VR will be everywhere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, January 19–29, as part of the New Frontier section line-up that brings art, technology and storytelling together. From Elizabeth Banks in “ASTEROIDS!” to “HEROES” featuring David Bowie’s legendary song, here are the four main VR destinations, featured content and how to get in.
Google VR is a “Presenting Sponsor” for the festival, and you can bet many will be checking out the new Google Daydream View headset.
New Frontier’s 2017 slate features 20 VR and Augmented Reality experiences, and 11 installations. The line-up will include live performances, a feature film and VR and AR experiences at the historic Claim Jumper, new VR Palace, VR Bar and the Jaunt VR Lounge (Official Sundance Partner).
Google VR will be a Presenting Sponsor at Sundance 2017. Photo © Liz H Kelly 2016
Here’s a sneak preview of the 4 main VR venues, addresses, ticket information, and content at the festival this year:
1. Claim Jumper
(573 Main Street, Park City, Festival Credential holders only)
The Claim Jumper will host 7 immersive installations, including “HEROES”. This New Frontier VR installation is set to David Bowie’s iconic song “HEROES”, and was filmed at The Ace Theater in historic downtown Los Angeles. The story features an extravagant movie palace where silent films were shown. The team worked with L.A.’s Helios Dance Theater, and a dance invites you inside through both VR and AR headsets. (Lead Artist: Melissa Painter, Key Collaborators: Tim Dillon, Thomas Wester, Jason Schugardt, Laura Gorenstein Miller).
2. VR Palace
(475 Swede Alley, Base Camp, Park City, Tickets Required)
The VR Palace is new this year, and will feature 15 VR experiences, along with additional installations. Tickets are required, and it’s the same as purchasing movie tickets. You can start buying these VR Palace tickets on the festival website on January 17, 2017.
“ASTEROIDS!” (U.S.A.) will be featured at the VR Palace. It’s an animated VR experience starring Elizabeth Banks. The Lead Artist Eric Darnell is the chief creative officer of Baobab Studios, was the director and screenwriter on all four Madagascar franchise films, and previously directed DreamWorks Animation’s Antz. This story includes a cosmos journey aboard the spaceship of Mac and Cheez, where an alien duo forget what’s most important in life.
Additional VR experiences at the VR Palace will include “If Not Love” (Lead Artist: Rose Troche), “Through You” (Lead Artists: Saschka Unseld and Lily Baldwin) and “Zero Days” (Lead Artists: Yasmin Elayat).
Screenwriter Laurie Stevens tests Google Cardboard at Sundance. Photo © Liz H Kelly 2016
3. VR Bar
(Music Café, 751 Main Street, Park City, Festival Credential holders only)
This VR bar is hosted by Oculus Story Studio, and will offer mobile VR experiences. Credentialed holders can check out the VR Bar in the evenings at the Music Café, where you can also get a drink and take a break from the snow.
14 New Climate documentaries will be featured at the festival, including “Chasing Coral: The VR Experience” at the VR Bar and VR Palace. This documentary was created by Lead Artist Jeff Orlowski. In this documentary, Zackary Rago is a passionate scuba diver and researcher, who capture the 2016 coral-bleaching event at Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef with an exclusive underwater VR experience.
4. Jaunt VR Lounge
(580 Main Street, Park City, UT, open daily from 10:30am-5:30pm to the public)
As an Official Sundance Partner, The Jaunt VR Lounge will show exclusive VR content daily that has never-been-seen. It’s open to festival attendees, media and the public, and you do not need a ticket. This lounge will feature four VR experiences coming out of the Sundance Institute Jaunt VR Residency Program: “Through You”, “My Brother’s Keeper”, “OMW”, and “CIRCA 2345”. This Jaunt VR Lounge will also feature “Bashir’s Dream” (Exclusive Premiere at Sundance) and “What Do You Desire?”.
For the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, 113 feature-length films total were selected from 13,782 submissions. The New Frontier film category focuses on “developing and amplifying the most relevant and high-impact modes of tech-enabled narrative”, and you don’t want to miss these AR and VR experiences.