It’s quite often the case that only a few immersive films ever make it away from the film festivals, securing funding for a wider public release. Those that have tend to receive substantial backing such as Spheres or Traveling While Black. The current pandemic has shifted expectations regarding what these types of events can achieve when forced to move to a digital format, one of the best examples being today’s release of Tribeca Immersive’s Cinema360 programme thanks to Oculus.
As previously reported, the pair have partnered up in a way which allows everyone at home to enjoy a selection of short films from around the world, from 360-degree videos to animation. It’s a chance to showcase some of the wonderful talent emerging across the globe, creatives experimenting with immersive technology to tell imaginative stories or tackle serious subjects in new ways.
While it is a bit of a shame the content is limited to Oculus TV and therefore purely Oculus Quest and Oculus Go headsets (which means no Oculus Rift support), for those that do have access to either then the selection of free content is worth exploring, split across four sections; Dreams to Remember, Seventeen Plus, Kinfolk and Pure Imagination.
There are a total of 15 films across the categories and while there is certainly some stand out gems, they’re all worth a look; especially considering they’re only available until 25th April. Those which caught VRFocus’ eye include Rain Fruits from South Korea, a story about Tharu who comes to Korea from Myanmar in search of work as an engineer and the hardships he faces as an alien worker.
Or then there’s 360 video Home from Taiwan, a touching family film where the viewer is the grandmother, who can no longer move, react, or hear clearly. It’s a day in the life, where all the family get together, enjoying one another’s company. For those who like animation Lutaw from the USA/Philippines is a high-quality production, following two siblings who look for a better way to commute to the other island where their school is.
For a mixture for styles including 360-video, CGI and a play on scale, then there’s Attack on Daddy, another South Korean film where a dad looks for his daughter inside her dollhouse. And because these are all easily accessible through Oculus TV, if you’re using Oculus Quest then you’ve also got full hand tracking control to play with.
Most importantly Tribeca’s mini VR film festival is a great showcase for the future of film festivals online and through VR headsets. The ability to reach a mass audience rather than the elite few is what content like this needs, so hopefully this will continue and become more widespread into the future.