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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

RAINDANCE IMMERSIVE STORIES (VR) AWARD WINNERS





HIGHLY ANTICIPATED 2018 RAINDANCE IMMERSIVE STORIES (VR) AWARDS ANNOUNCED

TRANSFERENCE CO-DIRECTED BY ELIJAH WOOD WINS BEST INTERACTIVE NARRATIVE EXPERIENCE

PROJECTS STARRING CHRIS O’DOWD, JOHN LEGEND, OPRAH WINFREY AND ALICIA VIKANDER ALL WIN PRIZES


LONDON, Monday 7 October - On Saturday evening at Vue Piccadilly, Raindance Film Festival, Europe’s leading independent film festival, announced the winners of Raindance Immersive Stories (VR) Awards, following a hugely successful, sold-out exhibition at the Raindance Gallery of Immersive Stories at OXO2.

Raindance VR Jury members included immersive storytelling visionaries such as Vicki Dobbs Beck, executive in charge of ILMxLAB; Curtis Hickman, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at THE VOID; Wesley Allsbrook, the artist behind Dear Angelica, one of last year’s winner of Best Animation Experience award; Jérôme Blanquet, director of Alteration, last year’s winner of Best Cinematic Experience award; Grace Boyle, founder and director of The Feelies, one of last year’s winners of Best Social Impact Experience award, and many more.

Psychological thriller game Transference, directed by SpectreVision (Elijah Wood, Josh C. Waller, Daniel Noah, Kyle McCullough and Lisa Whalen) and Ubisoft (Patrick Plourde, Sylvain Bernard and Christian Bedard), wins Best Interactive Narrative Experience while Crow: The Legend, receives the award for Best Animation Experience. Directed by Eric Darnell, and inspired by the Native American legend, it’s an immersive journey exploring themes of self-discovery, diversity and selflessness wherein the viewer plays a key role in the story of Crow, voiced by John Legend. Other notable cast members include Oprah Winfrey, Constance Wu, Liza Koshy, Tye Sheridan, Sarah Eagle Heart, Randy Edmonds and Diego Luna.

The Winner of Best Cinematic Experience is Dinner Party, directed by Angel Manuel Soto, about Betty and Barney Hill, an interracial couple who made the first report of a UFO abduction in America in 1961. Best Documentary Experience is Grenfell, Our Home, directed by Jonathan Rudd, a bold and innovative VR documentary, which combines survivor’s testimonies filmed in stereoscopic 360º video with computer-generated animation. Best Social Impact Experience is The Evolution of Testicles, directed by Ryan Hartsell for Male Cancer Awareness Campaign, a salty sweet VR piece starring Chris O’Dowd raises awareness about testicular cancer through laughter.

Chris O’Dowd says, “It feels terrific to win a Raindance Immersive Stories (VR) Award. It‘s exciting to be part of a new generation of filmmakers and a new medium. The potential that this medium has to have social impact is so important  - we’ve won for a film about men checking their balls!”

Best Music Experience is Chorus, directed by Tyler Hurd, transforms the viewer and five friends into fantastical female warriors and sends you on an epic journey to a faraway Tron-like fantasy worlds, while fighting to the visceral sounds of electronic music duo, Justice. Best Multi-Person Experience is The Apple, directed by Bin Gu, Kaoru Naito, Liquan Liu, walks the viewer through different stages of life whilst exploring the world of ‘The Philosopher’. British Award: Best UK Experience is given to Nothing To Be Written, directed by Lysander Ashton, an artwork inspired by musician Anna Meredith’s FIVE TELEGRAMS and drawing inspiration from postcards sent during the First World War.

The winner of Grand Jury Prize: Best Immersive Story is Arden's Wake, Tide's Fall, directed by Eugene YK Chung, featuring the voice of Academy Award-winner Alicia Vikander, this expansion of Penrose Studios's award-winning ARDEN’S WAKE embraces the art of long-form storytelling in Virtual Reality. Discovery Award: Best Debut Experience is given to Madrid Noir - Prologue, directed by James A. Castillo, where a detective named Manolo Monreal encounters a stray puppy named Paquita on the street.

