Sundance Film Festival and Star Wars together? It seems impossible, since we are talking about the most famous independent cinema festival and the well known mainstream space saga, but instead…this year it happened thanks to the presentation of The Holo-Cinema, a new technology that Disney is developing.
The Holo-Cinema is a new solution that joins cinema and augmented reality, and it’s in its development phase in the ILMxLAB division of Lucasfilm. For now, this technology has been studied to give the chance to the viewers to enjoy the Star Wars experience directly in their living room: simply wearing a pair of smart glasses, the user is able to explore various places of the saga, as Jakku desert, and to meet some famous characters as C-3PO and BB-8.
A Lucasfilm’s spokesperson explained The Holo-Cinema’s possibilities, including also an idea about opening some “portals” through reality that will permit the users to visit ambient and subplots that weren’t showed in the movies. “We can put more story out there”, he said.
Anyway, The Holo-Cinema is not the only news connected to alternative realities that we will see this year at the festival; another interesting project, in fact, caught the visitors’ attention: it’s called Leviathan Project and it wants to bring to the screens the Scott Westerfeld’s best-selling Leviathan trilogy of novels thanks to a mix of augmented and virtual reality. These are young-adult sci-fi books, so the theme itself is pretty good for a transposition in different kinds of reality: the story has among the main characters no less than Mary Shelley and Charles Darwin, and the period is the WWI one.
Leviathan Project is the result of a three-year collaborative effort between Alex McDowell’s 5D Global Studio, USC’s World Building Media Lab, Intel, and Unity and, thanks to the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets and also to special gloves equipped with motion sensors, it projects the viewer inside the books’ steampunk world, with the promise of letting him interacting with the objects around.
These two projects seem to be just the beginning of a revolution that, in the opinion of cinema experts and professionals, during next years will take to Sundance many projects related to new realities.