After attending the “Power of Story: Makers of the New Narrative Revolution” panel at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, I knew I had to experience the festival’s “New Frontier” program for myself.
I don’t have much experience with virtual reality, etc., which is what this part of the festival is all about: fostering new immersive and innovative storytelling formats and technologies.
I found myself with some extra time between screenings Sunday, so I decided to explore the festival’s New Frontier Central location near Fresh Market in Park City for a little while.
New Frontier Central is open to festival credential holders and houses a variety of unique, cutting-edge exhibits and installations from VR to an immersive, three-dimensional projection stage.
The immersive stage is where I spent most of my time during this visit, since the other exhibits were full (an indication of just how popular “New Frontier” is). As I approached the area, a friendly worker explained the exhibit to me, gave me a pair of wireless headphones to wear and invited me to enter and walk around the stage.
The stage is located in a good-sized corner of the room with a white floor and white walls, surrounded by chairs. I spent a few minutes walking around and observing the sights and sounds of the exhibit.
The work I saw, titled “Esperpento,” was very abstract, but it was unique and interesting to experience a story by seemingly entering a new world and exploring it beyond just sitting down and watching a film.
I was also intrigued with some of the things I saw other festivalgoers doing at New Frontier Central, including wearing headsets and using smartphones to explore other worlds created in the exhibits. My short visit definitely left me with a curiosity to experiment more with “New Frontier” and the technologies it presents in the future.
— Sarah Harris