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A still from Steven Schardt's AUTO. Photo: Wevr.
TECH ARTICLE

Get Ready to Experience This Tribeca Immersive Project that Takes You Inside a Self-Driving Taxi

The award-winning virtual reality studio Wevr has added the Tribeca selection AUTO to its Transport platform.

Wevr, the award-winning virtual reality studio and content distributor, today announced the upcoming release of two critically acclaimed VR experiences on its Transport platform, one of which happens to be a Tribeca Immersive world premiere.

Auto is a speculative fiction about the problematic role of a "safety driver" in a future self-driving taxi from filmmaker Steven Schardt, the independent producer and director whose films include Humpday, the Tribeca selection Your Sister’s Sister, and Treatment. Additionally, Wevr has also acquired IF NOT LOVE, a tragic account of the consequences of hatred and intolerance, written and directed by Rose Troche, the renowned filmmaker behind the New Queer Cinema cornerstone Go Fish.

Auto, which made its world premiere at last month in the festival's premier VR section Tribeca Immersive, is among Wevr's first acquisitions to be fully produced outside of the company, and kick off a larger move to position Transport as the premiere destination for all VR creators and independent filmmakers looking to showcase their narrative and experiential works in a medium that's still thrillingly being established.

“We chose Rose Troche’s IF NOT LOVE and Steven Schardt’s Auto because both simulations, grounded in compelling characters, tell complex stories about our current sociopolitical environment while simultaneously pushing the visual and structural language of live-action VR,” says Wevr director of development and acquisitions James Kaelan. “We couldn’t be prouder that these are the first two independent productions we’ve acquired for Transport.”

“Bravely, Wevr’s Transport now supports independent cinematic VR in an emerging medium already crowded by games and branded content,” says Schardt. “With Auto, Wevr not only continues its pioneering engagement with new technologies, but also promotes the frank consideration of their human consequences.”

By distributing their work on Transport, artists receive access to the widest possible audience available in this burgeoning industry, as well as licensing fees, artistic freedom, and promotion of their work. The company is currently seeking out additional creative, award-winning VR experiences to add to Transport in hopes of bringing the best virtual reality experiences to the masses—and allowing the virtual reality industry, still in its early stages, to further evolve.

“Our goal with Transport is to give talented creatives from all different backgrounds and media a place to share their work with the world,” says Anthony Batt, co-founder and EVP of Wevr. “We want the VR community to know that Transport is where they can distribute their simulations to the widest possible audience, with the support of the Wevr team.

Set in the very near future, as self-driving taxis are becoming the norm, Auto follows "safety drivers," who are employed to simply sit in the front seat, as a measure of comfort to passengers. But Musay, an Ethiopian immigrant driver with 40 years of experience, is not content to merely sit and insists on driving. When he picks up a couple accustomed to the automated service, their frustration with Musay’s driving turns a routine ride into a microcosm of power dynamics and control in this new, imperfect economy.

Auto and IF NOT LOVE will both be available for download and viewing on the Wevr Transport platform later this year.

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