The Sundance Film Festival is currently taking place in Park City, Utah, showcasing not only the best in original film but also the very latest in immersive experiences. As part of the event Oculus has premiered one title while teasing another, they are Traveling While Black and The Under Presents, respectively.
Traveling While Black is the work of Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams and co-directed with Ayesha Nadarajah and Felix & Paul Studios, created in collaboration with The New York Times Op-Docs. It is a 20-minute documentary focusing on the long history of the restricted movement for black Americans and the creation of safe spaces in communities.
“I hope Traveling While Black sparks a conversation that inspires real solutions and awareness,” Williams told Oculus Blog. “If this film asks the right questions and gets people to think about this ongoing crisis in America — not avoid or gloss over it, just to have a profound discussion about race in America instead of looking the other way — then we’ve succeeded.”
If you own an Oculus Rift or Oculus Go headset then you can watch Traveling While Black for yourself, available through the store for free.
The Under Presents, on the other hand, is merely a teasing glimpse at what’s to come later this year. Created by the team behind Virtual Virtual Reality and augmented reality (AR) experience Tendar, Tender Claws aim to blend immersive theatre and virtual reality (VR).
“There is a lot of interest in exploring the overlap of immersive theater and VR,” says Samantha Gorman, co-founder of Tender Claws. “The project’s narrative revolves around fate and free will and as part of that we’re interested in playing with the change of feeling of interacting with both pre-recorded and live characters. As well as other players and past recorded versions of themselves.”
Merging live actors and scripted performances with a narrative arc that centers on themes of time, fate and free will, for The Under Presents Tender Claws collaborated with NYC-based theatre collective Piehole to feature both motion-captured characters and live actors throughout the story.