Tribeca, shuttered by coronavirus, revives its VR festival: Smaller, virtual, free

by damionhotham242 in Arts & Entertainment::Celebrities on October 19, 2020

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Tribeca Film Festival sign

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For the Tribeca Film Festival‘s virtual reality-focused Immersive program, the show must — and will — go on. In a world locked down by the coronavirusTribeca Immersive this year will be different: smaller, free and virtual. 

Three weeks ago, the Tribeca Film Festival — typically a rite of spring in New York when filmmakers, fans and immersive storytellers flock to theaters and elaborate VR showcases in downtown Manhattan — postponed the event, about six weeks before it was set to begin, after coronavirus containment rules made the massive gathering impossible

“It was a hard pill to swallow, of having worked so hard for an entire year and spent time away from my family…and then it just exploded,” said Loren Hammonds, the senior programmer of the Immersive program. But he got through that disappointment quickly, he said. “My responsibilities just kind of shifted, in terms of: Alright, let’s continue to take care of the creators, the best way we can.”

Starting April 17, the day the Immersive fest was supposed to kick off, Tribeca will revive part of its Immersive program by releasing 15 of the VR short films it had selected to part of the 2020 festival as free downloads on Facebook’s Oculus Quest and Oculus Go headsets.

It’s one of several moves the Tribeca Film Festival announced Friday to keep elements of the fest going. The fest will also let would-be festival-goers from the film industry and press watch participating films on a special online viewing hub. And the awards Tribeca gives out to feature films and shorts by juries of experts will still be presented and announced on tribecafilm.com.

“As human beings, we are navigating uncharted waters,” Tribeca Film Fest co-founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal said in a statement. “While we cannot gather in person to lock arms, laugh, and cry, it’s important for us to stay socially and spiritually connected. Tribeca is about resiliency, and we fiercely believe in the power of artists to bring us together. We were founded after the devastation of 9/11 and it’s in our DNA to bring communities together through the arts.”

The 15 VR films being released were part of Tribeca Immersive’s Cinema360 program. Curated into four themes, each collection runs about 30 to 40 minutes long. They’ll be available free on the Oculus TV app for Oculus Go and Oculus Quest. 

In addition, Oculus is releasing Tribeca Immersive’s VR award-winner from last year, The Key, as an app for Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift-S, and Oculus Quest. 

Hammonds said he and his team are still working on a plan B for the festival’s so-called Virtual Arcade, typically a large-scale physical exhibit of elaborate, immersive projects. The full list of all projects that were officially selected for drama korea sub indo the 2020 Immersive program can be found on Tribeca’s website, too.