As Engadget detailed earlier this year, Tribeca featured VR content in 2016, but films were hosted in a special "Virtual Arcade" away from the main festival and were not eligible for prizes. Submissions included the 20-minute animated short Allumette, the Deep VR underwater experience that's supposed to lower your stress, and Old Friend, a film that lets you dance in your seat using an HTC Vive headset and controller.
VR is still feeling its way as an entertainment format. There are technical problems for users, like the need to be tethered to a cable, a pixelated "screen-door" effect and discomfort from wearing a heavy headset. Filmmakers still aren't sure how to handle the format either, as it doesn't work well with rapid edits, and lighting and other challenges abound.
A Tribeca rep told Venture Beat that mainstream films are still the "DNA of the festival." With awards on the line for virtual reality next year, however, it might encourage filmmakers to explore the limits and create content that does more and more justice to the hardware.