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VR films are getting serious and artistic. That’s what we’ll discover with the launch of Dear Angelica, a new virtual reality film from Oculus Story Studio, the VR film division of Facebook’s Oculus.

Dear Angelica premieres today at the Sundance Film Festival, and it will be available for Rift on the Oculus Store later today.

Dear Angelica tells the story of a mother (Angelica) and her daughter, with the vocal talent of Geena Davis and Mae Whitman. A story of grief and loss, Dear Angelica plays out in a series of painted memories — a visually stunning technique made possible by a new tool called Quill.

The artistic style is meant to increase our empathy for Angelica’s daughter as we’re fluidly pulled through her imagination to experience her adventures and poignant recollections. This effect is heightened by art director Wesley Allsbrook, who painted every scene entirely by hand.


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The first animated experience created entirely in VR, Dear Angelica marks the beginning of VR’s adoption as a medium for both creation and consumption, Oculus said.

Quill, available for free, lets you create art with your hands through the Oculus Touch controllers. This makes makes it possible for artists and filmmakers to work entirely in VR to bring a narrative to life more quickly than with traditional means.

The scenes construct themselves around you as individual strokes are rendered in real time for an interactive viewing experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen. As you watch Dear Angelica unfold, you can pause and explore, giving you a vantage point all your own, Oculus said.

Oculus hopes that Dear Angelica will lead to an alternative, more accessible way to tell visual stories.

The Oculus Story Studio won an Emmy last year for the VR animated short Henry.

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