Even though the Sundance Film Festival is known for its films, the truth is that the festival’s appeal extends far beyond the films.
There are 11 days each January when movie stars, film producers, and movie fans congregate in mountain-ringed Park City to take in film screenings, business dealings, and general hors d’oeuvres. What Sundance really offers is the opportunity to immerse yourself in an isolated world of seemingly computer-generated splendour, where everything else seems a long, long way away.
In other words, this year’s Sundance Film Festival is just like the metaverse—literally.
They decided to go completely virtual again this year because of an increase in omicron influx. Much of the festival, which ended Sunday, was conducted via laptop webinars, which have become increasingly common in recent years. In the days following the event, attendees would log on to watch films and the Q&A sessions that followed, all on their own. Nice, but it’s starting to sound stale.
Then there was also a more cutting-edge festival going on at the same time. Using an Oculus Quest 2 and a controller, festivalgoers could immerse themselves in the festival experience. This year, Sundance attendees could relive the communal experience that has long been a hallmark of the actual festival. Tickets ranged from $50 to more than $750 and beyond.
Doing so would allow you to absorb the Sundance metaverse into the metaverse.
This will help you understand why some people and companies are so eager to reach this metaverse location in the first place.
As a result, what had taken place on the snowy ground in Utah was recreated in virtual reality headsets. There were gatherings of people. In addition, there are panels. Likewise, there are screenings to consider (in VR movie theaters). When a festivalgoer wanders into an unknown space, they leave with an experience they’ll remember for the rest of their lives, even if they don’t move a muscle.
Festivalgoers sat in real seats and watched a film in a “virtual cinema” as if they were in a real theatre. During one of these screenings, people in the front row bobbed their heads; others chatted to the left and right. Distractions abounded, but the excitement of going to a movie with friends made up for it. When the lights were on and an avatar was moving with the speed of an elephant, sneaking out during a screening was a festival tradition that proved to be difficult. Can a metaverse compete with the real world if it doesn’t allow us to slip out of a room unnoticed? )?
A Q&A session with the filmmakers followed the screening, with avatars beaming in from all over the theatre to the front. Additionally, Shari Frilot, a curator at Sundance, appeared on the screen. Frilot remarked, “Coming together and talking like this is unique.”
In fact, it’s a fact. However, if one could see the filmmakers, wouldn’t that mean that the filmmakers could see the audience as well?
Viewers swaying wildly in their avatar heads or, for the sake of illustration and no other reason, collapsing in an unsteady slumber. You can see everyone else in the metaverse, which is a positive development. The downside of the metaverse is that everyone can see you at all times.
After the screenings, the festival held film parties, where attendees could enter a waiting area known as The Spaceship and then step into a virtual film lounge. Media and film industry representatives gathered in a cantina-style bar, moving around and texting with one another. Talking movies with old friends and making new ones, about what we’ve seen, what we’ve bought, and what we hope to win.
What attracted me to the metaverse was becoming apparent: it was exactly like going to Sundance in person. No one cared about my identity. It didn’t matter what was going on in the rest of the world, its problems, its pettiness, or its social codes. You could only go so far with your non-metaverse self in this environment, where taste was a form of identity.
Of course, there was a publicist on-hand to handle all of this. Some reporters were not interested in seeing certain publicists because they wanted to cover something the publicists didn’t want covered by the publicists. When the reporter realised he was too far away from the exit, he spun around. He even tried to turn off the video in a fit of hysteria. What was he thinking? This wasn’t Zoom! That’s when the publicist arrived. So, he had no choice but to report. He was about to face the dreaded prospect of being pitched at a film festival.
As the evening progressed, it became clear to me that the interaction was telling. “Web3” is said to be more immersive and interconnected than the current social Web, and turning off and shrinking away will be difficult. If you want to disappear into a sea of white text on black grids, you can’t turn off your video. You’ve entered the metaverse when you have a unique avatar, outfit, and face to represent you in it. There’s no doubt who it is.
It’s also possible that one of the consolation is that it’s not you.
“We Met in Virtual Reality” was one of the most intriguing films to be shown at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Joe Hunting, the film’s director, spent months filming inside the virtual reality platform VRChat. What a fascinating look at human interaction — people getting to know each other through common activities like carpooling, road trips, and cultural events like going to theme parks and seeing live performances — It’s just like any other observational documentary, except that it was shot entirely in the virtual reality world of VRChat.