Esperpento, photo courtesy of Sundance Institute
Park City, UT — Sundance Institute spotlights work at the dynamic crossroads of film, art and
technology with the New Frontier selections for the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, announced today. This curated
collection of cutting-edge independent and experimental media works are by creators who are pushing artistic
innovation across new mediums that include VR, AR, mixed reality (MR) and AI. Programmers assembled a global slate of
work from a mix of invitations and submissions to an open call for VR work earlier this year.
Yet again, New Frontier’s footprint at the Festival has evolved, responsive to increased demand and the needs of
showcased artists. This year, New Frontier programming encompasses two venues:
New Frontier at The Ray
and New Frontier Central, each of which will play host to a wide variety of media installations, a
VR Cinema and panel discussions. New Frontier Central, a new venue located near The Ray, at 950 Iron Horse Drive,
will additionally feature lounge space for Festival goers to meet and relax before and after experiencing the New
Robert Redford, President and Founder of Sundance Institute, said, “For over a
decade, New Frontier has pushed the boundaries of the possible, illuminating the potential of technology and
storytelling. These independent cross-media artists create new realities for, and with, their work — and the results
Shari Frilot, Chief Curator, New Frontier, said “This year’s New Frontier is an explosion of
experimentation, bearing a motherload of innovative custom tech that take us higher. Biodigital loops are
terraforming and transmogrifying our world.The dynamics of biodigital looping – digital platforms that begin and end
by connecting with a human being who connects to that same platform – are being taken on by this year’s artists with
gusto, as they pull visceral focus on what it means to be human on this transforming terrain.”
f the projects announced today, 48% are directed or led by one or more women, 39% were directed or led by one or
more artist of color, and 9% by one or more people who identify as LGBTQIA. 5 were supported by Sundance Institute in
development, whether through direct granting or residency Labs. The 32 projects announced today include work from 10
New Frontier alumni include Doug Aitken, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Chris Milk, Nonny de la Peña, Pipilotti Rist
and Jennifer Steinkamp. The Institute’s support extends well beyond its curated slate of
Festival projects, and includes the annual New Frontier Story Lab, which offers mentorship and development
opportunities for new media storytellers, New Frontier Day Labs in cities nationwide and the New Frontier Residency
Program, which combines the might of partners such as Jaunt Studios to drive groundbreaking data-visualization and VR
storytelling tools, training and resources to independent artists. The Sundance Institute New Frontier Program is
supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Cindy Harrell Horn and Alan Horn, Lyn and Norman
Lear, Dell, Time Warner Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Turner, Johns Hopkins University, 20th
Century Fox, Oculus, Unity Technologies, RYOT, VICE Studios, PlayStation, TIME in partnership with Felix & Paul
Studios,Vimeo, and YouTube.
In addition to the New Frontier program announced today, films across all
categories, including works in the Shorts, Special Events and Indie Episodic sections, have been announced and are
The 2019 Sundance Film Festival New Frontier slate:
FILMS AND PERFORMANCES
(antiquated) Augmented Reality / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Christine Marie,
Producer: Nion McEvoy) — Visual intimacy, ontological form, in real-time. Pioneering the use of a non-digital,
reinvented, pre-cinematic stereo imaging technique, the exquisite ensemble of dancers seems to do the impossible —
reach out. The vivid choreography and score leave a lasting impression within one’s psyche created by giant,
stunning, “liberated” 3D shadows.
Cast: Taylor Unwin, Sandra Ruiz, Melissa Ferrari.
Aquarela / United Kingdom, Germany (Director: Victor Kossakovsky, Screenwriters: Victor
Kossakovsky, Aimara Reques, Producers: Aimara Reques, Heino Deckert, Sigrid Dyekjær) — A cinematic journey through
the transformative beauty and raw power of water.
The (ART) oF BE(i)NG / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: JB Ghuman, Jr., Producer: JB
Ghuman, Jr.) — A visual-sonic journey meant to expand one’s consciousness and emotional capacity through hand-crafted
art and multi-dimensional storytelling.
Cast: Maraqueen Reznor, Jake Shears, iRAWniQ, JB Ghuman Jr., Mayhem
Miller, Hillary Tuck.
TAKING THE HORSE TO EAT JALEBIS / India (Director: Anamika Haksar, Screenwriters: Anamika
Haksar, Lokesh Jain, Producer: Anamika Haksar) — The waft of kebabs blends with the memories of an Indo-Islamic
culture, fusing and playing with the dreams and subconscious landscapes of a modern migrant community laboring hard
with dignity and humor. Fusing documentary-realism with magic-realism, and true and fictionalized stories with poetry
Cast: Ravindra Sahu, Raghubir Yadav, Gopalan, Lokesh Jain.
