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VR will vie for awards at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival

Engadget logo Engadget 16/08/2016 Steve Dent
© Provided by Engadget © Provided by Engadget

The Tribeca Film Festival has announced that it will accept submissions from virtual reality producers In 2017. It's the first major festival which will allow the category (which includes VR, AR and 360 videos) to compete against mainstream films for awards. "As the technology and tools proliferate ... we feel it is the right time to expand and support artists on these growing platforms in a broader way," festival Director Genna Terranova said.

As Engadget detailed earlier this year, Tribeca featured VR content in a limited way in 2016. However, films were hosted in a special "Virtual Arcade" away from the main festival and were not eligible for prizes. Submissions included the 20-minute animated short Allumette, the Deep VR underwater experience that helps your breathe better and Old Friend, a film that lets you dance in your seat via an HTC Vive headset and controller.

VR is still feeling its way as an entertainment format. There are technical problems for users like the need to be tethered, a "screen-door" effect from pixels being so close to your face and discomfort from wearing a heavy headset. Filmmakers still aren't sure how to handle the format either, as it doesn't lend itself well to the rapid cutting in Hollywood films, and lighting and other challenges abound.

A Tribeca rep told Venture Beat that mainstream films are still the "DNA of the festival." With awards on the line for virtual reality next year, however, it might encourage filmmakers to explore the limits and create content that does more and more justice to the hardware.

Tribeca Film Festival

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