Update: Despite the most ambitious protocols, the Omicron variant with its unexpectedly high transmissibility rates is pushing the limits of health safety, travel and other infrastructures across the country. And so Sundance 2022’s is moving online.
As the long-awaited Sundance Festival is approaching, let’s have a look at the 2022 New Frontier Lineups, but also important information about the venues from this edition, and also tickets! As such, all XR-Enthusiast can prepare in time!
The Festival will open on January 20 with an experiment in biodigital convergence as audiences gather online and in person for a special New Frontier performance of Sam Green’s 32 Sounds, taking place simultaneously in Park City’s Egyptian Theatre and in The Spaceship’s Cinema House. An exciting slate of Day One films will then open the Festival in Park City: 11 features and a shorts program will illustrate the scope of Festival work across genre and form. Day One Features are Emergency, Fire of Love, Fresh, La Guerra Civil, A Love Song, Marte Um (Mars One), The Princess, Tantura, When You Finish Saving the World, and The Worst Person in the World. Lucy and Desi is the 2022 Sundance Film Festival’s Salt Lake City Opening Night Gala Film, premiering at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center on January 21.
2022 NEW FRONTIER LINEUP
Since 2007, the New Frontier exhibition has showcased multimedia storytelling, art installations, and biodigital performances that make use of emerging technologies like virtual reality, haptic tech and AI, among other tools. The 2022 edition is visualized as a human-scale and person-first digital experience that balances connection with a wondrous and meaningful sense of place.
NEW FRONTIER PROGRAM:
32 Sounds / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Sam Green) — An immersive documentary and sensory film experience that explores the elemental phenomenon of sound and its power to bend time, cross borders, and profoundly shape our perception of the world around us. The film will be presented in its “live cinema” form, featuring live music and live narration. World Premiere.
Atua / New Zealand (Lead Artists: Tanu Gago, Jermaine Dean, Key Collaborators: Kat Lintott, Carthew Neal, Nacoya Anderson) — Reimagining the realm of Pacific gods in this sculptural AR experience. Claiming space for gender diverse communities impacted by colonial contact, to see themselves reflected as vital to their cultural heritage and an intrinsic part of the cosmos. World Premiere.
Child of Empire / U.K. (Lead Artists: Sparsh Ahuja, Erfan Saadati, Stephen Stephenson, Omi Zola Gupta, Key Collaborators: Sam Dalyrmple, Saadia Gardezi, Jayosmita Ganguly) — Experience the largest forced migration in human history, the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan. Embody the childhood memories of two survivors, as they reflect on their journeys across a divided homeland. World Premiere.
Cosmogony / Switzerland (Lead Artists: Gilles Jobin, Susana Panadés Diaz, Camilo de Martino, Tristan Siodlak, Key Collaborator: Pierre-Igor Berthet) — A live digital performance in which 3 dancers are motion captured in Geneva and projected remotely in real time. North American Premiere.
Diagnosia / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Mengtai Zhang, Lemon Guo, Producers: Mengtai Zhang, Lemon Guo, Yue Huang) — In this VR experience, the director locks us inside his teenage memories of being incarcerated in a military-operated internet addiction camp in Beijing in 2007, where internet addiction and other youth issues were treated as severe mental disorders, and sometimes by violent means. North American Premiere.
Flat Earth VR / Brazil (Lead Artist: Lucas Rizzotto) VR is known as the ultimate empathy machine that lets users experience others’ perspectives. But what happens when those perspectives are delusional? Experience the ultimate flat-earther fantasy: ascend into the stars and prove all globe-earthers wrong by taking photos of the planet as it truly is: flat like a pancake. World Premiere.
Gondwana / Australia (Lead Artists: Ben Joseph Andrews, Emma Roberts, Key Collaborators: Lachlan Sleight, Michelle Brown, The Convoy) — A durational VR experience that runs over 24 hours, and a constantly-evolving virtual ecosystem chronicling the possible futures of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, the Daintree. Powered by climate data, each showing is unrepeatable and speculative, a meditation on time, change and loss in an irreplaceable landscape. World Premiere.
On the Morning You Wake (To the End of the World) / U.K. (Lead Artists: Dr. Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, Mike Brett, Steve Jamison, Arnaud Colinart, Pierre Zandrowicz, Key Collaborators: Jo-Jo Ellison, Bobby Krlic) — On a regular Saturday morning in January 2018, as Hawaiian citizens went about their daily routines, the entire state population received an SMS from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, which read: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” World Premiere.
