Last week, I saved a little girl's life, witnessed the birth of the universe and nursed a baby elephant back to health.
This wasn't a dream, it was the Virtual Arcade at the Tribeca Film Festival. This year's Tribeca Immersive program showcases 22 projects from five countries. Celebrities from Alicia Vikander to Lupita Nyong'o have narrated pieces making their world premiere here.
It's challenging to experience all the stories, but here are several to look out for:
"Hero" is a large-scale installation that allows the visitor to be in a Syrian town that is going through a modern era of civil warfare. As the "hero," it is your job to help a Syrian girl survive the aftermath of an explosion.
"Spheres: Pale Blue Dot"
The second episode in the Spheres series puts you at the beginning of the Big Bang. You get to witness the birth of the universe and travel the cosmos until you see planet Earth, all the while being guided by the voice of Patti Smith.
A unique installation where you sit down for a 360-degree video experience, then try an immersive and interactive companion piece. The visitor starts out in Northern Kenya to see the wildlife migration and observe a lioness capturing her prey. Narrated by Nyong'o, you follow a community dedicated to saving Africa's wildlife.
"Arden’s Wake: Tide's Fall"
The latest piece from Penrose Studios follows the journey of Meena (voiced by Vikander) as she goes on mission through the depths of the ocean to discover the truth about her family.
Not VR but an AR (augmented reality) narrative. The visitor puts on a HoloLens to see and speak to a Muslim woman returning to the U.S. from Pakistan. Essentially, you take on the role of a Customs agent that determines the fate of this hologram.
Other notable pieces to check out:
"The Day the World Changed" by artists Gabo Arora and Sashka Unseld: A social, room-scale experience where three visitors walk around the ruins of Hiroshima after the bomb.
In "Into the Now", director and photographer Michael Muller overcame his fear of sharks by filming them underwater. Explore marine life and ocean conservation in this stereoscopic 360-degree experience.