10 Years

New Frontier

Storytelling is an ancient practice that continues to reflect and shape the way we experience our world, understand our times, and connect with others. And as technology has evolved, the mediums through which stories are told have expanded from oral traditions and paintings on cave walls to radio transmissions and film. New Frontier identifies and celebrates creators who explore the opportunities within the newest technologies to push the edges of story conception and craft, and to invite the audience to experience stories as never before.



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2016 marks the 10th anniversary of New Frontier, our showcase for today's most innovative cinematic storytelling.

New Frontier Through the Years

New Frontier Recognized as the Place Where Tech, Gaming, Film and the Art of Storytelling Converge (2015)

For the first time at the Sundance Film Festival, the New Frontier venue attendance rivals that of the most heavily-trafficked Festival theatres and venues. The program attracts a wildly diverse audience, including chiefs of film, gaming, and tech companies, Ferguson activists, journalists, filmmakers, hackers, and consumers. VR is presented and accepted as a rich medium for heightened storytelling experiences. With the attention garnered through the Festival exhibition and the continued work of the Story Lab and Artist Residencies to support the development of this work, Sundance is recognized as providing the R&D space and the showcase for film, tech, gaming, and art communities.

Landmark projects featured in the 2015 exhibition include: BIRDLY by Max Rheiner, EVOLUTION OF VERSE by Chris Milk, PERSPECTIVE: CHAPTER 1: THE PARTY by Rose Troche and Morris May, POSSIBILIA by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, WILD - THE EXPERIENCE, and HERDERS, STRANGERS WITH PATRICK WATSON by Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël.

The Best of Game Design and Filmmaking Bring Heightened Story Experiences (2014)

Artist Residencies (2014)

The Artist Residency program is launched as a way to match New Frontier alumni with sponsor organizations that are also working to pioneer the field. During the residency, a New Frontier artist or artist collective works with the sponsor organization’s internal team (i.e. technologists, designers, content developers, researchers, community engagement officers, etc.), grantee partners, or other stakeholders to concept or develop a project that aims to push the boundaries of story in some manner.

The first four New Frontier residencies are held in partnership with The Social Computing Group at MIT’s Media Lab, led by New Frontier alum Sep Kamvar. Terence Nance, Casey Neistat, Lisa Biagotti, Alix Lambert, RaMell Ross, M. Elizabeth Hughes and Shantell Martin spend up to three months in Cambridge with Kamvar and his team to work on the YOU ARE HERE project. The following year, New Frontier Artist Residency provides a place for artists to explore VR with JAUNT.

The Rise of Net Native Artists and Net Art (2013)

Augmented Reality Art Begins (2013)

In 2013, augmented reality (AR) technology becomes more accessible through mobile device apps and artists begin to integrate it in their work. Yung Jake’s Augmented Real floats his avatar in your iPhone-occupied hand as it emerges rapping from walls, posters, postcards and pinback buttons. He also integrates AR into his live performance -- a DJ session incorporating YouTube videos that interact with each other and featuring his own presence via webcam.

Simultaneously, Lynette Wallworth presents CORAL: REKINDLING VENUS, an AR companion piece to her immersive dome experience of Coral Rekindling Venus. It allows audiences to connect to the world’s reefs via seven poster images of coral specimens that activate the app to open a virtual porthole to coral reefs including a data feed to current coral hotspots around the world.

Klip Collective presents WHAT'S HE BUILDING IN THERE?, a 3-D projection-mapped story that transforms the entire New Frontier venue into a narrative moving picture.

New Frontier at SFF13 (Google Hangout)

Birth of a Medium, Virtual Reality (2012)

Reinvention of the eBook (2012)

At the New Frontier Story Lab, two projects redefine the book as a storytelling medium. THE SILENT HISTORY is a groundbreaking novel, written and designed specifically for iPad and iPhone, that uses serialization, exploration, and collaboration to tell the story of a generation of unusual children — born without the ability to create or comprehend language. An interactive documentary that can also be defined as a next generation eBook for tablets, TOUCH examines the demise of print and other forms of tangible culture.

Nonfiction Storytelling Meets Interactivity (2012)

New Frontier Story Lab Launches (2011)

The dynamic work presented at New Frontier inspires Sundance Institute to deepen its support for the storytelling pioneers working with new mediums and methodologies. The first Sundance New Frontier Story Lab is held in October at Sundance Resort. Focused on developing resonant stories within the context of emerging technologies, the Lab brings together technologists and storytellers of all disciplines, and establishes a space for developing storymaking language, best practices, and techniques for new mediums. Among the projects supported during the first Lab are QUESTION BRIDGE: BLACK MALE by Chris Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, Bayete Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair, 18 DAYS IN EGYPT by Jigar Mehta and Yasmin Elayat, and KILL SHAKESPEARE by Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery.

