Tribeca Film Festival unveils its VR and AR lineup

New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival released its Immersive lineup this morning, including 20 virtual reality and augmented reality pieces in the Virtual Arcade, plus five that are part of the Storyscapes competition.

The lineup includes some big names from the film world, including Terrence Malick (Together), Laurie Anderson (Chalkroom), Rosario Dawson (BattleScar), Lupita Nyong’o (My Africa), Alicia Vikander (Arden’s Wake: Tide’s Fall) and the band OK Go (Untitled OK Go & WITHIN Project).

Tribeca’s Loren Hammonds has said in the past that when he chooses work for the Immersive program, he focuses on pieces that tell stories — works that are closer to a 360-degree film than an interactive game.

This time, however, some games have made it into the mix, namely Star Child a platform game that Hammonds said “definitely has a story at its core,” and Vacation Simulator, the sequel to Owlchemy Labs’ Job Simulator, which is focused on the more menial tasks involved in taking time off.

The festival is also adding something called Cinema360, a theatrical program where everyone experiences several VR pieces together. There are four separate tracks, bringing together up to three different works in one program — VR for Good Creators Lab, This is Climate Change, the horror-themed It’s Right Behind You and the experimental Horizons.

Hammonds said this is an attempt to break through the occasionally isolating effect of VR. Cinema360 won’t be quite the same thing as watching a movie in a crowded theater, because you’re getting your own experience on your own headset. But Hammonds said, “I think this goes back to what festivals do best … Those 20 people who have seen all of the same pieces within the same timeframe will have the opportunity to step outside and talk to each other about it.”

Tribeca Immersive will run at the Tribeca Festival Hub from April 20 to 28. You can see the full lineup on the Tribeca website.