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Arts, Culture & Entertainment

Sundance Lineup Marks Advances In Film Technology

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the technology behind the films will have a big influence on what moviegoers will see. The lineup was announced this week.  

Social justice and climate change are two big themes audiences will see in documentaries this year. 

Trevor Groth is the Director of Programming at Sundance. He describes footage of a film called Whose Streets, about protests in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of Michael Brown and another called Last Men in Aleppo about the war in Syria.

"A lot of that footage is sort of handheld, from people’s phones, and it really brings you into those worlds in a way that I’ve never seen before," Groth says. 

Historically, documentaries like these can take years to make. But with submissions this year, not so.

"Now there’s a sort of urgency to these issues and technology is allowing them to be captured so much more immediately that a lot of these films have only really been in the works for a year and now they’re going to be premiering in January."

The other change is with the festival’s virtual reality showcase, called New Frontiers, which has been around for about a decade.

"Our New Frontiers section has always been about that discovery of storytellers working with new technology and I think the technology is catching up with the creativity of the minds of the people wanting to do it," he says. 

This year there’s a dedicated space for virtual reality and augmented reality films, called the VR palace, where moviegoers can be immersed in their own virtual reality headset.

But Groth says, for all these technological advances, filmmakers are just starting to scratch the surface.

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