This virtual-reality project transforms you into a rainforest tree. With your arms as branches and your body as the trunk, you’ll experience the tree’s growth from a seedling into its fullest form and witness its fate firsthand.

We are grateful for everyone who has taken time for our rainforests.

Take action to keep forests standing

Forests are critical to the survival of every living thing on earth. They’re a source of air, water, shelter and medicine. Forests are also our best defense against climate change.

Yet, every year, humans destroy as much forestland as the entire country of Panama. Deforestation fuels a triple whammy of global warming that generates 25 percent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide: the loss of GHG-absorbing trees, the release of stored carbon when trees are felled or burned and the emissions caused by the conventional farms that often replace forests. This cycle of destruction threatens biodiversity, global food security and the livelihoods of 50 million people around the world.

The Rainforest Alliance has conserved millions of hectares of forestland worldwide, in partnership with indigenous forest communities, farmers, governments, companies and people like you.


Join its alliance to rebalance the earth  

Milica Zec:

Milica Zec is a film and VR director, editor, producer, and screenwriter. Her debut VR film, “Giant,” has been a highlight of film and new media festivals including Sundance New Frontier and Cannes’ NEXT Programme. Based on real events, "Giant" has been critically lauded as an example of VR's incredible potential to encapsulate the human experience. Prior to creating “Giant,” Milica collaborated with the performance artist Marina Abramovic for nine years, including on her seminal show, “The Artist is Present" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Since 2015, she has been a member of NEW INC, the New Museum’s art, technology, and design incubator in New York City. Her latest project “Tree” is an official selection of Sundance Film Festival New Frontier 2017.


Winslow Porter:

Winslow is a Brooklyn-based film and virtual reality director, producer and creative technologist. Winslow has always been fascinated with the possibilities of how the intersection of art and technology can elevate storytelling. After beginning his career as a film editor and modern-dance composer, Winslow attended NYU Tisch Interactive Telecommunications Program and delved into the world of creative technology soon thereafter. Winslow’s previous work includes interactive experiences for Google, Delta, Diesel, TED, Merrel and Wired. While at Carbon Pictures in 2014, Winslow produced the Tribeca Film Festival Transmedia Award–winning documentary CLOUDS. Since 2015, he has also sustained a membership at NEW INC. He now has six years of experiential work under his belt, and Tree is his sixth VR project.


New Reality Company:

New Reality Company is a creative studio dedicated to utilizing virtual, augmented, mixed and actual reality to explore the human experience. As a highly collaborative company, New Reality partners with corporations, foundations and artists from all disciplines to help elevate their message. At the 2016 Sundance New Frontier festival, New Reality premiered Giant, a VR film portraying an American family in an active war zone. Giant is one of the first VR projects to combine semi-volumetric live-action video with game-engine software. Tree is the second piece of New Reality’s trilogy, which focuses on on man-made catastrophe and positive social change.


Here Be Dragons:

Here Be Dragons is a specialized and focused production studio that supports the world’s leading creative innovators in virtual reality spherical filmmaking. The Here Be Dragons collective utilizes custom-built tools and technology to craft and curate original immersive experiences. Here Be Dragons’ creative team and production talent are industry leaders in short-form commercials, music videos, feature film, theatre, design, photography and fine arts with a proven track record in creating stories that inspire and truly resonate, collectively earning them numerous Emmys, Cannes Lions, Grand Prix, Palme d’Ors, AICP, D&AD, One Show, ADC, Tony, Webby Awards and a Grammy.


Droga5:

Droga5's DNA is creatively led, strategically driven, digitally native and humanity obsessed. Droga5 is a group of nearly 700 smart, ambitious and genuinely nice people who are gracious to be awarded for their good work along the way. Droga5 has won Agency of the Year more than 10 times collectively from Ad Age, Adweek and Cannes, among others. Some of the agency's most notable campaigns over the last several years include Honey Maid, “This is Wholesome;” “The Great Schlep;” “Equal Payback Project” featuring Sarah Silverman; The Clinton Foundation, “Not There;” UNICEF, “Tap Project;” Under Armour, “I Will What I Want;” The Y, “Places,” and Shea Moisture, “Break the Walls,” among many others.


Aleksandar Protić:

Aleksandar Protić is a sound artist, designer and producer from Belgrade, Serbia. For the past 12 years, he has been the lead sound designer on more than 40 feature films and 3,000 television commercials, and he frequently collaborates with renowned filmmaker Emir Kusturica, a two-time Cannes award-winning director from Serbia.


