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Google Working on VR Short Film With ‘Book of Life’ Director Jorge Gutierrez

The new animated VR film will be part of Google Spotlight Stories.

The Book of Life director Jorge Gutierrez is diving into VR with his first 360° animated short Son of Jaguar. The VR short is being developed with Google Spotlight Stories and revolves around Mexican wrestling and “the tradition and the responsibility of carrying on the legacy of your culture.” Gutierrez explained to THR. “In this political climate, I think it’s important to showcase other cultures in our work.”

Son of Jaguar is being produced in cooperation with Reel FX and is slated to be released next summer. Like Book of Life, which was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2015, Son of Jaguar is set in Mexico City on the Day of the Dead. A continuation on the idea of Book of Life, Gutierrez is bringing together much of the team that worked on his Golden Globe nominated animated film made with Reel FX.

Jorge Gutierrez (third from left) with the Spotlight Stories team.

Jorge Gutierrez (third from left) with the Spotlight Stories team.

Google Spotlight Stories has brought us some beautifully crafted VR shorts in the past with shorts like Special Delivery, On Ice, and the tearjerker, Pearl. Just last month, Spotlight Stories introduced us to Rain or Shine, an interactive animated 360° story that follows a little girl named Ella who takes her brand-new pair of sunglasses outside — only to find herself followed by a single cloud that dumps rain on her every time she puts on her new shades.

Spotlight Stories is a new type of storytelling made exclusively for mobile and VR. Yes — they are 360-degree videos, but on an Android phone there are interactive elements and “choose your own adventure” like story-telling elements. In the case of Rain or Shine, the short film has interactive elements, depending on where you place your attention, certain things can be influenced by how often you look at them. One example is a couple drinking in front of a pub, the more times you look at the couple, the more tipsy they get.

Reel FX is a digital studio based in Dallas, Texas and Santa Monica, California. The studio has run the gamut when it comes to developing VR experiences. Creating everything from a 360° tour of Shinola with Luke Wilson, motion capturing Maria Sharapova for American Express, bringing the desolate world of Hunger Games to life in VR, to training future Air Force pilots with a flight simulator.

Image Credit: Google Spotlight Stories

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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