Last week the popular Sundance Film Festival took place, showcasing some of the best films from around the world. One of those in attendance was ZIKR: A Sufi Revival which VRFocus reported on just as the event took place. Now it has been revealed that documentary producer, sales agent and theatrical distributor, Dogwoof has purchased the immersive documentary.
Directed by Gabo Arora (Ground Beneath Her), produced by Jennifer Tiexiera, and created by Sensorium, Superbright, and Tomorrow Never Knows, ZIKR: A Sufi Revival premiered 19th January in the New Frontier section of the festival. The film takes four participants on an interactive, virtual reality (VR) journey into a world of ecstatic ritual and music in order to explore the nature of faith alongside followers of this mystical Islamic tradition. By opening up an experience to Sufism, dancing and singing alongside members of the Tunisian group Association de la Renaissance du Maalouf et du Chant Soufi de Sidi Bou Saïd, it aims to shed light on the religion, revealing an Islamic practice of inclusion, acceptance, art, joy and understanding.
The deal was brokered on the last day of the Festival by Dogwoof’s Andy Whittaker and Tomorrow Never Knows’ Nathan Brown. The agreement secures funding to support additional development, including an online version of the VR experience to bring multiple players into the experience from around the world.
Dogwoof will also look to global distribution with location based installations at high profile international cultural centers, cinemas and museums. This is the first public project for Tomorrow Never Knows, a newly formed VR/AR/AI startup founded by industry veterans Arora, Brown, Saschka Unseld and Tom Lofthouse.
“There is real demand and a growing market for distinctive storytelling in VR/AR,” said Brown, CEO of Tomorrow Never Knows. “To partner with Andy and Dogwoof, one of the world’s most acclaimed producers and distributors of non-fiction stories, is more than a signal, it’s a lightning bolt for the entire industry.”
“Andy and his team at Dogwoof, have proven themselves over and over with their work in traditional documentary. And, with their first VR acquisition with ZIKR, they will bring their same tenacious spirit to making sure more and more people can experience a story very pertinent to what’s happening in the world now,” said Arora. “I couldn’t dream of a better home for ZIKR or a better team than Dogwoof for global distribution. I am honoured to be joining their award winning catalog.”
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