Jakob Kudsk Steensen:

Jakob Kudsk Steensen is a Danish digital artist based in NYC. He develops immersive installations, which combine virtual reality with video, performance art and documentary filming. Jakob is trained in fine arts, and he uses game engines to develop his work. This allows him to bring a fresh perspective to the virtual reality industry of today. His work has been shown internationally at film festivals and museums. Most recently, he has shown his work at MAXXI, Rome Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul Contemporary, Museum of Modern Art Valencia, Temple Video Festival and New Realities organized by the Moving Image Fair. He has received awards from the Danish Arts Foundation and The Augustinus Foundation, and in 2016, he was a finalist for Climart. He has been an artist in residence at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, AADK, Centra Negra, MASS MoCA and BRIC.


Scott Gershin:

Scott Gershin has been telling stories with sound for the past 30 years on such films as Born on the Fourth of July, American Beauty, Shrek and Pacific Rim. That, combined with designing and mixing for interactive entertainment, makes VR a perfect fit for him. Scott recently joined Technicolor as director of audio where he is heading up the sound editorial dept for film, VR and games.


Xin Liu:

Xin Liu (刘昕) is a media artist, interaction researcher and engineer. She has shown her work internationally at events and venues including International Symposium on Electronic Art , Boston Museum of Fine Art , Music Tech Festival Berlin , OCAT Shanghai , Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in New York City and The New Spotlight in International Design Week . As an HCI researcher, Xin has worked in institutions, including Microsoft Research NYC, Microsoft Research Asia, Google ATAP and TASML, and she has presented her research at international conferences including UIST, TEI, DIS and Augmented Human. Xin is currently a master’s candidate in Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT Media Lab.


Erik Anderson:

Erik Anderson is a Santa Cruz–based freelance video game programmer and designer specializing in Unreal Engine 4. Graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2012 with a degree in game programming, he has over 8 years of programming experience in both virtual reality and video games alike. Apart from video games and VR experiences, he has also worked on a string of music videos such as AS-Chingy and Danny L Harle’s “Ashes of Love” and others with artist Sam Rolfes.


Yedan Qian:

Yedan Qian is an interaction designer, artist and engineer, focusing on interactive installations and virtual-reality experiences. Through new technologies, she has been augmenting the human body and the environment to change how we engage with each other and the way we think. As an interaction designer, she has worked in institutions including Samsung Research America, Baidu Institute of Deep Learning and Designit Copenhagen. Yedan is currently a visiting researcher in Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT Media Lab and master’s candidate at the Umeå Institute of Design, Sweden.


Mike Woods:

Mike Woods founded both the digital department and VR studio at Framestore. In June 2015, he cofounded a new virtual-reality company called White Rabbit, whose first ambitious offering is due in April 2016. With creative and technical knowledge of all things gaming, social, and experiential, Mike has become a pioneer of real-time filmmaking, animation and virtual reality. Successful campaigns for Coca-Cola, Geico and Beats led to a huge amount of pure VR work, including directing the groundbreaking HBO Game of Thrones Oculus Rift exhibit, launching apps for Samsung Gear VR, creating the Teleporter for Marriott Hotels and a virtual tour of the Endurance spaceship from Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, and two groundbreaking Marvel experiences, among others.


Ted Schilowitz:

Ted Schilowitz was the first employee and founding team member at RED Digital Cinema and cofounder of G-Tech. He currently serves as futurist for 20th Century Fox—where he works directly with Fox studio executives on the next generation of visual storytelling, such as the Martian VR experience—and as chief creative officer at Barco, where he spearheads the creative aspects of the Barco Escape cinema project. Barco Escape, which adds immersive right and left screens to movie theaters, includes Paramount Pictures Star Trek Beyond and 20th Century Fox The Maze Runner and Maze Runner 2, Scorch Trials.


Marcie Jastrow:

Marcie Jastrow is an industry veteran with over 20 years in the entertainment business. Currently the SVP of immersive media at Technicolor, Marcie is the head of the Technicolor Experience Center, a space dedicated to bringing partners together across the VR/AR space to ignite powerful stories through creative technology. Marcie was previously responsible for growing Technicolor’s post-production sales pipeline. Prior to joining Technicolor, she served as EVP of sales at Laser Pacific, which Technicolor acquired in 2011, and as SVP of sales at Modern VideoFilm for more than eight years. Known for her ability to bring together teams and workflows together, her passion lies in bringing a creative vision to life.


Tim Dillon:

Tim Dillon is head of VR and immersive content at MPC, leading a group focused on the exploration of original content, music, advertising, entertainment and experiential production. Tim has been instrumental in the development and production of many notable projects including Sundance-selected Heroes, Google’s Tilt Brush, Kygo’s “Carry Me,” OneRepublic’s Kids,” an experience for Nature Conservancy, Facebook Surround 360,, U2’s “Song For Someone” and VR for The Martian, Goosebumps, horror-favorite Catatonic. Tim is a vocal advocate for the experiential power of VR and has spoken at events such as Sundance, SXSW, AICP, NAB, CES and many other. Tim is based in Los Angeles at MPC’s Culver City studio.


