Every year, when the Sundance Film Festival rolls around, wealthy Hollywood folks and the journalists who cover them gather in Park City, Utah, to admire a handful of the most prestigious independent films to grace our presence. Usually, that means everyone who’s not lucky enough to attend is left out until the movies — if lucrative enough — actually hit theaters.
Fortunately, this year, that’s no longer the case for more than a dozen experiences filmed in virtual reality (via Wired). So long as you’re equipped with a Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard headset, you can download the Sundance VR app for free and start watching everything from the lighthearted Reggie Watts’ Waves (of Comedy Bang! Bang! fame) to first-person Planned Parenthood experience, Across The Line, in 360 degrees of raw impact.
Each of these films will expire on February 12, however, so if you’re interested, you may want to act swiftly. Luckily, it seems they’ll all be making a return at various points throughout the year in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the New Frontier program, the segment that brings less-than-traditional storytelling mediums to Sundance every year.
And, though you won’t be able to access every VR experience the film festival has to offer, it’s still a neat, totally unexpected gift for movie junkies.
“Sundance as a festival has been growing in different ways to make our program more accessible,” says Shari Frilot of the Sundance New Frontier initiative. “So this is a natural extension of what we’ve been doing all along to try to give access to people outside of Park City.”
This all comes in what many are considering to be the year of VR, and with headsets from Facebook, Valve, HTC, Sony, and more scheduled to arrive this year, it’s not difficult to see why. With more hardware out in the wild than ever before, more opportunities for creators outside of the tech and gaming niche are beginning to emerge. And that’s great news for the future of the medium.
The Sundance VR app was a collaborative project between New Frontier and IM360 from Immersive Media. You can download it for free through the Oculus store app through Gear VR or on Google Cardboard.
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