Sundance: Vice News to Premiere Virtual-Reality Feature from Spike Jonze, Chris Milk

Vice News will premiere what it’s touting as the first-ever virtual-reality news feature — from filmmakers Chris Milk and Spike Jonze — Friday at the Sundance Film Festival.

Vice News VR: Millions March,” directed by Milk and Jonze and hosted by Vice News’s Alice Speri, takes viewers inside the December 2014 protest in New York City against police brutality. The film will premiere on a new app from virtual-reality developer VRSE, founded by Milk. Vice Media recently invested in VRSE.

The feature follows Speri as she covers the Dec. 13 demonstration in which more than 25,000 New Yorkers blocked streets in calling for nationwide reform after a police officer killed a black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., and cops choked an African-American man to death Staten Island. Footage was captured by a 360-degree VRSE-built VR camera system designed to make it seem as if the viewer is actually present in the scene.

The VRSE app will be available via Apple’s iTunes and Google Play stores for a VR experience using Google Cardboard, or as a non-VR experience on most late-model smartphones. The app is designed to display content shot a full 360-degree 3D virtual space. VRSE expects the app to eventually be available on all VR headsets including Oculus Rift.

Popular on Variety

Vice said it plans to develop additional VR journalism projects in collaboration with Milk and VRSE.

“My hope is that VR is the tool we need to stir more compassion for one another,” Milk said in a statement. “I think VR holds the potential to fundamentally change journalism.”

Jonze, who holds the title of Vice creative director, called “Vice News VR: Millions March” an experiment in a new form of storytelling. “Living in New York this fall and feeling these spontaneous protests against police brutality that have been forming and growing, it seemed like this was the most timely and important subject to go shoot,” he said. “When we got the footage back and watched it on the goggles, I was so moved by what we had.”

Vice has worked with Milk previously on projects including the feature “Summer Into Dust,” about Arcade Fire at Coachella, and “Treachery of Sanctuary” for The Creators Project. The youth-skewing media company also worked with Spike Jonze on the first-ever YouTube Music Awards in 2013, where he directed a live music video with Arcade Fire.

Other content in the VRSE app, in addition to the “Millions March” docu, includes “Evolution of Verse,” a photo-realistic CGI experience. VRSE also collaborated with the United Nations and filmmaker Gabo Arora to create “Clouds Over Sidra,” an exploration into the life of a 12-year-old Syrian refugee as she adjusts to the conditions of the Zaatari Refugee camp in Jordan.

More Digital

  • HQ Trivia

    HQ Trivia Lives? CEO Claims He's Found Potential Buyer for Live Game-Show App

    Hold the phone, HQties — there might be a second act for HQ Trivia. The once-buzzy live game-show app, whose audience had declined after peaking two years ago, shut down last week after the company ran out of money and a deal to sell it fell through. Now Rus Yusupov, CEO of parent company Intermedia [...]

  • Dolan Twins

    Dolan Twins to Launch Their First Podcast (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Dolan Twins, sibling digital influencers who have a combined following of more than 50 million across internet platforms, are set to launch their first podcast: “Deeper With The Dolan Twins.” The new weekly podcast from 20-year-old Ethan and Grayson Dolan is being produced under an exclusive pact with Cadence13, a division of Entercom Communications’ [...]

  • Justin Bieber Changes album cover

    Following Lil Nas X, Justin Bieber Track Is Latest to Highlight Online Marketplace

    A shout-out on social media from Justin Bieber has brought some additional shine to Splice Sounds, the popular platform for rights-cleared sounds and beats. The track “Running Over,” from Bieber’s album “Changes” and featuring Lil Dicky, was produced by The Audibles and is based on a loop created by British artist Laxcity and uploaded to Splice. [...]

  • LadBaby at Abbey Road Studio, London,

    Facebook Leans on Local Creators to Grow Watch and Hit New Target Areas

    As Facebook leans into sports, non-scripted and select scripted properties, it’s increasingly looking to an army of creators rather than A-list celebrities to tap into all three target areas as they grow businesses on the Watch platform. Facebook’s newly appointed head of entertainment media partnerships for Northern Europe Anna Higgs tells Variety, “The Watch strategy [...]

  • Apple-Coronavirus

    Apple Warns of Sales Shortfall for March 2020 Quarter, Blaming Coronavirus Outbreak

    Apple said the spread of the coronavirus in China has disrupted iPhone manufacturing and driven down sales in the country. As a result, the tech giant said it now expects to undershoot the revenue guidance it previously provided, of between $63.0 billion and $67.0 billion its fiscal 2020 second quarter (which ends March 28). “Work [...]

  • Jeff Bezos

    Jeff Bezos Forms $10 Billion Fund to Fight Climate Change

    Multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest person, announced a $10 billion fund to invest in projects that will combat the alarming trend of climate change. The Amazon founder and CEO announced the formation of the Bezos Earth Fund in an Instagram post Monday (Feb. 17).⁣⁣⁣ According to Bezos, the fund will begin issuing grants this [...]

  • Jake Paul

    YouTuber Jake Paul Launches Entrepreneur How-To Platform, Financial Freedom Movement

    YouTuber Jake Paul wants you to be financially free, for $19.99 a month.  At a rally on Saturday, the content creator — along with influencer friends and around 50 teenage and tween-age fans, some chaperoned by parents — launched the Financial Freedom Movement (FFM) in partnership with GenZ Holdings Inc., a Los Angeles-based brand development [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content