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Sundance Institute New Frontier Presenting 30+ Virtual Reality Experiences In Sundance Film Festival 2016

Sundance Institute’s New Frontier is launching a new Artist Residency Program and Story Lab for VR! New Frontier is a department in Sundance Institute that has been focusing on the newest multimedia technology, and had been pushing boundaries with new medium of storytelling.


new frontier sundance

New Frontier Celebrating 10 Years Anniversary

In celebration of its amazing 10 years anniversary, New Frontier is launching a 6 month long Artist Residency Program for Story Lab with JauntVR. JauntVR with its own studio launched in April, which resides in heart of Hollywood, and financial backing from Disney is aiming to take lead in immersive storytelling using cutting edge VR technology such as its own bespoken 360 camera, that is currently only available to its affiliated partners and film industry elites.



Story Lab is known as Sundance Institute’s incubation unit, to promote cinematic VR and immersive storytelling! The new program is to support, cultivate and incubate upcoming VR content and film makers. This is Story Lab’s first major step focusing on Virtual Reality.


sundance film festival 2016


Sundance Institute has announced the expansion of New Frontier section at Sundance Film Festival 2016, which runs from Jan. 21 to 31 in Utah. This year, the film festival is presenting 30+ Virtual Reality experiences, comparing to 2-handful of VR experiences from last year’s Sundance, Virtual Reality is truly happening in 2016, it has came a long way!


“Virtual reality represents an entirely new medium for entertainment and media, one where creativity is the new currency, artistic vision trumps tradition and immersion intensifies viewer emotions.” By Cliff Plumer, President of Jaunt Studios


“As we drive forward, our mission is to empower the next generation of artists and filmmakers. The launch of the Sundance Institute New Frontier | Jaunt VR Residency is further proof that cinematic virtual reality is a major force in the evolution of storytelling.” By Jaunt Studios President Cliff Plumer


“Whether it’s books or television or film or now augmented and virtual reality, this is all part of how we communicate with each other as a species. I think we would really limit the potential of this medium if we weren’t looking beyond the tech and gaming world.” By Kamal Sinclair, co-director of New Frontier


Virtual reality, or VR, is “really the new format, where so many people are working in it. Everybody’s fascinated by this new kind of storytelling that can be so immersive, and it’s becoming so easy to do it. Your imagination isn’t holding you back any longer.” By Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper


new frontier installation

New Frontier installations that are presenting at Sundance Film Festival 2016 will run from Jan. 21-31. There will be three locations housing these installations, check the New Frontier page for more details.

Virtual Reality Line-up From New Frontier @ Sundance Film Festival 2016

New Frontier also will expand outside Utah later this year, with exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in April and at the Walker Center in Minneapolis in June. Check below for full Virtual Reality line-up taken from Salt Lake Tribute:

• “The Abbot’s Book” • Artists: Michael Conelly, Lyndon Barrois; key collaborators: Keith Goldfarb, William Telford • “Four generations of an Italian noble family are cursed by the corrupt power of an ancient book unearthed from the catacombs beneath their estate. Rich with traditional gothic-inspired mythology, the story follows a scion of this cursed family attempting to shield his heirs from the inevitable darkness. Cast: JB Blanc.”

• “Across the Line” • Artists: Nonny de la Peña, Brad Lichtenstein, Jeff Fitzsimmons • “This immersive VR experience puts the audience on the scene with anti-abortion extremists trying to intimidate patients seeking sexual and reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood. Using documentary footage and a montage of real audio, viewers gain intimate knowledge of the harassment outside and compassion inside health centers across the country. Cast: Samantha Collier, Kristina Nailen, Raegan McDonald-Mosley M.D., Charles Gilbert, Lee Sherman, Joe Spence.”

• “theBlu: Encounter” • Artists: Jake Rowell, Neville Spiteri, Ben Vance • “Encounter an 80-foot blue whale while experiencing the awe, wonder and majesty of underwater habitats, designed as beautiful moments in passing or a collection of memories.”

