The Sundance Institute is launching a new virtual reality residency program aimed at filmmakers who are looking to tell stories in an interactive way.

The six-month program will be run by Sundance's New Frontier program that supports independent artists working on cutting edge art, film, music, media and technology, along with the partnership with VR firm Jaunt Studios. Known for its VR camera system, previously recording a Paul McCartney concert using 360-degree video and for having the financial backing from Disney and CAA, Jaunt Studios will provide participants with its VR camera hardware and software — which is huge in itself because VR rigs are expensive and are still hard to come by.

"Virtual reality represents an entirely new medium for entertainment and media, one where creativity is the new currency, artistic vision trumps tradition and immersion intensifies viewer emotions," Cliff Plumer, president of Jaunt Studios, said in a release. "As we drive forward our mission is to empower the next generation of artists and filmmakers. The launch of the Sundance Institute New Frontier/ Jaunt VR Residency is further proof that cinematic virtual reality is a major force in the evolution of storytelling, and of our commitment to get this technology into the hands of cutting edge filmmakers and storytellers."

Lynette Wallworth is the first artist selected to participate in the cinematic virtual reality residency program, with three more artists expected to be announced in the coming months. Wallworth will participate with her project Collisions, which is about an Aboriginal elder whose life is extremely impacted by Western science and technology.

During the residency, the four artists will explore new VR techniques and will receive a grant so that they can produce their own virtual reality short films.

While this is the first VR-specific residency program, the Sundance Film Festival (which is organized by the Sundance Institute) is no stranger to the tech. Oculus launched its filming initiative, called Story Studio at Sundance, last January, along with some of its projects in the world for Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR headsets.

Source: Sundance

Photo: Nan Palmero | Flickr

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