Sundance 2022: Nine VR films celebrate world premiere

Sundance 2022: Nine VR films celebrate world premiere

The Sundance Film Festival is going digital again this year, with nine VR world premieres.

Sundance is the oldest and largest indie film festival in the U.S. and takes place every January in Park City, Utah. In 2021, the event was part on-site, part online, and that will be the case again this year. This is good news for VR film fans, as it means the immersive works are all tangible online.

New Frontier is the name of the festival program that explores new storytelling mediums like virtual reality and augmented reality, is in its 16th year, and features nine world premieres.

The venue: a virtual spaceship

The film festival and New Frontier program run from 20 to 30 January 2022, with the latter available on the online platform Spaceship, a virtual venue decked out like a spaceship. Visitors can create avatars and communicate with other visitors. Admission is $50 and provides access to all-immersive New Frontier projects.

The New Frontier Program

The following projects are part of this year’s New Frontier program:

32 Sounds

An immersive documentary and sensory film experience that explores the elemental phenomenon of sound and its power to manipulate time, transcend boundaries, and profoundly shape our perception of the world around us. The film will be presented in its “live cinema” form, with live music and live narration. World Premiere.

Atua

The realm of the Pacific Gods is reinterpreted in this sculptural AR experience. It provides space for gendered communities affected by colonial contact to see themselves as an important part of their cultural heritage and an inseparable part of the cosmos. World Premiere.

Child Empire

Relive the largest forced migration in human history, the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. Experience the childhood memories of two survivors as they reflect on their journeys through a divided homeland. World Premiere.

Cosmogony

A live digital performance where 3 dancers are recorded in Geneva and projected remotely in real-time. North American premiere.

Diagnosia

In this VR experience, the director immerses us in his memories of his time as a teenager, when he was detained in a military-run internet addiction camp in Beijing in 2007, where internet addiction and other youth problems were treated as severe mental disorders, sometimes with violence. North American premiere.

Flat Earth VR

VR is known as the ultimate empathy machine, allowing users to experience the perspective of others. But what happens when those perspectives are delusional? Experience the ultimate flat-earther fantasy: soar to the stars and prove all the globetrotters wrong by photographing the planet as it really is: flat as a pancake. World premiere.

Gondwana

A VR immersive experience that runs for 24 hours, Gondwana is an ever-evolving virtual ecosystem that charts the possible future of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, the Daintree. Based on climate data, each performance is unrepeatable and speculative, a meditation on time, change, and loss in an irreplaceable landscape. World Premiere.

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On the Morning You Wake (To the End of the World).

On an ordinary Saturday morning in January 2018, as Hawaiian citizens went about their daily routines, the entire population of the state received a text message from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency stating, “BALLISTIC RAKET THREAT FLYING INTO HAWAII. SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” World Premiere.

Seven Grams

An entirely new way to understand the human cost of making smartphones. This project brings the tragic mining industry of the Democratic Republic of Congo directly to the smartphone (iOS and Android), made with the help of mineral resources. North American premiere.

Suga’- A Live Virtual Dance Performance

An immersive experience that features a live dance performance as a volumetric video in a social virtual reality space. The performance weaves together movement, family histories, and cultural heritage to imagine virtual environments as sites for healing and reclaiming spaces historically filled with pain and injustice.

Surrogate

How do we engage with the future when we live in a world in crisis? In the midst of climate change, inequality, and pandemics, it is no longer possible to separate ourselves from the past and the future. How much control should we have over a birthing body and a life before birth? North American Premiere.

The Inside World

The city of Las Vegas is now managed by artificial intelligence. Fourteen AI “managers” take care of every area of the city. The only problem is that one of them is secretly human … World Premiere.

The State of Global Peace

The Prime Minister of a fictional country – played by you – is about to give a speech to a virtual UN General Assembly in the near future. A group of students hijacks the security system and takes over the screens to conduct a dialogue. World Premiere.

They Dream In My Bones

This 360-degree experience tells the story in virtual veils of Roderick Norman, a researcher in the field of onirogenetics, the science he founded that allows dreams to be extracted from an unidentified skeleton on the border between gender and humanity. North American Premiere.

This is not a Ceremony

With dark humor and occasional bite, this cinematic VR experience offers glimpses into the struggles and conflicts of growing up an indigenous man. World Premiere.

For more on each project, visit the official website.