Academy Award winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu has made some of the most celebrated movies of all time, now he’s bringing his eye for storytelling to the world of VR.
The Revenant director today announced that he will work on an “experimental” VR short film. Few details about the project have been revealed, though a press release states that it will follow a group of immigrants and refugees as they make a perilous border crossing between Mexico and the United States. Iñárritu will collaborate with three-time Oscar winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki on the project. A name and release date have not been announced.
It won’t be the first VR movie to focus on the difficult issues of immigration that the world faces right now.
Legendary Entertainment, a company that’s clearly enthusiastic about the potential of reality-altering technologies will produce and finance the piece alongside art institution Fondazione Prada. Interestingly, Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment division, ILMxLAB, will help to build the experience. This suggests that the film will be a fully VR experience, and not a simple 360 degree movie like many other directors are experimenting with right now.
The director brings some serious talent to VR storytelling; alongside this year’s epic starring Leonardo DiCaprio, he also wrote and directed 2014’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). He’s no stranger to short films, either, having made several throughout his career.
Iñárritu won’t be the first filmmaker to go this route. Earlier this month Iron Man and Jungle Book director Jon Faverau launched a preview of his own narrative-driven VR experience, Gnomes and Goblins. IMAX, meanwhile, is set to provide creators with its own 360 degree cameras to shoot companion 360 degree pieces for traditional movies that will then air inside special kiosks located at multiplexes and shopping malls. Filmmakers are being pulled in a number of different directions when it comes to VR, then, and it’s going to be fascinating to see which, if any, prevail.
ILMxLAB, meanwhile, is also working on its first VR movie using the lucrative Star Wars franchise, starring none other than Darth Vader.