Seven Grams / France (Lead Artist: Karim Ben Khelifa, Key Collaborators: TT Hernandez, Quentin Noirfalisse) — An entirely new way for people to understand the human cost that went into producing their smartphones. This project brings the Democratic Republic of Congo’s tragic mining industry straight to the smartphone that its mineral resources helped make, via an app on both IOS and Android systems. North American Premiere.
Suga’- A Live Virtual Dance Performance / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Valencia James, Key Collaborators: Thomas Wester, Simon Boas) — An immersive experience that features live dance performance as volumetric video in social virtual reality space. The performance weaves together movement, family stories, and cultural heritage to imagine virtual environments as a site for healing and reclamation of spaces that were historically filled with pain and injustice.
Surrogate / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Lauren Lee McCarthy, Key Collaborators: Dorothy R. Santos, David Leonard, Stefanie Tam) — How do we relate to the future while living in a world in crisis? Amidst climate change, inequity, and pandemic, it’s no longer possible to view ourselves as separate from past and future. How much control should we have over a birthing person’s body, and a life before it’s born? North American Premiere.
The Inside World / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Jennifer McCoy, Kevin McCoy, Key Collaborators: Annie J. Howell, Peter Rostovsky) — The city of Las Vegas is now operated by artificial intelligence. Fourteen AI “Managers” handle every sector of the city. The problem is, one of them is secretly human… Digital Art NFTs meet gameplay in this community driven mystery. World Premiere.
The State of Global Peace / U.S.A (Lead Artists: Daanish Masood Alavi, Key Collaborators: Igal Nassima, Erica Newman) — The prime minister of a fictitious country – played by you – is about to deliver a speech at a virtual UN General Assembly in the near future. A group of students hijacks the security system and takes over the screens, asking to have a dialogue. World Premiere.
They Dream in My Bones – Insemnopedy II / France (Lead Artist: Faye Formisano, Key Collaborators: Ludovic De Oliveira, Lilou-Magali Robert, Cindy Coutant) — Immersed on virtual veils, this VR360 experience tells the story of Roderick Norman, a researcher in onirogenetics, the science he founded, which makes it possible to extract dreams from an unidentified skeleton at the frontier of gender and the human. North American Premiere.
This Is Not A Ceremony / Canada (Lead Artist: Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin Van Loon), Key Collaborators: Olivier Leroux, James Monkman, Jessica Dymond) — Darkly humorous and occasionally caustic, this cinematic VR experience offers insights into the struggles and conflicts of growing up an Indigenous man. World Premiere.
NEW FRONTIER: Of the 29 lead artists across the 15-project section, 7 or 24% identify as women; 3 or 10% identify as non-binary; 14 or 48% identify as people of color; 6 or 21% identify as LGBTQ+.
ACCESIBILITY and ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
New Frontier Spans Biodigital Terrain, Blends Online & In-Person in Real Time
Audiences to Have Access To New XR Works From Anywhere; Festival Introduces New, Connected On the Ground Venue
The 2022 edition of the Festival’s New Frontier section will be a fully biodigital showcase, presented simultaneously on a bespoke WebXR spatialized virtual venue, The Spaceship, that has touchpoints in a newly conceived, free-to-access venue in Park City, The Craft.
Ticketed New Frontier performances will also be presented in Park City’s iconic Egyptian Theatre, with simultaneous presentations on The Spaceship.
The Spaceship, globally accessible via laptop or VR headset, houses spaces for Festivalgoers to see the official New Frontier lineup, interact with others and gather together to watch programs and performances in an immersive arthouse theater.
This year, Sundance, working again with the creative studio Active Theory, will unveil a number of upgrades to enhance The Spaceship’s functionality and accessibility. Festival attendees, both on the ground in Park City and online, can interact with each other and maintain the sense of community that the Festival always aims to provide, including a bleeding-edge human-scale Biodigital Bridge that connects Festivalgoers in Park City and those attending The Spaceship online from anywhere in the world — establishing the Festival as a metaverse that overlays the physical event with a virtual one.
Since 2007, the New Frontier exhibition has showcased multimedia storytelling, art installations, and biodigital performances that make use of emerging technologies like virtual reality, haptic tech and AI, among other tools.