• “Cardboard Crash” • Artists: Vincent McCurley, Loc Dao • “A virtual reality experiment questions the ethics of artificial-intelligence algorithms in self-driving cars when they are faced with difficult decisions during an unavoidable crash event. Given varied cultural and individual ethics, who should be designing these algorithms, and how should they be chosen?”

• “Collisions” • Artist: Lynette Wallworth • “Journey to a remote desert in western Australia that is home to indigenous leader Nyarri Morgan and the Martu tribe. Nyarri’s first contact with Western culture was in the 1950s via a dramatic collision between his traditional world view and the cutting edge of modern technology. Cast: Nyarri Nyarri Morgan, Curtis Taylor.”

• “Condition One” • Artists: Danfung Dennis, Casey Brown, Phil McNally; key collaborators: Jay Brown, Andrew Delpit, Chris McClanahan • “Encounter a majestic jaguar deep in the jungle, lie with a nesting sea turtle on a windy beach and fly with monarch butterflies, all before they disappear. This powerful virtual reality experience is a glimpse into the habitats of Earth’s endangered species.”

• “Defrost” • Artist: Randal Kleiser; key collaborator: Tanna Frederick • “In this futuristic, sci-fi virtual reality adventure, viewers are put in the seat of a woman who wakes up after being frozen for nearly 30 years to reunite with her family. The reunion is bittersweet, as the passage of time has caused her loved ones to become strangers. Cast: Carl Weathers, Bruce Davison, Tanna Frederick, Christopher Atkins, Ethan Rains, Clinton Valencia.”

• “fabulous” • Artists: Toby Coffey, Lysander Ashton, Ollie Lindsey; key collaborator: Mahdi Yahya • “Fall down the rabbit hole and experience the magical and vibrant digital world of the Royal National Theater’s ‘’ stage show. Watch and listen with VR technology as the Cheshire cat hovers above like a magnificent holographic airship while serenading you to ‘Fabulous,’ a song from the show. Cast: Hal Fowler.”

• “Hard World for Small Things” • Artist: Janicza Bravo • “A day in the life of a tight-knit community in South Central Los Angeles. Cast: Keith Stanfield, Brandon Scott, Hannah Heller, Idara Victor, Jodie Smith.”

• “A History of Cuban Dance” • Artist: Lucy Walker • “Organic, spontaneous, sexy dances progress chronologically through Afro-Cuban Santería rumba, mambo, cha-cha-chá, salsa, breakdancing and reggaeton, with optional audio tracks reflecting the broader story of Cuban history as revealed in the moves. This live-action virtual reality documentary was filmed on location in Cuba and features Ballet de la Televisión Cubana. Cast: Ballet de la Televisión Cubana.”

• “Irrational Exuberance” • Artist: Ben Vance; key collaborators: Sam Bird, Joel Corelitz • “Uniquely designed for room-scale VR, this interactive art experience gives the viewer an intimate connection to the possibilities and wonders of space, where mysterious phenomena, hidden beauty and the infinite await.”

• “Job Simulator” • Artists: Alex Schwartz, Devin Reimer • “This experience of manning an office cubicle is a unique blend of storytelling, comedy and intuitive game mechanics that focuses on micro-interactions. Pick up a tomato, smash a glass and explore a sandbox world with childlike wonder, while ignoring established gaming systems.”

• “Kiya” • Artist: Nonny de la Peña; key collaborator: Emblematic Group • “In this harrowing virtual reality story of a real-life domestic violence homicide, two sisters engage in a doomed struggle to save the third from being shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend. Utilizing audio and imagery captured at the real event, this piece transforms the audience from viewers to active witnesses. Cast: Lee Sherman, Toyin Moses, Tripp Pickell, Diana Toshiko.”

