Tribeca Festival unveiled the lineup for the 2023 Tribeca Immersive where top XR creators will debut their latest works. Now in its 11th year, Tribeca’s immersive program highlights virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and participatory experiences by artists who push the boundaries of creative and emotional storytelling.
Running June 9-17, Tribeca Immersive is divided into two categories of selections this year: Main Competition and New Voices. Main Competition projects are eligible for the juried Storyscapes Award, which honors artists who bridge the gap between technology and storytelling. The New Voices Award is awarded to a first- or second-time XR creator who brings new perspectives and artistic languages to immersive storytelling.
This year also kicks off the first-ever Games & Immersive Experience, which is held exclusively in-person at Tribeca Festival’s hub, Spring Studios (50 Varick Street).
Featured Tribeca Immersive experiences include The Fury by Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat, a captivating 360-degree experience and video installation that explores the sexual exploitation of female political prisoners; Colored from Novaya and Centre Pompidou, a mixed-reality installation adapted from Tania de Montaigne’s award-winning biographical essay on 15-year-old Claudette Colvin who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus to a white passenger in the 1950s; Maya: The Birth (Chapter 1), a virtual reality animation from a multi-awarded studio Floréal and directed by renowned photographer and women’s rights activist Poulomi Basu; Kinfolk: Black Lands from Idris Brewster, an AR experience that monumentalizes the past, present, and future of the Black communities that have built New York City; and Pixel Ripped 1978, the newest title in the nostalgia-fueled Pixel Ripped virtual reality game-within-a-game series, created by Emmy-winning VR studio ARVORE and Atari.
2023 TRIBECA FESTIVAL IMMERSIVE SELECTION
Emojiii, (Netherlands) – World Premiere. EMOJIII is a crazy 20-minute interactive group experience designed to test your emoji utilization skills and create unexpected connections, making it the perfect icebreaker activity! The Smartphone Orchestra offers a unique way for people to connect and share experiences like never before. Picture dazzling sound fields at the park on summer nights, the synchronized movements of mass choreography at festivals, the unparalleled engagement of audiences in theater shows, and the impromptu smart mobs at parties. With the Smartphone Orchestra, we unlock new possibilities for telling stories and creating unforgettable, large-scale experiences.
Director: Steye Hallema
Producer: The Smartphone Orchestra
In Search of Time, (France, United States) – World Premiere. “The connected circles of our memory are like the rings of a tree stump. An intricate and delicate record of time…” Utilizing AI and traditional film techniques, IN SEARCH OF TIME follows the journey of Father and Son. Along the way, we navigate Memory’s intricate labyrinth, and explore its relationship to identity and time. We invite audiences to reflect upon the power of experience and confront the elusive nature of memory itself.
Directors: Pierre Zandrowicz, Matthew Tienay
Producers: Atlas V, Pressman Film
Kinfolk: Black Lands, (United States) – World Premiere. The past, present, and future of the Black communities that built New York City are monumentalized in KINFOLK: BLACK LANDS. BLACK LANDS explores the histories of Land of the Blacks, Flatbush Ancestral Burial Grounds, and the Pinkster Festival by highlighting the lived histories of individuals within those communities, creating a safe digital space to connect with our ancestors. This experience is a precursor to the launch of the location-based version of Kinfolk in New York City.
Director: Idris Brewster
Monstrorama, (France, United States) – World Premiere. Welcome to MONSTRORAMA, a hidden museum housing the largest collection of monsters in all human history. Using the latest Mixed Reality features, MONSTRORAMA allows audiences to be immersed in the experience in their own, real-life environment. Your room transforms into a giant elevator that takes you thousands of miles underground, where the monsters lie, from the Kraken to the vampire, each one more terrifying than the next. Today, your visit starts with the Werewolf…
Director: Clément Deneux, Emilie Valentin
Producers: Atlas V, Albyon, Meta
Pixel Ripped 1978, (Brazil) – World Premiere. PIXEL RIPPED 1978 is the newest game in the Pixel Ripped series. Our hero, Dot, has to once again fight against the evil Cyblin Lord, who has a nefarious plan to hack into the game creator’s past and to make himself the protagonist! Dot isn’t alone in this crazy endeavor through time – she has the help of Bug, Pixel Ripped creator herself, as they join forces to dispel the Cyblin Lord and launch the game.
Director: Ana Ribeiro
Producers: Arvore, Atari
The Pirate Queen: A Forgotten Legend, (United Kingdom) – World Premiere. THE PIRATE QUEEN is the forgotten story of Cheng Shih – a woman in 19th-century China who became one of the most powerful pirates in history. When the leader of the fleet dies suddenly, a widowed Cheng Shih faces the possibility of losing her status, security, and even her life. Players take on the identity of Cheng Shih to complete a series of puzzle-based tasks, outsmart enemies and become the Pirate Queen.