The 2022 edition is visualized as a human-scale and person-first digital experience that balances connection with a sense of place.
“Since the earliest stages of planning ’22, we’ve centered access and learnings from past iterations,” said Shari Frilot, senior programmer and New Frontier chief curator. “After the ’21 festival, we realized that presenting the work online effectively took one of the hottest, hardest-to-access experiences of prior Festivals and made it instantly and globally accessible to anyone with the right tech.
New Frontier this year prioritizes biodigital design as a very adventurous endeavor, and one that speaks to the priorities of its creators, artists and audiences.”
Full details on New Frontier’s 2022 edition, taking place across:
THE SPACESHIP is a virtual venue situated to orbit Earth alongside the International Space Station and is globally accessible January 20-28 via laptop or VR headset. It will host:
– The Gallery, which will showcase the complete 2022 New Frontier lineup of XR work + Easter eggs.
– Cinema House, a venue featuring live streaming, room-scale address and chat functionalities.
– A programmed series of Artist Spotlights designed to enable artists to represent their projects in person at The Craft in Park City and on The Spaceship in Cinema House.
– Film Party, a virtual social space, that allows audiences to inhabit avatars for organic, proximity-based, person-to-person webcam chat and connection. This venue will host dedicated film premiere parties after their online premieres and live Q&As, bringing filmmakers together with their online audiences to celebrate their films in both halves of the festival.
THE CRAFT is a newly conceived space in Park City for artists to come together around the present and future of artistic practice. It is an immersive environment that’s free and open to all Festival patrons. By day, artists present, discuss and celebrate the creative process through a series of special public events, also livestreamed through the online Festival platform. Providing a point of convergence between the online and “on-mountain” Festivalgoers, The Craft is open January 21-25 and will host:
– Creators, Festival filmmakers, New Frontier artists and creative technologists inside a venue that provides multiple immersive touchpoints to The Spaceship, including a bleeding-edge human-scale Biodigital Bridge — an innovative piece of technology from Active Theory that connects Festivalgoers at The Craft in Park City and those attending The Spaceship online from anywhere in the world.
– Daily curated Beyond Film conversations, artist and community panels, talks and gatherings, featuring Festival Artists and including Artist Spotlights.
– Social spaces designed for artistic encounters.
– Access to the 2022 New Frontier XR lineup with equipment and assistance provided. (Attendees are also encouraged to bring their own headsets, with equipment specs to be announced at a later date.)
The Egyptian Theatre will present dynamic New Frontier performances (simultaneously happening on The Spaceship) to a live and biodigitally converged audience who will be able to participate in a post-performance Q&A. Tickets are required and will be available on December 17 (packages) and January 5 (single tickets).
The 2022 edition of New Frontier at the Sundance Film Festival on the Spaceship is accessible to all holders of the Explorer Pass ($50 via link), which is also part of all ticket packages.
The Sundance Institute New Frontier Program is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Unity, Adobe, Dell Technologies, Rally, Metaplex Studios and Canon USA, Inc.
More about How to Fest in video. Here’s everything you’ll need to know to make the most of your online Sundance Film Festival experience.
Festival Sponsors and Host State
The Festival is a program of the nonprofit Sundance Institute. The 2022 Festival sponsors include Presenting Sponsors – Acura, AMC+, Chase Sapphire, Adobe; Leadership Sponsors – Amazon Studios, DIRECTV, DoorDash, Dropbox, Netflix, Omnicom Group, WarnerMedia, XRM Media; Sustaining Sponsors – Aflac, Audible, Canada Goose, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Dell Technologies, IMDbPro, Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold, Rabbit Hole Bourbon & Rye, Unity Technologies, University of Utah Health, White Claw Hard Seltzer; Media Sponsors – The Atlantic, IndieWire, Los Angeles Times, NPR, Shadow and Act, Variety and Vulture. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists. https://festival.sundance.org/
As a champion and curator of independent stories for the stage and screen, Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theater, film composing and digital media to create and thrive.
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature Labs, granting and mentorship programs dedicated to developing new work take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. Sundance Collab, a digital community platform, brings artists together to learn from each other and Sundance advisors and connect in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, On The Record, Boys State, The Farewell, Honeyland, One Child Nation, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale Station, City So Real, Top of the Lake, Between the World & Me, Wild Goose Dreams and Fun Home. Join the Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.