Like most major film festivals these days, Cannes has jumped into the exploration of VR programming as well. The market sidebar dubbed Next has been around for a while, but this year was expanded to a much more prominent location on a pier beside the Palais and was narrowed to focus almost exclusively on VR content. The good folks in charge did a wonderful job of lining up both excellent speakers and some very interesting content. On top of that, they exhibited the content in an innovative and exciting way.
Both the previously lauded Invasion! by Baobab Studios' Eric Darnell (director Madagascar movies) and the live-action Defrost directed by Randall Kleiser (director of such classics as Flight of the Navigator and The Blue Lagoon) followed-up their premieres at Tribeca and Sundance respectively with screenings at Cannes Next. Both Darnell and Kleiser also took part in the The Future of VR, A US Perspectivepanel which focused on how established film directors are forced to rethink the ways they make movies to tell stories in VR.
Kleiser and his partners Tanna Fredrick and Furious M's Mario Kenyon not only took part in the panel but were also on hand to debut the second episode of Defrost titled The Best Care. This episode sees the story take a big leap forward. Where the pilot just introduced us to the first-person world as a woman being awoken from a medically-induced coma in the year 2045 and coming to terms with seeing her grown up family, this new episode starts to hint at more nefarious things happening in the cryo-facility that put her to sleep. It also introduces the interesting narrative technique of a small amount of inner monologue. It will be interesting to see how this method works to advance the story as further episodes are released.