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Production Booster and Kickstart projects awarded funding for immersive production

  • StoryFutures Academy
  • June 12th 2020

StoryFutures Academy announces the recipients of Development Funding for UK immersive productions, across four Production Booster projects and seven Kickstart projects, an investment totalling over £140,000. To date, the Academy has awarded over £200,000 in funding immersive production in the UK.

Violence, an artistic collaboration between NFTS graduate and Director Shola Amoo (The Last Tree), Producer Eleanor Whitley (Marshmallow Laser Feast), Director and Choreographer Lanre Malalou, composer Finn McNicholas and interactive studio All Seeing Eye, will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, as part of the Cannes XR Virtual at the Marché du film de Cannes, held online and in virtual reality from 24 to 26 June 2020.

Violence is a new virtual reality work re-contextualising the notion of violence, by examining it through the lens of state oppression against marginalised and subaltern groups. In this context, the audience explore the cathartic nature of the rebellion, by oppressed groups against draconian political and social systems. Through the users interaction, the audience are asked to examine perception and bias, interrogating the social death and dehumanisation of the marginalised and societal complicity.

Summarising the project, Shola Amoo said: “This piece deals with subversion and perception, we challenge you to enter and share a part of yourself with us.”

The premiere showing at Cannes debuts innovation from StoryFutures Academy’s audience insight team of researchers based at Royal Holloway, University of London, who have developed an audience feedback system that directly integrates with VR headsets to enable bespoke psychological insights to be developed.

Co-director of StoryFutures Academy, James Bennett says: “We’re thrilled that our audience insight team are launching this tool on such an important project as Shola’s Violence. The tool will inform our understanding of virtual reality as a medium, and provide invaluable insights into how audiences experience VR. It’s fantastic to do this with Shola who has come through our training programmes at StoryFutures Academy. Our work will further interest in the project from future investors and be part of an important public debate on racial violence and the power of VR to affect peoples’ perceptions and emotions.”

Development Funding from the Academy has also been awarded to comedy producer Jon Aird working with writer Jeremy Dyson (League of Gentlemen), producer Lee Harris working alongside XR creator Michael O’Connor and Academy Award winning writer and director Benjamin Cleary (Swan Song), and producer Annalise Davis working with BAFTA and Academy Award winning VFX Supervisor Paul Franklin (Inception, Interstellar).

In addition to Violence, several projects have been selected for international film festivals and conferences including Fragments by NSC Creative and Atlas V, and Eternal Return by ScanLAB Projects and Lundahl & Seitl for SXSW, which was due to take place in March 2020. A preview of Glimpse was shown at the Venice Film Festival in 2019, starring Taron Egerton (Rocketman) and Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody). Platform releases include Fragments by NSC Creative and Atlas V on Magic Leap World, available now for download.

Rebecca Gregory-Clarke
, Head of Immersive, StoryFutures Academy says: “We are delighted to be supporting the Production Booster and Kickstart projects. For the Production Booster projects, their expertise in immersive production is invaluable to the StoryFutures Academy programme. The Kickstart cohort are embarking on their first immersive productions, a huge opportunity for established storytellers from the screen industries to learn new techniques and apply their talents to their first leap into immersive storytelling. It just goes to show what amazing work can come from strong collaborations which are given the space to develop original ideas, which we are really proud to support.”

The Production Booster companies will be sharing their knowledge of immersive production in the coming months through a series of online programmes for professionals from across the creative industries curious about immersive production. Previously launched online immersive learning materials include the StoryFutures Academy Masterclass series, inviting creators of immersive experiences including Vicki Dobbs Beck, Executive in Charge of ILMxLAB, the immersive entertainment division of Lucasfilm, director of BBC’s Dr Who: The Runway VR Mathias Chelebourg, and virtual reality pioneer Nonny de la Peña to deliver talks, which are available to stream via the StoryFutures Academy YouTube channel.

Since the open call in late 2019, eleven projects in total have been awarded funds. The Production Booster funding – up to £20,000 – supports advanced projects that are entering or already in production, which already have significant project funding or resource attached to them, and which offer important learning opportunities which can be fed back into the StoryFutures Academy programme. The Kickstart funding – up to £10,000– supports early-stage project R&D from previous StoryFutures Academy training programmes, and the creation of immersive proof of concepts across AR, VR, and MR platforms.


The Production Booster companies will be sharing their knowledge of immersive production in the coming months through a series of online programmes for professionals from across the creative industries curious about immersive production. Previously launched online immersive learning materials include the StoryFutures Academy Masterclass series, inviting creators of immersive experiences including Vicki Dobbs Beck, Executive in Charge of ILMxLAB, the immersive entertainment division of Lucasfilm, director of BBC’s Dr Who: The Runway VR Mathias Chelebourg, and virtual reality pioneer Nonny de la Peña to deliver talks, which are available to stream via the StoryFutures Academy YouTube channel.

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SELECTED PROJECTS

PRODUCTION BOOSTER PROJECTS

Fragments by NSC Creative and Atlas V
Contributors: Aaron Bradbury, Paul Mowbray, Antoine Cayrol

Fragments is a heartbreaking real-life testimony, volumetrically captured to allow the viewer to navigate the complex world of love, grief and memory in augmented reality.

