A New Home For New Frontier Sundance Programming

Jan 23, 2019


Credit Sundance.org

The New Frontier program held during the Sundance Film Festival has a new home this year. Its next to the Walgreens on Park Ave.  Carolyn Murray has this:

New Frontier is a place for film, art and multimedia creations to join in an exhibit, sort of like an interactive museum where artists try to engage audiences with technology, visual effects, social media, designs, games and what Sundance calls transmedia activism.  New Frontier Chief Curator, Shari Frilot selects the shows.

“So, the show will have works that engage with various technologies. Not only VR but augmented reality, a lot of custom tech this year as well as immersive theater. There’s a dance party featuring Reggi Watts as well.” 

The New Frontier program requires a lot more planning and physical preparation than most of Sundance venues.  Frilot said she’s always nervous about the opening of the show and excited to see the response.

“It’s a tremendous advantage to start to think about the show early on in the show. It’s a huge venue. It’s one of the largest venues we’ve ever had for New Frontier. It really opens the door for larger scale works and also for the ability to have a venue, which we’ve always wanted to do. We’ve always had it since the beginning. That is also a social venue so that you can come. There’s a bar there. There’s a lounge. There’s work tables…you can also work.  It’s always been designed so that people can come and see the work but afterwards be able to chat about it in a comfortable environment.”

Frilot said there is a lot of experimentation this year including some new technology in reality augmentation and artificial intelligence.

“They’re doing very new things. For instance, at New Frontier Central, we’re installing a massive, immersive stage. This is the very back of a very, very large room. There will be a corner, completely lit up, three corners where you can actually walk in. Several people can be on stage and works will be projected onto that stage as well as a theater piece called Two Black Lights and One Red. New tech like Magic Leap. This is an Augmented Reality we ‘ve been anticipating for many years now.”

Virtual reality shows nothing to the viewer that is outside of a headset. Augmented reality, Frilot, said is a combination.

“With augmented reality, when you put on the goggles, you would see me and I would see you, through these goggles. But, you would also see other digital material like a dolphin would swim between us, or fireworks would be behind me. It augments the reality. That’s the difference."

They have about 30 exhibits which have been selected from hundreds of submissions. The new, permanent location by the Walgreens will help Frilot to program New Frontier for future festivals.

“So, we re coming back to The Ray which is next to the Holiday.And, the new venue which we’ll also be presenting is Frontier Central, which you just mentioned which is right next door to the Walgreens. That venue will be open free for anybody who has credentials. The Ray basement will be featuring all the ticketed events for the New Frontier which include all the VR Exhibitiona s well as the Box which will be the VR Mobile Cinema program. Also, this year, we’re going to be presenting a number of panels in the box, which are free. You don’t even need a credential. Some really great discussions are featured this year."

Vicki Frilot is the New Frontier Program Curator for the Sundance Film Festival. The exhibit opens on Friday.