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The Wild Child goes to Nantucket

Virtual reality content is the wild child of film festivals these days. It’s bizarre, it’s awkward, it’s fun, and it’s kind of related to the rest of the family but no one’s quite sure how yet. And what exactly are you supposed to do with the wild one at a family gathering?
Screengrab from "Rachel is Getting Married" with Anne Hathaway as Kym
Screengrab from “Rachel is Getting Married” with Anne Hathaway as Kym

The major festivals have opted to dedicate VR sections during their events: Sundance has New Frontier, Tribeca has Spring Studios.  And this weekend “Kanju” will screen as part of the Nantucket Film Festival. He’ll have to look for them “exclusively” inside the Legacy Lounge area, along with these other experiences:

I asked a colleague of mine who has a film screening at Nantucket this year if he was going to check out the virtual reality experiences. He had no idea that VR was even on the island. Now, I get that films are the bread and butter of these festivals, but not promoting or integrating immersive content into the festivals is like telling the VR creators well, OK, you can come to the party but go sit in the corner until we know what to do with you. And since everyone is both attracted and confused by the one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other pieces of content, audiences do what comes naturally: gawk and talk and move on without really understanding it.

While the independent film world has been torrented and Netflixed to the edge of extinction, VR holds the promise of being the next the filmmakers playground. What if VR was integrated more organically into the festival experience – headsets while you’re standing in line waiting for the films, experiences available at different venues, an app so when you get home, you can share the experiences with your friends.

And what we can do as content creators and curators to make the experience at festivals more enjoyable for our audiences? There has to be better, more integral, more informative ways to experience VR than waiting in long lines away from the main action of the festival.

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