Eternal Return by ScanLAB Projects and Lundahl & Seitl
Contributors: Matthew Shaw, William Trossell, Max Celar, Soma Sato, Manuela Mesrie, Jacques Pillet, Martina Seitl, Christer Lundahl, Emma Ward

Eternal Return is a choreographed, mixed reality exhibition exploring the future of memory through the delicate touch of an unseen performer and hyper connected objects.

Glimpse by Mr Kite
Contributors: Benjamin Cleary, Michael O’Connor, Lee Harris

A highly emotive visual feast, Glimpse is an interactive VR experience set in the imaginative mind of Herbie, a heartbroken panda.

Goliath by Anagram
Contributors: Barry Murphy, May Abdalla, Mike Golembewski, Anetta Jones, Xandi Adderley, Oliver Bancroft

Goliath is a powerful interactive VR experience following the story of a gamer who was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

KICKSTART PROJECTS

Fireworks by Wilder Films
Contributors: Paul Franklin, Annalise Davis, Steve Jelly, Steven Lally

Fireworks is a tense XR thriller set in an MI6 ops room merging live actors with cutting edge volumetric 4D characters.

Echoes of Crystal Palace by Thought Experiment
Contributors: Andrew Lancaster, Jessie Mangum, Adam Butcher

Echoes of Crystal Palace is an immersive AR experience using binaural sound, taking audiences back to the launch day of the extraordinary fountains in 1856, with Paxton’s gleaming Crystal Palace in the background.

Burning Room by Boydey Productions
Contributors: Jon Aird, Jeremy Dyson, Kim-Leigh Pontin

A virtual reality comedy horror in which you are the main character, sent on a journey to discover the truth about the suspiciously cheap luxury apartment you've just moved into.

Nudge by Grambo

Contributors: Grace Baird, Katharine Armitage, Paul Hayes, Alice Parsons, Kim Plowright

Nudge is a two-player virtual reality story-game which blends interactive gameplay and narrative storytelling to deliver an intimate shared adventure. With fun escape-room mechanics, intuitive play and full character embodiment, Nudge tells a rich story while breaking down the isolation of VR gaming.

The Young and the Dopeness by Zip-Line Productions
Contributors: Nosa Eke, Nell Whitley

The Young and The Dopeness is a fictional narrative AR feature film that follows a scrappy young child and a queer teen as they’re forced to grow up in the midst of turbulent events and social attitudes towards identity and gender, told through the lens of the unique subculture that is streetwear.

A Death by Midsadventure by Brass Mill Media
Contributors: Steven Lake, Catherine Allen

A Death by Misadventure is a VR memoir on the loss of a loved one. It is an exploration of the memories we keep, and the ones we choose to forget.

Violence by Zip-Line Productions and A Method Ltd
Contributors: Shola Amoo, Eleanor Whitley, Lanre Malaolu, Finn McNicholas, All Seeing Eye

Violence is a new virtual reality work recontextualising the notion of violence, by examining it through the lens of state oppression against marginalised and subaltern groups.


Quotes:

“This extra support from the Production Booster scheme has really allowed us to push the art form of spatial storytelling to the next level. Fragments harnesses the power of this transformative medium, changing the way we think and feel about the people around us. We are aiming to create a true spatial narrative with complex volumetric capture in augmented reality. An experience that blurs the line between the real and digital worlds, something that has not been explored yet.”
- Aaron Bradbury, Director, Fragments

"We had created a beautiful work but we were struggling to tour it. StoryFutures Academy funding enabled us to adapt the piece to be more commercially viable, opening up new audiences".
Matthew Shaw, Director, Eternal Return

"We’re so excited to be greenlit and back in production. The break has given us an opportunity to hone in on the script and push it up another notch. There is so much magic in here now. We're looking forward to showing the world."
- Michael O’Connor, Producer, Glimpse

"We are excited to be in production with Goliath; an important story that has the potential to drive social awareness around serious mental health issues using the immersive potential of new technologies"
-May Abdalla, Executive Producer, Goliath

“We are delighted to have the support of StoryFutures Academy in creating this first of its kind XR experience. Fireworks will combine Paul Franklin’s world class artistry and technical brilliance, with Steven Lally’s thrilling and funny script, and the ground-breaking technology of Dimension Studio’s Volumetric Capture."
- Annalise Davis, Producer, Fireworks

"We’re thrilled to be discovering all the exciting story telling possibilities that these immersive formats can provide."
- Andrew Lancaster, Director, Echoes of Crystal Palace

“It’s incredibly exciting that StoryFutures Academy is backing this crazy idea that is the narrative and technological merging of two topics I love to take deeper looks at: identity and streetwear. I wanted to make an unconventional feature film that was accessible to the people who reside in the culture that it was about and this funding helps unlock how we can utilise the technology to do that”
-Nosa Eke, Writer and Director, The Young And The Dopeness

"Having nurtured this project for several years, I'm delighted to receive funding from StoryFutures Academy to begin bringing it to life."
- Jon Aird, Producer, Burning Room

"Since being introduced to the potential of immersive story-telling, and funding by StoryFutures Academy, I've finally found the perfect medium for this important and personal story."
- Steven Lake, Director, A Death by Midsadventure

“This piece deals with subversion and perception, we challenge you to enter and share a part of yourself with us.”
-Shola Amoo, Director, Violence


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