cinema House: An immersive environment themed after a stage or theatre. It will serve as the primary venue for the screening of various films and projects of this year’s showcase. It also features a new stage designed specifically for live performances.

Film Party: The “it” place for all the afterparties. It is the dedicated social space where the audience can interact with this year’s creators, the aspiring filmmakers can pitch their prospective ideas to those interested, and people can simply mingle and have fun together.

New Frontier Gallery: Perhaps the most exciting VR space of The Spaceship. Attendees can browse the entire catalog of AR and VR content available in this year’s Sundance Festival in the digital event space. It is specially created to highlight the XR content to be featured as part of the New Frontier Showcase. Attendees can interact with the creators and the rest of the audience in this space as well.

Sundance 2022 will showcase more than 15 genre-defying XR projects, including interactive AR experiences like Atua and comedic VR parodies like Flat Earth VR. You should also look out for promising projects such as Suga- A Live Virtual Dance Experience, The States of Global Peace, This is not a Ceremony, etc.

The Sundance Film Festival 2022 will run from 20th January to 28th January. This year, it is running exclusively online. Those interested in the New Frontier Showcase must purchase an Explorer Pass to enjoy full access.

 

 

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