In the process of challenging and furthering the boundaries defining possibility within theatre, film, and new media, UNSW Art & Design graduate, Shaun Gladwell will screen his latest work at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival as part of New Frontier, an in-depth curation of projects devoted to future story-telling.  Gladwell’s Orbital Vanitas is one of six Australian films selected for the 2017 festival.

In its 11th year of operation, New Frontier will present an exciting and wide-ranging program, including story-worlds in Augmented Reality, projection-mapped acrobatics, and interactive and immersive haptic VR story experiences.  The aim is to aid in the identification, development, and promotion of the most relevant and high-impact modes of tech-enabled narrative.

Robert Redford, President and Founder of Sundance Institute of which the Sundance Film Festival is one public program, said, “Every year, more artists are drawn to the vanguard of art and technology: independent, creative storytellers have more tools to break the mold than ever before. For the last decade-plus, New Frontier’s vision has evolved and grown with this expanding palette, to curate and showcase the most exciting new work made with the latest advances.

Shari Frilot, Sundance Film Festival Senior Programmer and Chief Curator of New Frontier, said, “In an era that has recalibrated economies, redefined social realms, and rewired the connection between the individual and the world, we must also reimagine what it is to be human. Through Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and various crafted immersive experiences, New Frontier this year challenges the very nature of perception and what we consider to be ‘reality.’”

Amongst a line-up of live-performances, a feature film, augmented reality experiences, VR experiences, and installations, Gladwell will screen Orbital Vanitas.  This virtual reality experience presents a surreal sci-fi mystery and meditation on death. Initially placed in Earth’s orbit, participants soon notice an enigmatic form floating toward them. What takes place next makes perfect use of the VR format. To create the work, Gladwell collaborated with broadcast developer, Leo Faber, with whom he founded the content collective BADFAITH VR.

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival takes place in Park City, Utah, 19 - 29 January.