New Frontier Story Lab Creative Observer

Web-based Interactive Film (2011)

Transmedia Storytelling and Alternate Reality Games Mature (2011)

Although the term “transmedia” is established in the 1990s, it doesn’t gain traction until 2003, when Henry Jenkins published “Transmedia Storytelling.” In 2011, independent artists and companies like 42 Entertainment, Fourth Wall and Starlight Runner are actively experimenting with Massive Alternate Reality Games and transmedia stories.

New Frontier invites Lance Weiler’s PANDEMIC 1.0 to appear at the Sundance Film Festival. It is the first work to bring together film, live action role play (LARP), social gaming, and data visualization. Other landmark projects featured this year include, THE JOHNNY CASH PROJECT by Aaron Koblin and Chris Milk, and ! WOMEN ART REVOLUTION and RAW/WAR by Lynn Hershman Leeson.

Participatory Storytelling Yields New Business Models (2010)

Storytelling with Data (2009)

Data intelligence, art, and storytelling converge through the breakthrough project WE FEEL FINE by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar. Culling data from a large number of blogs, the project creates a database of millions of human emotions. A beautiful and smart interface allows the visitor to search the feelings in playful and metaphorically-rich ways, revealing a macro view of our collective emotional landscape.

“Minority Report” - esque Haptic Technology Enters the Storymaking process (2009)

Fine Artists Find a Home at New Frontier (2008)

In 2008 the program begins to attract top tier fine artists such as Doug Aitken, Jennifer Steinkamp, Hank Willis Thomas, Marina Zurkow, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, and Cory Arcangel. Highlights of the line up include SLEEPWALKERS by Doug Aitken, ALONG THE WAY by Hank Willis Thomas and ©AUSE COLLECTIVE, PEG MIRROR by Daniel Rozin, POSTER CHILDREN AND HEROES OF THE REVOLUTION by Marina Zurkow, and NEXT YEAR’S BAD NEWS BEARS by Cory Arcangel and Paper Rad.

New Frontier Debuts at the Sundance Film Festival (2007)

The Sundance Online Film Festival (2001-2006)

The Festival leaps onto the Internet to showcase projects in live-action, animation, and what is known as “new forms.” Curated by Programmers Shari Frilot and Trevor Groth, SOFF broadcasts early non-linear, mixed media and Machinima content. The online showcase garners two Webby Awards and Time Magazine names it one of the 50 Coolest Websites on the World Wide Web.

Slithering Screens: 10 Years of New Frontier at Sundance Institute

Photo from Myth And Infrastructure, by Miwa Matreyek

Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street, New York
April 25–29, 2016

Slithering Screens is a special selection of original cinematic works that premiered in the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier program over the past decade. Presented at MoMA on the occasion of the program’s 10th year, these works hack the cinema space itself by presenting stories that move from the silver screen onto the stage and into the hands, pockets, and homes of the audience. Featuring works by Lynette Wallworth, Yung Jake, Nao Bustamante, Miwa Matreyek, and the filmmaker/creative technologist duo James George and Jonathan Minard, Slithering Screens is an energetic mix of cinema-inspired performance, interactive documentary, and immersive media storytelling.

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Organized by Shari Frilot, Chief Curator, New Frontier, Sundance Film Festival; and Rajendra Roy, The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film, with Sophie Cavoulacos, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Film, MoMA.


An Evening with Lynette Wallworth

Monday, April 25, 7 p.m.
Australian artist Lynette Wallworth will discuss her multimedia works, including the New York premiere of COLLISIONS, a 15-minute simulcast VR experience.

Silver & Gold: A Performance by Nao Bustamante

Wednesday, April 27, 7 p.m.
Acclaimed performance artist Nao Bustamante presents the latest iteration of her multimedia performance Silver & Gold, which was presented at the 2010 edition of New Frontier, and channels the Dominican film starlet and Jack Smith muse Maria Montez. Silver & Gold tackles Hollywood orientalism (then and now), sexuality and eroticism.

An Evening with Yung Jake

Friday, April 29, 8 p.m.
Internet phenomenon/rapper/artist Yung Jake presents a unique theatrical experience using his viral videos, texts, tweets, memes, and GIFs, to create multimedia performance exploring the way images are produced and consumed online.
The 10th Anniversary of the Sundance Institute New Frontier Program is presented by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Media Sponsor is The New York Times. Generous support is provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Time Warner Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Annapurna Pictures and Vrse, Ford Foundation, Fox Innovation Lab, Google, IM360, Jaunt, Nokia, and Oculus.

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