Bruce Nussbaum:

Bruce Nussbaum is a professor of innovation and design at Parsons School of Design at The New School in New York City, is a former managing editor at BusinessWeek and blogs for Fast Company and Harvard Business Review. He taught third-grade science in the Peace Corps in the Philippines and studied anthropology, sociology and political science in grad school at the University of Michigan. At BusinessWeek, he wrote dozens of cover stories, but his favorites are “I'm Worried About My Job,” “I Can't Get the !X@#! Thing To Work,” “The World's Most Innovative Companies,” “The Power of Design” and “Get Creative, How to Build Innovative Companies.”

With generous support by
01/19/17
Sundance Film Festival
Park City, Utah
04/21/17
Tribeca Film Festival
New York, New York
04/22/17
NAB Show
Las Vegas, Nevada
04/24/17
TED 2017: The Future You
Vancouver, Canada

“Virtual reality has been an increasing Sundance focus, and this project is especially ambitious. Participants won’t just be handed a headset and told to have fun.”

“An attendant wafts a pressurized container of pure earthiness toward me as I wiggle through a hole in the soil and slowly creep toward the sky. I observe fluttering birds, scurrying insects, and monkey shenanigans before bursting through the canopy and gazing at a startlingly beautiful sunset.”

“Produced by passionate artists, producers, and programmers…the experience features wind, fire, and smells. I loved the earth smell that accompanied me from seedling to sapling. “

“There’s more to the story than the perspective of a growing tree.”

“Besides the rich soundscape, it’s fascinating how the piece melds VR with physicality: before each person starts the experience, they’re asked to actually take a seed and place it in soil behind them, symbolizing their virtual avatar’s creation.”

“Tree experience was equal parts chilling and exhilarating.”

“As the directors of creative agency New Reality Company, Porter and Zec believe that additional sensory stimulations like vibration and heat make Tree a valuable call to action for inspiring viewers to protect rainforests.”

“I watched one woman come out of VR crying, having so fully identified with the now fallen tree.”

“Tree, from the duo that offered the powerful war experience ‘Giant,’ tracks you as you move from a seed under the ground to a towering sentry of the rainforest.”

“With precisely controlled physical elements including vibration, heat, fan, and body haptics, the team created a fully immersive virtual reality storytelling tool, where the audience no longer watches but is transformed into a new identity.”

“And then there’s Milica & Winslow, the duo behind the recently-rebranded creative studio called New Reality Company…they’re delivering a VR project called ‘Tree,’ a New York Times-endorsed interactive experience that tackles the pressing environmental issue of deforestation.”

“An interactive and realistic Amazon environment.”

“Along with documentaries, The New Climate will also feature VR experiences as part of New Frontier. If Chasing Coral the documentary isn’t enough, you can also experience it in VR. There is also Melting Ice, focusing on disappearing glaciers, and Tree, which transforms users into a rainforest tree.”

“And a three-hour wait accompanied “Tree,” a haptically enhanced virtual experience by artists Milica Zec and Winslow Porter that follows the life cycle of a rainforest tree.”

“”Tree” allows you to become a tree in the Amazon that meets an unfortunate end.”

“This year’s festival, and its lineup of environmental films, hold a political significance few could have predicted.”

“It’s incredibly confronting, very moving, and it gets the message across in only a few minutes with a story with an incredible arc,” [Sundance programmer Hussain] Currimbhoy said.”

“Once the showing ends, those guests will be given a tree seed and asked to plant it somewhere where it can flourish.”

“The cocooned use of the headset and earphones is very personal, while 360-degree perspective lets you see what another person sees, and walk in their shoes. But even more so, these works taps into the need for action, beyond emotion.”

“Tree represents both a continuation of that level of intense personal experience and a departure in technological innovation and creative storytelling terms.”

