The National Film Board of Canada (NFB), the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) and JustFilms | Ford Foundation have recently announced an experimental creative documentary lab for creators from Canada and the US, to support, explore and share virtual reality (VR) knowledge and experience.
The OPEN IMMERSION: A Virtual Reality Creative Doc Lab, which is due to begin on 11th, October 2016, will bring together six Canadian six American artists in CFC and NFB spaces in Toronto to explore the possibilities of VR as a storytelling platform. They are Scott Benesiinaabandan; Kevin Lee Burton; Danis Goulet; Nyla Innuksuk: Lisa Jackson; Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers; Kai Lumumba Barrow; Michaela Pilar Brown; Kimi Maeda; Tiona McClodden; Jacqueline Olive and RaMell Ross.
“The pairing of Canada’s top Indigenous talent with notable American artists from culturally diverse backgrounds will ignite a timely new discussion on point of view and representation in a new storytelling medium,” said Anita Lee, Executive Producer, English Program (Ontario Centre) for the NFB. “The notions of ‘reality’ and ‘truth’ have never been more nuanced with the expansion of new technologies, and therefore capturing and representing ‘reality’ never more interesting, especially in the hands of artists whose voices are not often heard in the commercial industry.”
OPEN IMMERSION has been designed to immerse the participants in both the theory and practice of creating immersive, interactive media and to push the creative storytelling process.
“The OPEN IMMERSION Lab is our first foray with the National Film Board of Canada and the Canadian Film Centre. Our goal is to create a corridor of opportunity for visual artists to explore VR technology as the aesthetics of this new platform are being developed,” said JustFilms Director Cara Mertes. “Even though it’s very early days for VR, we are seeing how it can give socially-engaged storytellers a powerful tool to create immersive experiences with the potential to disrupt the entrenched social narratives that contribute to inequality.”