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Virtual Reality Demands Attention at Sundance 2017

Sundance has been kind to virtual reality over the years, and the 2017 festival is doing its part to issue in VR as a mainstream entertainment option.  This year the fest is highlighting current trends in burgeoning medium, and introduced the “VR Palace”, a ticketed venue where festival goers can don headsets and immerse themselves in 20 unique VR selections.

Pictured above is a still from the VR short “My Brother’s Keeper”.  Inspired by the PBS primetime Civil War drama “Mercy Street,” the Connor Hair and Alex Meader creation is a Civil War-inspired narrative that pushes the boundaries of immersive storytelling while remaining anchored in historical fact. It is the story of two estranged brothers who, fighting on opposing sides, unknowingly reunite one last time on the battlefield at Antietam.

While Sundance’s New Frontier has shone a spotlight on VR for the past five years, 2017 represents a particularly crucial juncture for the technology. This year’s showcase comes after a full year of availability for all sorts of hardware dedicated to VR viewing.  As headset manufacturers from Sony to Samsung have discovered the hard way, adoption of this technology is coming along slowly.  Those of us who have sampled VR though are confident it will become mainstream in it’s own time.

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