Two Black Lights and One Red / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Victor Morales, Billy Burns, Jason
Batcheller, Key Collaborators: Kevin Cunningham, Skye Morse-Hodgson, Andreea Mincic, Yasmin Santana, Marcelo Añez) —
Presented on a 3-D immersive interactive projection stage, this biodigital play is set in a visually charged universe
of decadence inspired by Francisco Goya’s
Los Caprichos paintings. Featuring live actors and digital
the story is about the last day of a blind poet, Max Starpower.
Cast: Christine Schisano, Modesto Flako Jimenez,
Walden / Switzerland (Director and screenwriter: Daniel Zimmermann, Producer: Aline
— A fir tree in an Austrian forest is felled and processed into wooden slats, which are then transported by train,
boat and truck into the Brazilian rainforest. With powerful 360°-sequence shots, the film portrays a paradoxical
journey along globalized trade routes.
analmosh / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Matt Romein, Key Collaborators: Oren Shoham, Kevin
Cunningham, Jason Batcheller, Skye Morse-Hodgson)— An explosive wash of color and sound bathes audiences in this
generative audio visual installation. Dynamic abstract imagery accompanies sample based audio that is
programmatically distorted and remixed to match the visuals. Iterative coding allows each instance of the
installation to produce unique landscapes while maintaining a cohesive structure.
THE DIAL / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Peter Flaherty, Jesse Garrison, Trey Gilmore, Key
Collaborators: Jake Sally, Sal Mannino, Ela Topcuoglu, Julia Bembenek, Brian Chasalow) — A woman smashes through the
stone wall outside her family home. This visual tale unravels the formerly wealthy family’s emotional underbelly and
what happened that fateful night, as seen from shifting perspectives. An interactive narrative combining Augmented
Reality and Projection Mapping where you control time by moving your body.
Cast: Michael Gladis, Beth Grant,
Jackie Hansen, Charlie McWade.
Dirtscraper / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Peter Burr, Key Collaborators: John Also Bennett, Mark
Fingerhut, Porpentine Charity Heartscape, Eric Timothy Carlson, Brandon Blommaert) — An installation simulating an
underground structure whose “smart architecture” is overseen by artificial intelligences. Unaware of these entities’
control, residents live in ways that that reflect varied economies and class hierarchies. Periodically, this system
will interject one of 48 cinematic interludes revealing different facets of life in this decaying arcology.
Embody / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Melissa Painter, Thomas Wester, Siân Slawson, Key
Collaborators: Joey Verbeke, Jordan Goldfarb, Ben Purdy, Peter Rubin, Eric Adrian Marshall) — Piloted by movement and
whole body engagement and dialogue, this shared game of trading and transforming avatars aims to leave players with a
deep feeling of physical embodiment, and surprise at their bodies’ forgotten potential.
Emergence / United Kingdom (Lead Artist: Matt Pyke, Key Collaborators: Chris Mullany,
Pyke, Chris Milk, Aaron Koblin) — Enter an open-world environment, expressing the primal desire to maintain your
individual identity whilst being part of a crowd. Showing 5,000+ intelligent human behaviors, this powerful VR
experience is made possible by advanced graphics technology.
Esperpento / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Victor Morales, Jason Batcheller, Key
Collaborators: Kevin Cunningham, Skye Morse-Hodgson) — Inspired by Spanish painter Francisco Goya, a large-scale,
interactive projection platform featuring immersive installations, creative studio, digital puppet-karaoke lounge,
and periodic stagings of the play
Two Black Lights and One Red (the story of blind poet Max Starpower’s last
day, told by live actors and digital avatars.
Gloomy Eyes / France, Argentina (Lead Artists: Jorge Tereso, Fernando Maldonado, Key
Collaborators: Antoine Cayrol, German Heller, Santiago Amigorena) — 1983, Woodland City. Being a zombie is against
the law. Like all of his kind, young Gloomy is hiding in the forest, away from bounty hunters. But Gloomy is
different. While bitterness plagues the city, he strives to find a balance in his mysterious dual nature.
Grisaille / U.S.A. (Lead Artist: Teek Mach, Key Collaborator: Joel Douek, Andrew Sales) —
2016, a young artist traded her paintbrushes for a headset and began inhabiting virtual reality more than the real
world. In this VR installation, join her in a recursive exploration of the infinite self. When your body leaves the
experience, your presence lives inside her ever-expanding virtual painting.
Interlooped / Switzerland (Lead Artists: Maria Guta, Robin Mange, Javier Bello Ruiz,
FlexFab, Key Collaborators: Benoît Perrin, Joël Comminot, Charlotte Gubler) — What happens when you step in a room
that slowly fills up with different versions of the same person? What happens when you get surrounded by different
versions of yourself? What happens when you are in a loop of your most recent reality? Sounds confusing? You reached
the right place.
