Spike Jonze and Chris Milk Discuss
the Future of Virtual Reality Film
By Ryan Grim
The film was one of three that Jonze and the director Chris Milk had me experience using the headset. There was also an animation in which you’re standing in the middle of a lake. A train chugs across the lake, right at you, and then through you, exploding into hundreds of birds. The third film is composed of super-close-up footage of protesters demonstrating at an anti-police-brutality march in Manhattan (it was produced in partnership with VICE News, and Jonze is a longtime VICE creative director). The company behind these movies is VRSE, a virtual reality production house founded by Milk and backed by Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison and venture-capital cash. VRSE has impressed the entertainment industry at Sundance and global leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The possible future of VRSE has Jonze and Milk ecstatic, like it’s the early days of filmmaking and they’re Eadweard Muybridge. And while the thrill you get from watching the movies can be hard to describe, it’s safe to say these guys are on to something, even if no one’s quite sure what that is yet.