“We are thrilled to recognise pioneering Virtual Reality experiences across a number of emerging genres in the medium. Reflecting the latest trends in the industry, this year we introduced three new awards, such as Best Multi-Person Experience, shining the spotlight on social VR experiences, giving audiences a taste of what the future of immersive storytelling will soon feel like; British Award: Best UK Experience and Discovery Award: Best Debut Experience, recognising first-time VR creators,” said Mária Rakušanová, Curator of Raindance Immersive Stories and Interactive Worlds.

The winner of the Spirit of Raindance: VR Film Of The Festival Award is 7 Miracles, the very first feature-length film in VR, a stunningly immersive adaptation of the seven miracles of Jesus Christ from the Gospel of John. 7 Miracles was produced by Vive Studios, and created by acclaimed team of producers and directors, Joel Breton (Pirates of the Caribbean, Unreal, Anno 1602, Terraria), Enzo Sisti (Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Passion Of Christ, Avengers: Age of Ultron), Rodrigo Cerqueira (Jesus VR: The Story of Christ) and Marco Spagnoli (Hollywood Invasion, Hollywood on Tiber, Walt Disney, and Italy – A Love Story).

Raindance Film Festival continues to champion creators who are pushing the artistic development of the new mediums of Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality. This year’s sold-out immersive strand, Raindance Immersive Stories and Interactive Worlds, was held between Thursday 4th - Sunday 7th October, allowed audience members to experience the latest advances in immersive storytelling by showcasing a selection of  33 experiences created by VR Awards nominees, split into dedicated areas for VR installations, and curated playlists presenting 360º films.



FULL LIST OF WINNERS

Best Interactive Narrative Experience
Special Jury Mention: Awake, Episode One

AWAKE: EPISODE ONE, directed by Martin Taylor, Australia, UK Premiere Harry is a prisoner in his own house and lost in his mind, obsessed with discovering the truth behind a recurring dream of his departed wife. And now there is a new presence in his world: you. Your arrival signals a life-changing event capable of saving Harry from his darkness.
Cast: Jake McDorman, Analeigh Tipton, Nicholas Hope, Alan Watts

Best Interactive Narrative Experience
Winner: Transference

TRANSFERENCE, directed by SpectreVision (Elijah Wood, Josh C. Waller, Daniel Noah, Kyle McCullough, Lisa Whalen) and Ubisoft (Patrick Plourde, Sylvain Bernard, Christian Bedard), Canada, USA, UK Premiere
A psychological thriller placing you face-to-face with a fractured family, as you freely explore their minds. Navigate a dreamlike home filled with secrets. Collect the evidence of a family's history to choose how you repair their lives. Learn the rules of a place bent on breaking them. Unlock the truth.
Cast: Lindsay Burdge, Macon Blair, Tyler Crumley

Best Animation Experience
Winner: Crow, The Legend

CROW: THE LEGEND, directed by Eric Darnell, USA, UK Premiere Inspired by the Native American legend, a fully immersive journey exploring themes of self-discovery, diversity and selflessness wherein the viewer plays a key role in the story of Crow, voiced by John Legend, who must give up everything he values to save his friends – or so he thinks.
Cast: John Legend, Oprah Winfrey, Constance Wu, Liza Koshy, Tye Sheridan, Sarah Eagle Heart, Randy Edmonds, Diego Luna

Best Cinematic Experience
Winner: Dinner Party

DINNER PARTY, directed by Angel Manuel Soto, USA, UK Premiere Betty and Barney Hill are an interracial couple who made the first report of a UFO abduction in America in 1961. After undergoing recorded hypnosis to recover memories of their experience, the Hills listen to the recording during a dinner party, and what they hear could change their lives forever.
Cast: Malcolm Barrett, Sarah Sokolovic

Best Documentary Experience
Special Jury Mention: Inside Tumucumaque
INSIDE TUMUCUMAQUE, directed by Ina Krüger and Patrik de Jong, Germany, International Premiere
Discover the unique ecosystem of the Tumucumaque nature reserve in Brazil from the perspective of its animals. Fly like a harpy eagle, swim with the black caiman and discover this magical world through the perception of animals as a sensual experience.

