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.

Bogota International Film Festival, Bogota, Columbia
World Economic Forum, Tiajin, China
World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland
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Milica Zec:

Milica Zec is an award-winning LA based film and virtual reality director. Her cinematic virtual reality projects Giant and Tree have been exhibited at Sundance, Cannes, IMAX, TED, and over 130 other festivals. Prior to that, Milica worked with the performance artist Marina Abramovic for 9 years, where she had the experience of transforming audiences by making the viewer an active participant in the artwork. Milica has given keynotes and masterclasses at leading institutions around the world, including NYU, A&E Network and Siggraph.


Winslow Porter:

Winslow Porter is a Brooklyn based director, producer and creative technologist specializing in virtual reality and large-scale immersive installations. Winslow has always been fascinated with the possibilities of how the intersection of art and technology can elevate storytelling. In 2014 he produced the Tribeca Film Festival Transmedia Award-winning documentary CLOUDS, among other acclaimed new media projects. Winslow formed the New Reality Company with Milica Zec in 2016, creating the critically acclaimed cinematic VR experiences Giant and Tree.


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.


Devon Baur:

Devon is a producer of virtual reality, live experiences and events. Devon has served as the Director of the Topanga Film Institute, where she revitalized the annual festival - dubbed "one of the coolest festivals in the world" by Filmmaker Magazine - and was featured in the LA Times as an inspiring female entrepreneur. Prior to this, Devon spent six years in Ireland and the UK where she worked as a producer of live events in tech+storytelling, including programs in partnership with Directors Guild of America, Arri Alexa and the Google venture "The Science Gallery." She holds an M.Phil in Theatre and Performance Studies with a focus on 'Liveness in Digital Culture' from Trinity College, Dublin.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


Emanuela Maggioni:

Emanuela is an expert in olfaction and multisensory perception. She is director and co-founder of OWidgets, a start-up that opens up new frontiers in designing scent-based applications. OWidgets has supported Tree since 2018 with a fully automated scent-delivery machine. Emanuela is passionate about odours, emotions and novel engineering solutions applied in interactive mixed reality environments and AI perfumery. Her previous work includes academic and industry-led projects for Benetton Group, Facebook/Oculus VR, ERC excellence scheme, and collaborations in developing immersive content. Emanuela holds an enterprise fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering in London and is a postdoc researcher of Multisensory Experiences in the Sussex Computer Human Interaction (SCHI) Lab.


Shelley Hu:

Shelley Hu (she/they) is an award-winning multimedia artist and producer. Graduated with a Master’s degree from Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at Tisch, NYU, Shelley has been serving as the Studio Manager for New Reality Co since March 2019, and has since brought Tree and Giant to events worldwide. Shelley’s multimedia works have been exhibited at local galleries in New York including La Mama’s CultureHub. Among many awards, Shelley shares a New York Emmy Award for their collaborative data visualization work in multimedia story Finding Sanctuary. Originally from Chengdu, China, Shelley now lives in Brooklyn and teaches creative technology at Pratt Institute.