• “The Martian VR Experience” • Artists: Robert Stromberg, Ridley Scott; key collaborators: Fox Innovation Lab, RSA Films, VRC • Step into the shoes of astronaut Mark Watney as he performs tasks that will facilitate his chances for survival and rescue. Viewers can fly onto the surface of Mars, steer at zero gravity through space and drive a rover, deepening the experience of key scenes from Ridley Scott’s hit film ‘The Martian.’ ”

• “Nomads: Maasai” • Artists: Felix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphael; key collaborator: Stephane Rituit • “Witness the Maasai tribe’s living heritage in the village of Enkutoto, Kenya, through repeated walkabout visuals in the Great Rift Valley. Watch jumping-dance competitions, the men’s unmatched hunting abilities and the women’s skills in building mud houses, long-distance water collection and bead artwork.”

• “Nomads: Sea Gypsies” • Artists: Felix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphael; key collaborators: Stephane Rituit, Jean-Pascal Beaudoin • “In this episode of ‘Nomads,’ viewers share the Bajau tribe’s nomadic existence on crammed houseboats that sway to the motion of river waters. Watch as the families travel with fellow boat-dwelling relatives, always sharing a communal spirit.”

• “Notes on Blindness—Into Darkness” • Artists: Arnaud Colinart, Amaury Laburthe, Peter Middleton, James Spinney; key collaborators: Arnaud Desjardins, Béatrice Lartigue, Fabien Togman • “After losing his sight in 1983, John Hull began to record an audio-diary documenting his discovery of ‘a world beyond sight.’ Hull’s original recordings form the basis of this interactive documentary, which uses real-time 3-D, virtual reality and binaural sound to explore the world of the blind. Cast: John Hull.”

• “100 Humans” • Artists: Daniel Schechter, Linc Gasking, Rainer Gombos; key collaborators: Preya McMahon, Alexander Burke, Christina Webber • “#100humans is the story of the first humans who walked through 8i’s doors to help invent a new medium. Using 3-D video technology to record real people for VR, this story explores a new level of emotional connections and sense of presence that brings viewers the most lifelike intimate experience. Cast: Ashley Martin Scott, Logan Paul, Young Guru, Denise Garcia, Brent Bushnell.”

• “Perspective 2: The Misdemeanor” • Artists: Rose Troche, Morris May; key collaborator: Charles Ottaway • “When two men are stopped by a police officer, a simple misdemeanor spirals out of control, turning the situation rapidly antagonistic. With each party suspecting the other, no one is able to stop the chain of events that follows. Cast: Shemar Jonas, Javon Jones, Joey Auzenne, Johnny Tchaikovsky.”

• “The Rose and I” • Artists: Eugene Chung, Jimmy Maidens, Alex Woo; key collaborators: Terry Kaleas, Ryan Shore, Nick Sung • “An immersive, animated VR film crafted by the artists, hackers and storytellers of Penrose Studios, ‘The Rose and I’ is about loneliness, friendship, love and loss. Come meet a lonely Rose living in the unlikeliest of places, and be transported into a brand new universe. Cast: Rachael Bigelow.”

• “Sequenced” • Artists: Emilie Joly, Sylvain Joly, Michaël Martin; key collaborators: Maria Beltran Reyes, John Howe, Richard Johnson • “A teenage girl becomes guardian of the last city on Earth to change its fate by fusing her instinctive knowledge of nature with an AI’s benevolence, analysis and foresight. This interactive animated series made for virtual reality relies on your focus for the story to evolve. Cast: Peter Coyote, Morgan Burch.”

• “Sisters” • Artists: Robyn Gray, Andrew Goldstein, Michael Murdock; key collaborator: Philip Eberhart • “Be careful where you look because someone or something doesn’t want you here. Otherworld presents two chapters in their popular horror series. Experience two sets of thrills and chills as you physically walk through a haunted house and experience a virtual reality ghost story that will scare your pants off. Cast: Julia Chalker, Greg Vogt.”

• “6×9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement” • Artists: Francesca Panetta, Lindsay Pollution • “Right now, more than 80,000 people are locked in tiny concrete boxes where every element of their environment is controlled. They are confined to spaces with no human contact, and the sensory deprivation they endure causes severe psychological damage. These people are invisible to us — and eventually to themselves.”

