Instead of watching a historical documentary on the screen from a theater seat, viewers will be able to experience history through a virtual reality experience at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival this month. Director Brandon Oldenburg along with “Hardcore History” podcaster, Dan Carlin, created an interactive look into World War I battlefields in War Remains.
In an interview with Variety, executive producer at MWM Immersive, Ethan Stearns, stated that viewers will “begin by stepping into our physical set and donning a wireless VR headset that allows you full freedom to walk through the stage.” Stearns also told Variety that the experience will contain five different exploratory sections. MWM founders began talks with Carlin about the project three years ago. They wanted to make the historical content Carlin produced come alive and actively involve viewers. Projects like these that simulate historical and current events have high potential to create genuine empathy among the public for events they have only heard about.
The Festival first featured a VR experience in 2012. From that time forward, their VR arcade has taken off. Other VR projects that will be featured in this year’s arcade include “The People’s House”, allowing viewers to take a tour of the Obama White House and “If Not Love”, which exposes viewers to the consequences of hatred and intolerance.
The rise of VR and its association with film festivals may allow it to carve its own unique category alongside the film industry and possibly have a place in receiving awards at the Oscars.