10 great virtual reality projects coming to the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival

From April 19-30, the Tribeca Film Festival will be hosting its Storyscapes and Virtual Arcade programs, showcasing the best of the latest crop of virtual reality. The following highlights 10 promising projects from both returning artists and VR newcomers.

Creators of 2016 hit “Allumette,” Eugene Chung and Penrose Studio are back with the beautiful animation “Arden’s Wake,” about a young woman who must leave her lighthouse home to embark on a dangerous mission to find her father. Also returning this year is the VR pioneer Chris Milk. His “Life of Us” (co-created with Aaron Koblin) traces the origins and evolution of life on earth and is scored by Grammy-winning and Oscar-nominated musician Pharrell Williams.

“The Last Goodbye,” by Gabo Arora and Ari Palitz (creators of 2016’s poignant My Mother’s Wing), uses stereo video capture within a photoreal roomscale to show Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter walking viewers through the Majdanek Concentration Camp. “Black Out” (Alexander Porter, Yasmin Elayat, James George, Mei-Ling Wong) meanwhile spotlights the simple and diverse beauty of New York City subway experiences by immersing viewers into the thoughts and imaginations of a unique set of commuters.

The exciting and wonderfully bizarre genre fusion, “NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism” (Ashley Baccus-Clark, Carmen Aguilar y Wedge, Ece Tankal, Nitzan Bartov), explores the experience of women of color through what Tribeca calls the “neurocosmetology lab” where “customers are fitted with transcranial electrodes that allow access to a surreal alternate world.”

2016 Tribeca’s artist in residence, Canadian duo Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël, of Felix & Paul Studios, are presenting “A People’s House,” an up and close experience with the Obamas giving an immersive tour of their former home and offices. More globally minded is “The Other Dakar,” which takes viewers across the world, to Senegal, to experience artist and designer Selly Raby Kane’s hometown through the eyes of a little girl.

The only woman to ever win an Oscar for Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow has partnered with Imraan Ismail to create “The Protectors: Walk in The Ranger’s Shoes,” which invites viewers to witness a day of defending elephants with rangers in Garamba National Park. A less Hollywood but equally socially significant project is Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab’s premiere of “Becoming Homeless: A Human Experience,” a first-person VR experience that seeks to create a deeper awareness of the reality of homelessness.

For those seeking a more relaxing, meditative experience, “Hallelujah” (Zach Richter, Bobby Halvorson, Eames Kolar) raises the bar for VR concerts with Lytro Immerge technology that offers greater freedom to seamlessly engage with the soothing music of the late Leonard Cohen.

Further details and the complete lineup can be found here.

Photo Credit: Hyphen-Labs / Sundance Film Festival

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