This Year’s Tribeca Film Festival Steals the Show with AR and VR

Terminal 3, Lambchild Superstar and Star Child


Tribeca Film Festival had always been embracing new technologies and methods in the film industry. In R, curators featured nearly three dozen VR and AR experiences from the political and serious ones to the playful and colorful ones.

Here are some of the amazing Virtual reality and augmented reality experiences presented at the festival:


This AR experience allow viewers to play as an interrogator at airport security and interview a Muslim traveler by asking different questions before finally deciding whether to let them enter the U.S or not. The subject provided are holograms of real people who answer various questions thoughtfully, hence offering a much real humanizing experience.

The creator, Asad Malik has been brought up in Pakistan and says the piece is based on his personal experiences at airports.

“I’m an expert on [airport] screenings, because I get screened a lot.

“By now, I’m a pro at being interrogated — and I kind of like it. It’s a weird guilty pleasure, because you have this trained person who’s being paid to listen to you and explore your story and take notes,” he said.

Malik has interviewed real people for Terminal 3 and there is an option available to interview Malik himself. He says he does not intend to convey any political message about Muslims but rather just want to illustrate the variety of people having different personalities, backgrounds and point of views among them who may or may not identify themselves as Muslims.

Terminal 3 is created with support from Unity from Humanity and RYOT, a virtual reality studio. The piece is built for Microsoft Hololens.


It’s a virtual reality experience that allows two participants compose a song through cartoon animals in an environment with dazzling bright colors.

For example, you can squeeze a pufferfish assigned to chords instead of writing out a chord progression or you can reposition a cow’s tail to change the sound made by its farts.

The Lambchild superstar is the fruit of partnership between VR filmmaker Chris Milk and the music band OK GO. Both the curators first thought about offering an OK GO’s song in VR however, then settled upon allowing users make their own song.

OK GO’s Damian Kulash said that they introduced cartoons animals instead of musical instruments because most people get intimidated by instruments as they don’t know how to play them. “That’s a barrier there”, so the funny and playful environment makes it more like a game than song making, but the user ends up composing a song.

According to Kulash, the two-participant interaction is the key part of the experience.

“Chris is a zealot about that, and for good reason,” he said. “VR can be an extremely isolating technology … but is there a way we can use that, rather than to isolate, to let you have the closeness of a more human experience? It’s a weird thing that we had to remove all the human iconography to do that.”

This year’s Tribeca festival is the first ever to include several games like the Star Child.


It is a platform adventure game by the Playful Corp that integrates 3D and virtual reality into the traditional gaming genre.

Playful Corp’s Paul Bettner says that he intends to release the Star Child as PC and console game as well. Though, it seems a tough job to squeeze a whole VR experience onto a flat screen, Bettner’s team looks very confident.

“What I’m finding in VR is if we build the content a certain way, with a focus on doing third person VR, and we focus the entire project on just making it stand out and take advantage of what VR can do, then bringing it to what we call flat screen platform is a much easier transition than the other way around,” he said.

Also Read: Magic Leap raises $461 million from Saudi Public Investment Fund

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