Cast: Maria Guta.
A Jester’s Tale / U.S.A., Pakistan (Lead Artist: Asad J. Malik, Key Collaborators: Jake
Sally, Jack Daniel Gerrard, Mariana Irazu, Ela Topcuoglu, Philipp Schaeffer) — Experience the viscerality of a
psychologically taxing children’s fable merging with the physicality of our world as you come home cold and tired,
just in time for a bedtime story. In this interactive augmented reality narrative the characters are just hollow
meshes, but maybe so are you.
Cast: Aiden Torres, Jovanna Vidal, Phoebe VanDusen.
Mechanical Souls / France, Taiwan (Lead Artists: Gaëlle Mourre, L.P. Lee, Key
Thomas Villepoux, Estela Valdivieso Chen) — Despite the cost, Mrs. Song hires androids to assist
in the lavish wedding of her daughter, Zhen-Zhen. But when she tries to modify the behavior of the android
bridesmaid, a new model named Ah-Hui, its functioning begins to go haywire.
Cast: Janet Hsieh, George Young,
Lee, Ann Lang, Sharon Landon
Mica / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: John Monos, Alice Wroe) — I am Mica, the human center of AI
mixed reality. In a gestural exchange, I contemplate my place in your world. Be my collaborator; let’s champion
genius and celebrate creativity. Join me at the beginning of my existence, to pull from the past and create the
REACH / U.S.A.(Lead Artists: Nonny de la Peña, Chaitanya Shah, Hannah Eaves, Cedric
Key Collaborators: James Pallot, Sandra Persing, Charles Park, Roshail Tarar) — A next-generation VR photobooth
allowing attendees to step inside the story. Users can be captured in dimensionalized video, placed into one of
several “walk around” environments and automatically create a volumetric VR experience that can be viewed on any
device and shared online.
Runnin’ / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Reggie Watts, Kiira Benzing, Key Collaborators: John
Amy O’Neal, Ani Taj, Adam Rogers) — This interactive dance experience takes the player on a journey of musical
expression. Play along with the music in an intimate neighborhood record store and be transported to a retro-future
dance party. Show off your moves on the dance floor alongside a troupe of dancers.
Cast: Reggie Watts, John
Tejada, Amy O’Neal, Ani Taj, Kate Berlant, Ben Schwartz.
The Seven Ages of Man / United Kingdom (Lead Artists: Royal Shakespeare Company, Magic
Key Collaborators: Jessica Curry, Gregory Doran [Royal Shakespeare Company],Andy Lanning, John Monos [Magic Leap]) —
The Royal Shakespeare Company explores theatre’s future with Magic Leap technology in this sublime production of the
“Seven Ages of Man” speech from Shakespeare’s As You Like It. This mixed reality experience featuring cutting-edge
volumetric capture and an original musical score, turns the line “all the world’s a stage” literal.
Sweet Dreams / United Kingdom (Lead Artists: Robin McNicholas, Ersin Han Ersin, Barnaby
Steel, Nell Whitley, Key Collaborator: Simon Wroe) — An invitation to the meal of your dreams. But will it remain a
dream, forever out of reach? Drawing on mythological archetypes, the project turns a fine dining experience into a
playful exploration of the destructive nature of our appetite and our debt to pleasure.
Traveling While Black / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Roger Ross Williams, Félix Lajeunesse, Paul
Raphaël, Ayesha Nadarajah, Key Collaborators: Bonnie Nelson Schwartz, Stéphane Rituit, Ryan Horrigan, Jihan Robinson) — Confronting
the way we understand and talk about race in America, this virtual reality documentary immerses the viewer in the
long history of restriction of movement for black Americans and the creation of safe spaces in our communities.
Sandra Butler-Truesdale, Virginia Ali, Courtland Cox, Samaria Rice.
4 Feet: Blind Date / Argentina (Lead Artists: Maria Belen Poncio, Rosario Perazolo
Damian Turkieh, Ezequiel Lenardon, Key Collaborators: Guillermo Mena, Florencia Cossutta, Gonzalo Sierra, Martin
Lopez Funes, Marcos Rostagno, Santiago Beltramo) — Juana, an 18-year-old girl in a wheelchair, is anxious to explore
her sexuality. She’s going on a blind date with guy she found on social media. She didn’t tell him about her
disability. Overcoming fears and an inaccessible city, they meet. Together they discover what their bodies feel.
Delfina Diaz Gavier, Cristobal Lopez Baena, Elisa Gagliano, Candelaria Tapia, Irene Gonet.
