VR at Tribeca: Taking Storytelling to the Next Level

Future Lighthouse
May 9, 2017 · 4 min read
Our creative director Rafael Pavón watching Arden’s Wake

The excitement over VR storytelling was palpable during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Several of our team members attended the film festival in Manhattan and immersed themselves in some of the best VR productions in the world.

As VR storytellers we were thrilled to see the expansion of VR content during this year’s event. At Tribeca Immersive’s Virtual Arcade featuring Storyscapes there were 30 VR and innovative interactive projects on display which included thought-provoking experiences and installations from top creators and emerging artists, including 20 world premieres.

Welcome to our top 5 VR experiences at Tribeca:

1. Arden’s Wake: The Prologue:

Following Allumette’s success, we weren’t sure how Penrose Studios could top it, but they did just that with Arden’s Wake. We were all in awe at this experience’s stunning visual execution and its close to perfect mechanics of scale for this passive VR experience and an amazing storyline.

We were all submerged in Arden’s underwater adventure in this VR fictional animation that held our attention every second and every minute and left us wanting to watch the whole experience once it becomes available. Kudos to the Penrose team for another big hit.

2. The Last Goodbye

The Last Goodbye screenshot

Gabo Arora does it again! The visionary behind Clouds Over Sidra, brings yet another VR project to the forefront to foster conversation and seek to generate compassion. This experience seemed so much more relevant in the world we live in today. The Last Goodbye took us on a very personal journey of a Holocaust survivor returning to the concentration camp where he was held and lost all his family.

This was a heart wrenching VR testimony and some of our team members were so impacted by it that they even walked away in tears. It was strong, it was human, it was real. This is what VR is all about and how all VR should be. We loved its artistry and the use of room-scale VR and volumetric capture. The Last Goodbye has earned a lot of high praise from the media and it is well deserved. Congratulations, Gabo and the team!

3. Life of Us

We call this immersion!

In all honesty, when we saw the graphics up on the screen we weren’t sure we would like this experience, but boy were we wrong. It was fantastic and fun!

Within’s Life of Us was a shared experience, a multiviewer visual journey inside the evolution of humankind from single cell organisms all the way to the Singularity. We were able to share this simultaneously with other team members and we truly had a blast whether we were dinosaurs or birds flying high and with a high pitched voice effect… Oh boy, did we laugh. We did! So hard, that we were crying of laughter!

4. Sergeant James

Sergent James screenshot

We loved this one! Directed by Alexandre Perez, its visual approach and its way of using first-person point of view as a narrative resource to further the story was clever and brilliant. You’ll have to watch it if you want to find out if there’s anything or anyone under Leo’s bed.

5. Treehugger: Wawona

Have you ever seen, felt or smelled a tree in VR? Well, we did all three at Tribeca. We actually really did smell the redwoods in this interactive experience. While there is not a concrete storyline, we did perceive this to be an innovative way to interact in VR through touch and smell and a way forward for how we will be able to tell stories in VR using all the senses in the future. Some of us walked away from this tree hugging experience feeling energized like we had just done a whole hour of yoga.

Marshmallow Laser Feast won the Tribeca’s Storyscapes Award with this great experience — congrats!

Treehugger screenshot

We can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year’s Tribeca Film Festival and who knows, Future Lighthouse might be on the show floor next year.