Sundance 2017: The True Star Was VR

Sundance 2017: The True Star Was VR
January 30, 2017

By now you have probably already read about Sundance's ceremonies, parties, screenings, red carpets and more. But what you may not have yet seen is a quick-take on the actual numbers behind this year's close, as well as what the biggest stand-out is among them. 


Sure, celebrities were out in full-force, but what you need to know is that the major star at this year's Festival was Virtual Reality. This is the first year that Sundance officially welcomed the VR movement, and it received a whopping 346 film submissions.  Not bad for a genre for which is still in its infancy.


Throughout the Festival, Millennials were definitely present throughout several panel discussions on the current and future scope of VR and storytelling.  They were manning packed VR demo hubs, and  busily overseeing special VR screening areas  called New Frontier VR Palace  at the Festival's Base Camp location every day.


There was a lot of energy around the news industry, the demo that is leading the charge, and the optimism in the year. While this genre will certainly need more diversity and inclusion for a faster adoption rate, in addition to facilitation around the tech platform itself, this activity is impressive and inspiring as we move further into uncharted business territory that is, VR and film. In fact, Dear Angelica and Mindshow were among the stand-outs at this year's Festival.


But here's how these 346 VR submissions also fits into a larger numbers game for the Festival overall.  And it's pretty impressive

Infographic courtesy:, Entertainment Media Partners, Crowd


What will be most important to watch, in addition to the growing numbers pertaining to VR, is that distribution number from 2016 inside the Infographic.  Though not available for 2017 until a few weeks, that distribution number will be the one-to-track. 


With everyone getting into the content distribution game in new ways from YouTube, to Amazon, to Pepsi (each of whom were on site at the Festival), and more; it's going to be a very interesting time for storytelling and the business behind it. Watch for distribution, ratings, viewings, anything with traditional numerical formulas, to be broadened and re-evaluated thanks to expansion of technology platforms and millennial mindsets. 

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