Whatever problems virtual reality had in 2016, the industry also laid important groundwork, and it’s starting to pay off — particularly at the experimental New Frontier showcase of this week’s Sundance Film Festival. Last year, VR took over a new Frontier that felt somewhat ill-prepared for it, leading to crowded rooms of people awkwardly crowding onto couches with mobile headsets. This year, New Frontier feels like a distinct part of the festival, and the pieces themselves are more mature. While there’s still plenty of experimental work that will interest enthusiasts more than newcomers, the winners in each category below are thematically innovative, technically impressive, and artistically compelling.


Here is the summary of the top winners:

  • Best Cinematic Virtual Reality:  Dear Angelica
    • Runner Ups:
      • Miyubi
      • Out of Exile
  • Best Interactive Virtual Reality:  Mindshow
    • Runner Ups:
      • Chocolate
      • The Sky is a Gap
  • Best Virtual Reality Installation: Life of Us
    • Runner Ups:
      • Neurospeculative Afrofeminism
      • Tree
  • Augmented Reality the First Steps:
    • Heroes
    • The Journey to the Center of the Natural Machine


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