Joseph Gordon-Levitt ‘Can’t Wait’ To Get Involved in VR, Oculus Announces Story Studio University

by Joe Durbin • January 26th, 2016

Joseph Gordon-Levitt of, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises fame, said during a speech at this year’s Sundance Film Festival that he “can’t wait” to get involved with VR Filmmaking. Gordon-Levitt was a special guest speaker at a private Oculus presentation introducing the company’s new program: Story Studio University.

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“I’m not particularly experienced in VR, maybe that’s why I’m standing here,” Gordon-Levitt said during his speech at the Oculus sponsored event. “I’ve had the chance up here at Sundance to see some incredible work…Things that I’ve just found so inspiring. And I have no experience in what it takes to make that stuff but I’m very interested to try.”

Gordon-Levitt cited the New Frontier program, Sundance’s showcase for experimental projects and innovative techniques, as being of particular inspiration to him. This year the program is presenting nearly 40 VR and AR experiences ranging from traditional demos to examples of groundbreaking VR filmmaking.

“I’m a New Frontier alumnus, and I love seeing New Frontier exploding with all the virtual reality…I hope we keep Virtual Reality happening here at Sundance for years to come,” Gordon-Levitt said.

For Gordon-Levitt, VR is not a gimmick that distracts from traditional TV and cinema, but rather a natural evolution for the mediums that shares the common goal of storytelling with its precursors.

“Technology determines storytelling,” Gordon-Levitt said.“The overlap I see between movies and TV and VR is storytelling….how do you tell a story in virtual reality?”

This is the big question coming out of Sundance this year. Samsung announced earlier in the week it will be starting up a dedicated VR film studio in New York City, and now Oculus is accelerating its VR film ambitions with the introduction of Story Studio University.

Story Studio University exists for the purpose of educating the next generation of VR filmmakers, and beginning on February 13 it will kick off its first series of workshops at New York University and the University of Southern California. Following these workshops the Story Studio will be launching masters classes at these same universities.

Curriculum for the program will include video tutorials from Oculus themselves and other cutting-edge VR studios as well. Students will also have access to a steadily increasing library of VR assets from Oculus to experiment with. Oculus also announced Quill – a new VR illustrator – this week as a tool for VR filmmakers.

Details on how to register for the workshops will be released by Oculus soon and we will provide you with that info as it becomes available.

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