With generous support by
01/2017
Sundance Film Festival
Park City, Utah
04/2017
Tribeca Film Festival
New York, New York
04/2017
NAB Show
Las Vegas, Nevada
04/2017
TED 2017: The Future You
Vancouver, Canada
05/2017
Cannes Film Festival
Cannes, France
07/2017
VR in the Sky
New York, NY
07/2017
IndieBo Festival de Cine Independiente de Bogota
Bogota, Colombia
07/2017
Phi Centre
Montreal, CA
07/2017
New Museum x Intel VR Showcase
New York City
08/2017
Gassli Film Festival
Basel, Switzerland
09/2017
International Broadcasting Convention
Rai, Amsterdam
09/2017
Camden International Film Festival
Camden, ME
10/2017
The Future of Storytelling Summit
New York, NY
10/2017
Mill Valley Film Festival
Mill Valley, CA
10/2017
AFI
Los Angeles, CA
10/2017
VR On the Lot
Los Angeles, CA
10/2017
CGA
Belgrade, Serbia
12/2017
NUMA Paris Tech For Planet
Paris, France
02/2018
BAM: Brooklyn Academy of Music, Teknopolis
Brooklyn, NY
03/2018
CPH:DOX Copenhagen
Copenhagen, Denmark
03/2018
Sonar +D Hong Kong
Hong Kong, China
03/2018
NYUAD: Imagine Science Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, UAE
03/2018
Modul Institute Dubai
Dubai, UAE
03/2018
New Zealand Festival
Wellington, New Zealand
03/2018
CUE Conference: Education and Innovation
Palm Springs, CA
04/2018
Earth X
Dallas, TX
04/2018
Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival
Toronto, Canada
04/2018
Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival
Minneapolis, MN
04/2018
Ministry of Education: Robotics Training
Dubai, UAE
04/2018
Culture Summit Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, UAE
04/2018
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival
Toronto, Canada
04/2018
Dell Tech World
Las Vegas, NV
06/2018
Games for Change Festival
New York, NY
08/2018
R/GA Chicago
Chicago, IL
09/2018
World Economic Forum: Annual Meeting New Champions
Tianjin, China
10/2018
Internazionale a Ferrara
Ferrara, Italy
10/2018
LA Fashion Film Festival
Los Angeles, CA
10/2018
Wildlife Film Festival
Rotterdam, Netherlands
10/2018
Foromic 2018 for Inter-American Development Bank
Barranquilla, Colombia
11/2018
Stanton Chase
Los Angeles, CA
12/2018
Metro1 Presents Conscious Event Art Series Art Basel
Miami, FL
01/2019
World Economic Forum
Davos, Switzerland
02/2019
World Government Summit
Dubai, UAE
03/2019
Pictet
Milan, Italy
04/2019
IMF Spring Meetings
Washington, DC
04/2019
Builders + Innovators (B+I) Summit
Ningbo, China
05/2019
Hong Kong TechNet Conference
Hong Kong
05/2019
Seattle World Trade Center Annual Meeting
Seattle, WA
06/2019
Ulaanbaatar International Media Art Festival
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
07/2019
University of Sussex
Brighton, UK
07/2019
Global Developers Forum 2019
Suwon, South Korea
08/2019
Burning Man 2019
Black Rock City, NV
09/2019
World Economic Forum Africa Summit
Cape Town, South Africa
09/2019
Ecofalante Environmental Film Festival
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
09/2019
United Nations General Assembly SDG Action Zone
New York City
09/2019
United Nations General Assembly SDG Media Zone
New York City
10/2019
Speculum Artium Festival
Trbovlje, Slovenia
11/2019
Aesthetica Short Film Festival
York, UK
11/2019
VRE Festival
Rome, Italy
11/2019
Gardens by the Bay
Singapore
01/2020
Impact Reality Summit
Seattle, WA
01/2020
NEW INC x Ruinart “Forest First” Mixed Reality Pop-up
New York City
01/2020
World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020
Davos, Switzerland
02/2020
Summit 2020
Miami, FL
02/2020
Heydar Aliyev Centre
Baku, Azerbaijan
02/2020
Edelman
New York City
02/2020
African American Art & Culture Complex
San Francisco, CA

“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.”

“Tree experience was equal parts chilling and exhilarating.”

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

“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. “

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

“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.”

“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.”

“An interactive and realistic Amazon environment.”

“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.”

Director

Milica Zec

Director

Winslow Porter

Producer

Devon Baur

post producer

Shelley Hu

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

Additional Tactile Design

Mark Kleback

Additional Tactile Design

Todd Bryant

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 Irwin

VR Line Producer

Jen Vitale

Co-Producer

Fondazione Pianoterra Onlus

Co-Producer

Alessia Bulgari

Co-Producer

Chicken and Egg

Co-Producer

Diana Barrett (The Fledgling Fund)

Co-Producer

Max Leite

Co-Producer

Ravindra Velhal

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

Creative Director

Jason Alejandre

Executive Producer

Candice Alejandre

Production Coordinator

Ben Johnson

Engineering Tasks

Mark Trumbull

Art Director

Jeff Hua

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

Production Supervisor

Dimitri Loginowsky

Studio Manager and Social Media Outreach

Gabby Brown

Studio Manager

Jeremy Brown

On-site and Web Interactive Sound Design

Plan8

Music Editor

Nikola Janković

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

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