Director

Milica Zec

Director

Winslow Porter

Composer

Aleksandar Protic

Art Director

Jakob Kudsk Steensen

Sound Designer

Scott Martin Gershin

Lead Tactile Technologist, MIT Media Lab

Xin Liu

Lead Tactile Designer, MIT Media Lab

Yedan Qian

Executive Producer

New Reality Company

Executive Producer

Here Be Dragons

Executive Producer

Patrick J. Milling Smith

Executive Producer

Fredrik Frizell

Executive Producer

Catherine Waage

Executive Producer

Droga5

Executive Producer

David Droga

Executive Producer

Justin Durazzo

Executive Producer

Jessie Hooper

VR Line Producer

Jen Vitale

Co-Producer

Fondazione Pianoterra Onlus

Co-Producer

Alessia Bulgari

Co-Producer

Diana Barrett (The Fledgling Fund)

Co-Producer

Chicken and Egg

Associate Producer

H.W. Buffalo & CO

Milk VFX

VFX Exec Producer

Will Cohen

Modeller / Texture Artist

Nastasia Bois

VFX Supervisor (lead modeller, texture & animator)

Sylvan Dieckmann

Lead Rigger / Animator

Will Pryor

VFX Exec Producer

Jean-Claude Deguara

VFX Producer

Sarah Williamson

VFX Editor

Collette Nunes

KonVRge

Production Coordinator

Ben Johnson

Engineering Tasks

Mark Trumbull

Creative Director

Jason Alejandre

Art, Integration, and VFX

Timothy Wall

Engineering Tasks

George Gularte

Animation

Juan Meza

Art, Integration, and VFX

Henry Ji

Sound and Design

Matt Garrison

 

VR Production Studio

Rewind: VR

VR Production Studio

Underscore Studios

Lead Engine Architect

Erik Anderson

Additional VR Development

Decochon

Project Manager

Devon Baur

Production Supervisor

Dimitri Loginowski

Studio Manager and Social Media Outreach

Gabby Brown

On-site and Web Interactive Sound Design

Plan8

Music Editor

Nikola Janković

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NEW INC

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Nvidia

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HTC Vive

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Intel

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IFF

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Subpac

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Barco

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IKinema RunTime-Indie

Environmental Conservation Partner

Rainforest Alliance

Fiscal Sponsor

The Redford Center

IME Law

VR Production Counsel

Matt Hooper

VR Production Counsel

Brian Sommer

Advisors

Creative Advisor

Mike Woods

Strategic Advisor

Marcie Jastrow

Technology/Innovation Advisor

Ted Schilowitz

Experience Advisor

Tim Dillon

Social Impact Advisor

Bruce Nussbaum

 

Publicist

Brad Stapleton, BECK Media

Accounting Provided by

Casey Ganer

Finance Counsel

Jerry Carleton

Set Design Consultant

The Sill

Droga5 Team

Chief Creation Officer

Sally-Ann Dale

Head of Interactive

Niklas Lindstrom

Design Director

Devin Croda

Designer

Kathryn Brylinksy

User Experience Director

Daniel Perlin

User Experience Lead

James Garvey

Creative Technologist

Catherine McCurry

Technology Director

Chris Allick

Integrated Producer

Gabija Blake

Print Producer

Riley Clough

Interactive Producer

Nicole Bazzinotti

Group Technology Manager

April Madridejos

Interactive Developer

Gunther Koo

QA Lead

Alexis Gepty

PR Director

Julian McBride

PR Manager

Carly Rullman

Business Affairs

Grant Thompson

Decochon Team

Additional VR Developer

Edo Fouilloux

Additional VR Developer

Jan-Marc Heckman

Rainforest Alliance Team

General Content Advisor

Jungwon Kim

Wildlife Advisor

Deanna Newsom

Rainforest Advisor

Diane Jukofsky

Soil Advisor

Danielle Cranmer

This project was supported by the Sundance Institute's New Frontier Lab Programs and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Inspired by the radio drama "Nightmare of a Tree" by Aleksandar Protic

Special Thanks

Chip Krueger

Willie Mack

Madelaine Guppy

Thanks

Kamal Sinclair

Petar Zec

Jelena Zec

Turner & Susie Porter

Susan Ngo

Julian LaPlace

Johnny Cocco

Karen Wong

Julia Kaganskiy

Rasu Jilani

Rain Embuscado

Alex Darby

Linnea Mellander

Todd Bryant

Shari Frilot

Jamie McMurray

Ruthie Doyle

Hussain Currimbhoy

Rick Champagne

Rick Hohmann

Dylan Stolte

Michael Kaplan

Lisa Michele Watts

Mitchell J. Lum

Shawn Hendricks

Hanna Rogers

Brian Chasalow

Will Cherry

René Pinnel

Jill Klekas

Lisa Niedermeyer

Theresa Hubbard

Rachel Yezbick

Brady Peterson

Billy Zhao

ITP

Daniel Sullivan

Joe Graf

Jon Nabozny

Sylvana Fernandez

Tamara French

Bobby Pin

Bradley Capstick

Melissa Marquez Barreiros

Sarah Young

Nicole Kugel

Koura Linda

Rachel Hettlemen

Caitlin Simpson

Franklin Dean

Chevon Ward