Director: Eloise Singer
Producers: Singer Studios
NEW VOICES COMPETITION
Colored, (France, Taiwan, Republic of China) – International Premiere. COLORED is an immersive mixed-reality installation adapted from a biographical essay written by Tania de Montaigne. It’s the story of Claudette Colvin, a 15-year-old black girl who, in Alabama in the 1950s, refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white woman. A Rosa Parks ante litteram whose revolutionary gesture did not receive the same public recognition as that of her elder a few months later, condemning her to oblivion. At 83 years old, Claudette still lives in New York. Published sixty years after the fact, this biography, winner of the 2015 Simone Veil Prize, plunges us into a moment in American civil rights history that keeps resurfacing in our time. The feeling that to be Black is to be an inferior race, especially for a woman.
Directors: Pierre-Alain Giraud, Stéphane Foenkinos, Tania de Montaigne
Producers: Novaya, Centre Pompidou
Fortune, (France) – World Premiere. It’s all about money! FORTUNE is a series of true stories in augmented reality for Instagram & Snapchat. 7 people tell how money dictates their lives, how they have to rely on it to survive, or how they think it will bring them happiness or freedom. From counterfeiting to dumpster diving, from selling everything for bitcoin to retiring at age 30, what are we willing to do and give to earn a little more money?
Directors: Claire Meinhard, Nicolas Bourniquel
Producers: Atlas V, ARTE France
Maya: The Birth (Chapter 1), (United Kingdom, France, United States, India) – World Premiere. An immersive story following Maya, an ordinary 21st Century girl, as she transforms into a uniquely female superhero whose powers derive from the process of menstruation. With the arrival of her first period, Maya’s world is turned upside down as she is confronted by the restrictive traditions of her conservative family, and a world of hidden shame, stigma and taboo to be found in contemporary London. Her name, Maya, means magic and illusion in Sanskrit. From a multi-awarded studio Floréal (Goliath: Playing With Reality, The Hangman at Home) directed by a renowned photographer and women rights activist, Poulomi Basu.
Directors: Poulomi Basu, CJ Clarke
Producers: Floréal, JAPC, Meta, France Télévisions
Meneath: The Mirrors of Ethics, (Canada) – World Premiere. MENEATH: THE MIRRORS OF ETHICS charts the challenging journey of a precocious Métis Baby Girl. Using interfering screens in an object reminiscent of a puppet theater, this stop-motion installation unearths hidden Indigenous values while illuminating the bias of our colonial systems. Created by Terril Calder, one of the foremost Métis media artists practicing in Canada today.
Director: Terril Calder
Producer: National Film Board of Canada
Over The Rainbow, (Taiwan, Republic of China) – World Premiere. It is human nature to long for something different, something that lies “somewhere over the rainbow.” At times, this aspirational dreaming leads to improvements, but more often than not, this attitude leads to a sense of discontent with our own lot, an unquenchable thirst for what is just beyond our reach. OVER THE RAINBOW explores this precarious balance between desire and happiness, fantasy and the familiar.
Director: Craig Quintero
Producer: Riverbed Theatre Company
REIMAGINED VOL II: MAHAL, (United States) – World Premiere. Inspired by Philippine mythology, the story focuses on Apolaki, Mayari, Tala, and Hanan, the four immortal children of the recently passed creator god, Bathala. As each of these deities wrestle with the grief of losing Bathala, their all-powerful actions create ripples throughout the universe. Can the siblings come together to defeat their own pain and learn how to accept the devastating loss before the world their father entrusted to them suffers from a celestial catastrophe? VOL II: MAHAL from the Reimagined Series is a poignant tale about the price of love, and a touching tribute to the director’s late father.
Director: Michaela Ternasky-Holland
Producers: Very Cavaliere, Meta
The Fury, (Denmark, United States) – World Premiere. In a highly fictionalized and stylized approach, THE FURY explores sexual exploitation of female political prisoners, referencing the Islamic Republic of Iran’s brutal treatment of political prisoners. We follow the psychological and emotional state of a woman who remains haunted by memories of sexual assault, torture and rape in prison. Throughout the entrancing and loosely tied narrative, Neshat poignantly addresses the issue of the female body as both an object of desire and violence. THE FURY is an exhibition by acclaimed Iranian artist Shirin Neshat that consists of a two-channel video installation and a never before seen 360 video.
Director: Shirin Neshat
Producers: Khora Contemporary, Shoja Azari