Best Documentary Experience
Winner:  Grenfell, Our Home
GRENFELL: OUR HOME, directed by Jonathan Rudd, UK
GRENFELL: OUR HOME is a bold and innovative VR documentary, which combines survivor’s testimonies filmed in stereoscopic 360º video with computer-generated animation. The film offers a powerful and original perspective on the Grenfell Tower fire and the community that existed before the fire. Cast: Gomes family, Alves family, Corinne Jones, Jason Miller, Lilian Alwa

Best Social Impact Experience
Winner: The Evolution of Testicles
THE EVOLUTION OF TESTICLES, directed by Ryan Hartsell for Male Cancer Awareness Campaign, UK, Ireland, USA, International Premiere Two parts humour, one part emotion, this salty sweet VR piece starring Chris O’Dowd raises awareness about testicular cancer through laughter. This project is part of the Oculus VR for Good Creators Lab, where filmmakers are paired with nonprofits to make great VR in the name of social good.
Cast: Chris O'Dowd, Andy Neill, Ali Shaw, Jay Holmes

Best Music Experience
Winner: Chorus
CHORUS, directed by Tyler Hurd, music by Justice, UK Premiere CHORUS transforms you and five friends into fantastical female warriors and sends you on an epic journey to a faraway Tron-like fantasy world. There, you will battle weird and treacherous monsters to save your species from extinction, while fighting to the visceral sounds of electronic music duo, Justice.

Best Multi-Person Experience
Winner: The Apple
THE APPLE, directed by Bin Gu, Kaoru Naito, Liquan Liu, China, Japan, Korea, World Premiere THE APPLE walks the viewer through different stages of life whilst exploring the world of ‘The Philosopher’. Each life stage is represented by distinctive styles of movement that are a metaphor for the human journey from beginning to end. Spatial compression algorithms were used to create this unique multi-person experience.

British Award: Best UK Experience
Special Jury Mention: Opinions
OPINIONS, directed by Alyssia Frankland and Kenneth Henderson, UK, World Premiere Modern society is obsessed with social media. Online platforms provide us with a constant unwanted stream of other people’s opinions. What happens when it all gets too much? Cabaret superstars Bourgeois & Maurice offer us a solution in this satirical VR music video.
Cast: Liv Morris, George Heyworth

British Award: Best UK Experience
Winner: Nothing To Be Written
NOTHING TO BE WRITTEN, directed by Lysander Ashton, music by Anna Meredith, UK, World Premiere
During the First World War millions of multiple choice postcards were sent from the front. Nothing was to be written on them, as communication was only allowed through prescribed phrases. NOTHING TO BE WRITTEN is an artwork inspired by musician Anna Meredith’s FIVE TELEGRAMS and drawing inspiration from these postcards.

Discovery Award: Best Debut Experience
Winner: Madrid Noir
MADRID NOIR – PROLOGUE, directed by James A. Castillo, UK, World Premiere It's a warm spring night in Madrid, 1929. A detective named Manolo Monreal, grouchy after a long day on the job, encounters a stray puppy on the streets. Will Manolo be enchanted by her cuteness and keep her safe from the dangers of the night?

Grand Jury Prize: Best Immersive Story
Winner: Arden's Wake, Tide's Fall
ARDEN’S WAKE: TIDE’S FALL, directed by Eugene YK Chung, USA, UK Premiere TIDE'S FALL continues the journey of Meena, a young woman living in a post-apocalyptic world and searching for her father in the depths of the ocean after his unexpected disappearance. Featuring the voice of Academy Award-winner Alicia Vikander, this expansion of Penrose Studios's award-winning ARDEN’S WAKE embraces the art of long-form storytelling in Virtual Reality.
Cast: Alicia Vikander, Richard Armitage

Spirit of Raindance: VR Film Of The Festival
7 Miracles
7 MIRACLES, directed by Rodrigo Cerqueira and Marco Spagnoli, USA, Italy, World Premiere
The world’s first feature-length immersive experience, 7 MIRACLES is a deeply personal story of Jesus and his seven miracles, based on the book of John.
Cast: Dejan Bucin, Ben Starr, Sara Lazzaro, Lorenzo Balducci, Cosimo Fusco