Tribeca’s latest VR festival might be its best yet

The world-renowned film festival is stepping up its virtual offerings of experimental films and interactive experiences.

It has been more than two years since COVID-19 entered our lives, radically altering the way we socialize, work and live on a daily basis. Almost every industry, from entertainment to education, has felt the impact of government lockdown protocols and quarantines, but few more than the live events industry.

This includes the Tribeca Film Festival, which for several years has offered a virtual counterpart to its in-person Tribeca Immersive showcase in Tribeca, New York, as a way for visitors to experience a hand-picked selection of groundbreaking immersive films and experiences. interactive. from the safety and comfort of their homes. That said, this year’s virtual showcase might be the most impressive yet.

From now until Sunday, June 19, anyone with a PC VR or Meta Quest headset (via Air Link or Virtual Desktop) can access a wide range of immersive content ranging from thought-provoking documentaries and short fiction films to gender-defying interactive experiences. While it may seem odd, what excites me most about this year’s virtual storefront is its accessibility. Built by VR Creative Director Dani Bittman using a combination of VR art tools such as Tilting brush and Gravity Sketchthe virtual event space is custom-designed for VR headsets and extremely easy to navigate.

To access the Tribeca Immersive in VR showcase, you must first download The Museum of Other Realities, an immersive multiplayer art showcase. The app itself is free, as is the “Immersive Arcade: The Showcase” DLC that you need to download to access the event. Once in VR, you are greeted by a vast museum hallway. Here you can customize your personal avatar and learn more about how to communicate with other visitors, take photos in VR and interact with the world itself.

There are even a handful of virtual cocktails you can access by reaching over your shoulder and pressing the trigger on your motion controller. Each of these digital drinks exhibits its own unique effects when drunk. The green drink, for example, will turn you into a virtual giant, while the pink drink will shrink you to miniature. Of course, you can always discard the blue cocktail to return to its normal size. It might seem like a small addition, but it’s those kinds of details that help bring the place to life.

Once you’re nice and tipsy, you can then head to the main event space. It is on this colorful square that you will find all the immersive projects available for viewing. Each experience has its own unique entry that serves as an extension of the project itself. Not only does this add a bit of character, but it actually helps you immerse yourself in the experience before it even begins, much like the physical exhibits you’ll find at the in-person event in New York. After paying the $4.99 entrance fee, you can then access each project by contacting the light platforms located in front of each exhibition. There is also a miniature exhibit located in the center of the plaza that you can shrink down and explore at your leisure.

We’re still going through the full catalog of projects available as part of this year’s showcase, but what we’ve seen so far makes us want to try the rest. Here are some amazing projects we’ve discovered so far:

  • Insight (Benjamin Cleary, Michael O’Connor) In this interactive virtual reality animated short, we follow Herbie (Taron Egerton) and his girlfriend Rice (Lucy Boynton) as they overcome the obstacles of a modern relationship. Along with phenomenal voice acting and eye-catching visuals, this surreal VR movie features several interactive moments designed to engage you further in the story. The result is an emotionally draining VR experience that will leave you contemplating your relationships with others; it’s when you’re not crying into your helmet.
  • Planet City VR (Liam Young) Imagine if the entirety of humanity lived in a single city made up of various races, religions and cultures. This is the premise behind Planet City VR, a thought-provoking 3D animated film centered on Planet City, a fictional metropolis inhabited by over 10 billion people. Narrated by a young climate activist, the film raises awareness of the devastating effects of global warming, serving as a warning of what could happen if nothing is done.
  • Emerging Radiance: A Tribute to the Nikkei Farmers of Bellevue (Tani Ikeda, Michelle Kumata)Best described as an animated hand-painted mural, Emerging Shard tells the story of three Japanese-American farmers who found themselves suddenly uprooted after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. Each subject recounts their life before, during and after their time in World War II incarceration camps. The project offers an unfiltered look at an often overlooked part of American history in a visually captivating way. The experience is also available as an Instagram Spark AR filter.

As stated earlier, these are just a few of the amazing projects we’ve tried so far. Tribeca Immersive’s virtual exhibit features a dozen projects to explore, with even more available onsite at the physical exhibit in Tribeca, NY. We’ll be covering more of these game-changing projects over the coming week, so be sure to check back regularly.

Tribeca Immersive is open to the public until Sunday, June 19. Those looking to access the virtual storefront will need a VR PC or Meta Quest (via Air Link or virtual office) helmet. Whereas The Museum of Other Realities the application is free, you will have to pay the $4.99 admission fees in order to enjoy the full selection of content.

For a full breakdown of this year’s projects, visit here.

Image credit: Tribeca

About Monty S. Maynard

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