Kaleidoscope has announced that a funding deal, secured via the platform, sees virtual reality (VR) series SPHERES become a record-breaking Sundance Film Festival reveal. The seven-figure deal, which neither distribution company CityLights nor Jess Engel, producer of SPHERES, are revealing the exact amount of, has set a new standard not just for VR, but for all film projects at the festival.
SPHERES is a three-part series in which users can explore space, and is set to debut on Oculus Rift later this year. Starring Jessica Chastain, SPHERES has been executive produced by Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel, and René Pinnell, produced by Jess Engel, Arnaud Colinart, and Dylan Golden, and co-produced by Jill Klekas Basmajian. The first episode, Songs of Spacetime, premiered last weekend as part of Sundance’s New Frontier programming.
“A little more than three years ago we started Kaleidoscope in order to help artists secure funding for original VR experiences,” states an official communication from Kaleidoscope. “At the time only a handful of brave souls like Arnaud Colinart, Aaron Bradbury, and Arjan van Meerten were venturing into this new medium. But their work showed us the potential of virtual reality and made us believe in the power of immersive art and entertainment.
“Virtual reality is still in its infancy, and while this deal marks an important milestone for our burgeoning industry, there is much work yet to be done. We need an order-of-magnitude increase in funding for innovative projects like SPHERES. And, over the next few years, this is the future we want to help create.”
“This is a historic moment for the VR industry; it signifies that a viable storytelling medium has emerged,” stated Engel to WIRED. “Deals like this establish VR as its own marketplace for independent creators, producers, and investors.”
As stated above, SPHERES is expected to debut on Oculus Rift later this year. After that, CityLights has plans to expand to other platforms. No details on what these platforms – nor the price that SPHERES will be offered to consumers at – are currently available. VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on SPHERES and other VR projects acquired by CityLights.