Tribeca Film Festival’s VR Arcade Was an Exploratory, Pioneering Showcase

Published by , April 24, 2016 9:05 pm

(3DVRCentral) The Tribeca Film Festival’s VR arcade was an indoor bazaar of film-like tales, journalistic explorations, and immersive dream worlds. The pioneering producers are creating a new immersive and interactive art form while acknowledging eons of evolution are to come. “We’re trying to build the airplane while we’re in flight,” says Eugene Chung, chief executive of Penrose Studios, a VR content maker Chung founded after working at Oculus Rift and Pixar Animation. Penrose’s “Allumette” is one of the standouts at the festival. Set in a Venice-like city in the clouds, the 20-minute narrative is about a young girl and with magical matchsticks. The viewer can walk around the city or dive inside a docked ship, but the power of “Allumette” is as much in its story as its novel technology.
Many of the installations played like virtual reality demos providing the chance to dive among the reef off Italy or sit front row at a Grateful Dead concert. But the most interesting ones are predicated on applying traditional storytelling to the tools of virtual reality. “Invasion!” is the creation of Eric Darnell of Boabab Studios is veteran feature film director whose “Invasion!” was shown at the Festival. “There’s a lot to learn and there’s a long way to go,” Darnell says of VR. “But the holy grail for me to find that kind of emotional experience that we’re all used to getting from more traditional storytelling.” Darnell, accustomed to the roar of packed movie theaters, acknowledges missing the communal aspect of film. But he became a quick convert to virtual reality.

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