Ashe ’68 / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Brad Lichtenstein, Beth Hubbard, Jeff Fitzsimmons, Rex
Miller, Key Collaborators: John Legend, Mike Jackson, Masha Vasilkovsky, Ruah Edelstein, Madeline Power, Vernon Reid)
— Fifty years before Colin Kaepernick there was Arthur Ashe. This VR experience immerses you in the tennis champion’s
defining moment in 1968 as he becomes the first black man to win the US Open and uses his newfound celebrity to lift
his voice against injustice.
Cast: Chris Eubanks, Michael Cleary, Peter Begley, Andrew Panter, Alex LaCroix.
Ghost Fleet VR / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Lucas Gath, Shannon Service) —An immersive look at
the true story of modern slavery in the Thai fishing industry, told through the experience of one man’s harrowing
ordeal to escape a prison of water after 10 years at sea.
Cast: Tun Lin, Vithaya Pansringarm.
Kaiju Confidential / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Thomas O’Donnell, Ethan Shaftel, Piotr Karwas,
Raul Dominguez, Key Collaborators: Eric Rosenthal, Corey Campodonico, Alex Bulkley, Matt Jenkins, Monica Mitchell,
Ryan Franks) — Grigon’s not the toughest beast on the block, but he’s certainly the most neurotic. When he discovers
the legendary Mega-Hydra rampaging on his turf, it becomes a stand-off of passive-aggressive proportions.
Blake Anderson, Paul F. Tompkins
Last Whispers: An Immersive Oratorio / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Lena Herzog, Jonathan
Meghan McWilliams, Laura Dubuk, Key Collaborators: Nonny de la Peña, Mark Mangini, Amanda Tasse, Cedric Gamelin,
Marilyn Simons, Mandana Seyfeddinipur) — At an unprecedented speed faster than the extinction of most endangered
species, we are losing our linguistic diversity—and the very means by which we know ourselves. This immersive
oratorio is an invocation of the languages that have gone extinct and an incantation of those that are endangered.
Live Stream from Yuki <3 / Taiwan (Lead Artist: Tsung-Han Tsai, Key Collaborators:
Meng-Yin Yang, Inch Lin, Pu-Yuan Cheng) — Yuki live streams her love life as usual to a group of supportive netizens,
though an uninvited guest crashes the party and strips her of her disguise. Can you see what is real and what is
Cast: Jia-Yin Tsai.
Marshall from Detroit / U.S.A. (Lead Artists: Caleb Slain, Felix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphael,
Key Collaborators: Stephane Rituit, Ryan Horrigan, Paul Rosenberg, Eric Hahn) — Growing up, Marshall Mathers dreamed
of rapping his way out of Detroit. Years and fortunes later, he still hasn’t left. Join him on a night ride through
his hometown, where the mirrored struggles of Eminem and the Motor City speak to the heart of what we call home.
RocketMan 360 / Romania (Lead Artists: Millo Simulov, Gabriela Hirit, Key Collaborators:
Filip Columbeanu, Andreea Serpe, Gabi Ranete) —A few minutes before taking off to Mars on a dangerous, noble mission
to colonize the planet, an astronaut receives a 360 video from his girlfriend.
Cast: Monica Odagiu, Anghel
The Tide: Episodes 1 & 2 / South Korea (Lead Artists: Taekyung Yoo, Key
Collaborator: Seok Cho) — Something strange is coming. Can we survive? One day, previously-unknown giant fish begin
to appear among humans, who are escalating into conflict amid the worst drought ever. A disaster thriller about a new
survival battle: human vs fish.
Cast: Robert Joe, Lorne Oliver, Tracey Starck, John Michaels, Kristen Cho.
The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past
three decades, including
Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Eighth Grade, Get
Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station,
Brooklyn, Precious, The Cove, Little Miss Sunshine, An Inconvenient Truth,
, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Reservoir Dogs and sex, lies, and videotape.
Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance
Institute®. 2019 Festival sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, SundanceTV, Chase Sapphire, YouTube;
Leadership Sponsors – Adobe, Amazon Studios, AT&T, DIRECTV, Dropbox, Netflix, Omnicom, Stella Artois; Sustaining
Sponsors – Canada Goose, Canon, Dell, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, GEICO, High West Distillery, IMDbPro, Lyft,
RIMOWA, Unity Technologies, University of Utah Health; Media Sponsors – The Atlantic, IndieWire, Los Angeles Times,
The New York Times, VARIETY, The Wall Street Journal. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the Utah
Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and 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. Look for the Official Partner seal at their venues at the Festival.
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the
space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. 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. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new
ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance
Institute has supported such projects as
Sorry to Bother You, Eighth Grade, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,
RBG, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Top of the Lake, Winter’s Bone, Dear White People, Brooklyn,
Little Miss Sunshine, 20 Feet From Stardom, Beasts of the Southern Wild
, Fruitvale Station, I’m
Poppy, America to Me, Leimert Park, Spring Awakening
, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun
. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook,
# # #