• “Sonar” • Artists: Philipp Maas, Dominik Stockhausen • “When a drone receives a faint distress call emerging from an unknown asteroid, it journeys to locate the source of the signal and ventures into a deep, ancient labyrinth that holds a secret even darker than space itself.”

• “Stonemilker” • Artist: Andrew Thomas Huang; key collaborator: Björk Guðmundsdóttir • “A virtual reality collaboration between Vrse works creator Andrew Thomas Huang and Björk explores the possibilities that VR holds for performance platforms outside of the traditional music video world. Cast: Björk.”

• “Surge” • Artist: Arjan van Meerten • “An abstract meditation on the evolutionary process and its relentless march towards complexity, this virtual reality music video was produced over the course of a year, with Arjan van Meertan creating all of the music, animation and code himself.”

• “The Unknown Photographer” • Artists: Loic Suty, Osman Zeki, Claudine Matte; key collaborators: Catherine Mavrikakis, François Lafontaine • “This immersive documentary unveils a journey into the heart of the First World War through hundreds of photographs that were found in the abandoned workshop of a country house in Quebec, Canada. Cast: Julian Casey, François Papineau.”

• “Viens! (Come!)” • Artists: Michel Reilhac, Carl Guyenette; key collaborators: Mélanie Le Grand, Xavier Servas, Sebastian Shorter • “Three women and four men, all naked, appear out of nowhere in the white, sunny space of a bright room outside of time. They meet, touch, share their energy and are transformed spiritually; they let themselves become one with the world. Cast: Amador Jojo, Ayoti, Christophe De La Pointe, De La Fouquette, Flozif, Yumie Volupté.”

• “Waves” • Artists: Benjamin Dickinson, Reggie Watts, Luis Blackaller; key collaborators: Anthony Batt, Neville Spiteri • “Reggie Watts weaves a virtual reality story that is a dream-within-a-dream meta-ride down the rabbit hole, where the only constants seem to be his philosophical musings, comedic insights and musical genius. Cast: Reggie Watts, Nathalie Emmanuel.”

• “Waves of Grace” • Artists: Gabo Arora, Chris Milk; key collaborators: Imraan Ismail, Samantha Storr, Patrick Milling Smith • “In this experience viewers are transported to the most populous slum in the capital city of Liberia, where Decontee Davis, an Ebola survivor, uses her immunity to help others affected by the disease. Cast: Decontee Davis.”


New Frontier at Sundance Institute is a dynamic initiative created to identify and foster independent artists working at the convergence of film, art, media, live performance, music and technology. Since 2007, the New Frontier exhibition at the Sundance Film Festival has provided the highest level of curation in the emerging field, incorporating fiction, non-fiction and hybrid projects to showcase transmedia storytelling, multi-media installations, performances and films.


A bold spirit of innovation has emerged among artists as they seek to engage audiences with narrative worlds that leverage new technologies, visual aesthetics, social media cultures, immersive designs, game theory, transmedia activism and shifts in the boundaries of authorship. In the last decade, the media landscape has transformed and storytellers are both exploring as well as constructing this new terrain, pioneering new connections with audiences and re-structuring story design.


The Labs and Residency programs at New Frontier work to identify and foster independent artists and creative technologists innovating the art and form of story at the convergence of diverse forms of creative expression; and to build a community of collaborators across diverse disciplines to push the boundaries of story.



With an emphasis on story, this Lab supports artists who are developing interactive, immersive, or experimental projects that aim to create rich and resonant experiences for audiences. The New Frontier Story Lab is open to a wide variety of storytelling disciplines, forms and story designs. 2016 applications will be available to storytellers, artists and creative technologists July 1, 2015.



Author: VR Reporter

I am a hi-tech enthusiast, VR evangelist, and a Co-founder & Chief Director at Virtual Reality Reporter!

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