Tribeca Film Festival's Virtual Arcade is highlighting social causes

Highlights at this year's TFF Immersive event used VR to showcase social causes.

May 3, 2019, 3:14 PM

Since 2012, the Tribeca Film Festival has been showcasing virtual reality. At this year's Virtual Arcade, the festival has a lineup of 22 virtual and augmented exhibits. New and established artists are using VR to bridge storytelling and technology.

One of the themes at this year's arcade is using immersive technology to bring social causes front and center. Whether showing the ramifications of war in a developing country or the effect pollution has on our oceans, the virtual exhibits immerse the user into a world that is unforgettable.

Highlights include:

"A Drop in the Ocean"

Experience the ocean from an entirely new perspective. Get shrunk down to 2 inches and ride a jellyfish to encounter the mysteries of the deep and learn how to restore the natural wonder of the ocean.

Two users in VR experiencing Drop In The Ocean
Conservation International

A collaboration with Philippe and Ashlan Cousteau along with Vision3 and Conservation International, this interactive and social experience lets users explore the depths of the water while getting a first-hand look at the plastic pollution crisis impacting the world's oceans.

"Children Do Not Play War"

Marrying traditional oral storytelling with contemporary Virtual Reality, "Children Do Not Play War" is narrated by Aloyo, a young Uganda girl born into captivity during the guerrilla war in Uganda and Central Africa.

Over the past several decades, Lord's Resistance Army abducted tens of thousands of children, forcing them to become soldiers or soldier's wives. The survivors, including Aloyo, now face stigmatization and prejudice for having been part of the army.

Common Ground VR experience
East City Films

The children in the film are currently under the care of Children of Peace Uganda and Go Campaign, humanitarian organizations dedicated to providing aid to war-affected children. On a CPU farm in rural Northern Uganda, Aloyo and her peers receive education and rehabilitation services, enabling them to become themselves again.

"Common Ground"

The Aylesbury Estate is the largest social housing project in Europe. Since the 1960s, it has been home to thousands of working-class South Londoners.

"Common Ground" takes users on a multi-layered, immersive journey aimed at putting a human face on the U.K. housing crisis. Blending 360, photogrammetry and 3D modeling, it takes users on a journey through the infamous concrete monolith to meet its residents, now being forced out to make room for a new high-end apartment redevelopment.

The Virtual Arcade runs through Saturday, May 4. For more info, visit