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The Key

'The Key' wins Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Storyscapes Award

Part of the Festival's Virtual Arcade, 'The Key' put people into a virtual reality experience, making people interact with the story

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The Tribeca Film Festival announced its top awards, which included one for weaving new technologies into narrative. This year, the Storyscapes Award, went to the 15-minute piece called "The Key," an experience featured in the festival's Virtual Arcade, which was sold out almost immediately.

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Those who could nab tickets, had the option to try multiple virtual reality and interactive experiences which also included "Cave," "Bonfire" and "Gymnasia." Creator Celine Tricart of "The Key" partnered with the Oculus VR for Good Creators Lab, which does supports the making of VR and 360-degree experiences.

The VR experience, "Cave," with the poster here, made use of Parallux technology so viewers become part of the story. The VR experience, "Cave," made use of Parallux technology so viewers become part of the story.Cave

Viewer vs Director

Hollywood is eagerly embracing 360-degree filmmaking and virtual reality (VR) technology in the way it tells stories for movie goers. By using 360-degree technology and VR, filmmakers can change the nature of what narrative — and filmmaking — can be as viewers have some role in how a story unfolds. In that way people watching a film are actually shaping a story, and in turn straddling the divide between viewer and creator. These new film tools actually give movie watchers some power, such as the ability to look in different directions, or make choices of which way, or how, a story will turn.

In "Bonfire," for example, participants in the experience could interact with different characters in the story, and even do things that changed the action. (Hint: fire is involved.) In "Cave," people who participate in the experience can see other people who are watching as well, through the use of Parallux technology.

In "The Key," a woman dreams about a key, but you don't know much about her — or about the key itself. As you move throughout the one-room experience, you begin to learn more, as you are tasked with figuring out the mystery.

Storyscapes Award

The Storyscapes Award, won by "The Key," is sponsored by AT&T and awarded to "groundbreaking approaches in storytelling and technology," according to the Tribeca Film Festival. Jurors for this year included producer Lisa Osborne, fastcompany.com's executive editor Paul Smalera and Adaora Udoji, who is a virtual reality and augmented reality creator. The trio awarded the prize to Tricart, which also included $10,000.

This year, there were five entries for the Tribeca Film Festival's 2019 Storyscapes Award. The pieces came from Australia, Egypt, Iraq, Netherlands, UK and USA, with four world premieres, and one international premiere. "The Key," nabbed the top prize this year for its interactive mystery that tapped into VR as well.

"This piece was the full package," said the jurors. "Emotionally resonant, the winner demonstrates a seamless fusion of technology and narrative. The experience combines a real actor with fantastical, immersive visuals and achieves a rarity in VR storytelling with its use of metaphor to represent an ongoing, real-world crisis. Of particular note are the superbly executed virtual reality technical details, including character design, use of color, and sound design."

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