Oculus Rift, the virtual reality company acquired by Facebook last year for $2 billion, announced its initiative Story Studio, a small internal Oculus team devoted to developing VR films. The announcement accompanies the debut of the team’s first internally created film, Lost, at the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Lost, directed by ex-Pixar veteran Sashcka Unseld, is a real-time computer-generated VR experience in which a giant robotic hand wanders through a dark forest in search of its body. It is one of a record number of VR projects debuting in Park City this year (11 total). Others of note include:
Birdly, a full-body VR simulation of flying above San Francisco, during which the participants soar higher with each flap of their wings and feel air rushing against their faces.
Perspective: Chapter I: The Party, a collaboration between director Rose Troche and CG ace Morris May, allows viewers to experience a story of sexual assault at a college frat party through the perspective of both a man and a woman.
Evolution of Verse, a joint venture between Chris Milk and Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, riffs on an 1895 French film and features a train speeding towards the viewer before exploding into multicolor birds.
The palpable excitement around VR at Sundance this year is indicative of the potential many believe VR has in film. Perhaps, as one Wired writer put it, “the VR Filmmaking Revolution is Officially Underway.”