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StoryFutures Academy Funds VR Violence

Shola Amoo’s new virtual reality work re-contextualises the notion of violence, by examining it through the lens of state oppression against marginalised and subaltern groups.

[dropcap style=”font-size:100px;color:#992211;”]S[/dropcap]toryFutures Academy, the UK’s national centre for immersive storytelling, announces the recipients of development funding for UK immersive productions, in a total investment of over £140,000.

Violence, an artistic collaboration between NFTS graduate and director Shola Amoo (The Last Tree), producer Nell 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 – 26 June.

The new virtual reality work re-contextualises 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 rebellion by oppressed groups against draconian political and social systems. Through the user’s 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.”

Violence trailer

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, 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 people’s perceptions and emotions.”

Since the open call in late 2019, 11 projects in total have been awarded funds. Production booster funding 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. Kickstart funding 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.

Image: Shola Amoo, Violence, 2020

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