The new initiative will help independent creators incubate original VR projects.
Originally started in 2015 as a traveling VR film festival spanning 10 cities in North America, Kaleidoscope has really come into its own this year. Much like we’ve seen this year with the increased global interest in VR, Kaleidoscope has grown into a 10 city world tour with stops like Paris, Berlin and Tokyo. Following this 2016 World Tour, Kaleidoscope also organized a Summer Showcase, hitting six cities, one of which we hosted with Kaleidoscope here in Los Angeles.
Now the team that has been showcasing independent VR projects and hosting events around the world is kicking off a new program to support creators in collaboration with Oculus.
On October 31, Oculus and Kaleidoscope will kick off DevLab, a new initiative to support independent VR creators by bringing together 28 VR artists from around the world to incubate new work, explore new ideas, and create the next wave of great virtual reality experiences.
For many VR artists, whether an experienced developer or a new creator to VR, the opportunity for hands-on workshops, mentorship, and exposure to potential investors can go a long way in empowering creators realize their immersive projects.
For the inaugural DevLab class, creators have been already selected, representing innovative artists who’ve either already produced experiences — such as Arnaud Colinart’s Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness and Ben Vance’s Irrational Exuberance — or are first-time VR creators with established careers in cinema like Josephine Decker and Julio Medem.
DevLab class members will work with advisors who have backgrounds in architecture, immersive theater, sound, and storytelling, helping to develop and prototype projects through hands-on workshops, live performances, and round table discussions. Creators will then go off on their own to develop a working version of their project to showcase.
“VR is a convergence of creative disciplines and DevLab will bring experts from a variety of fields to help expand the creative potential of VR,” said Yelena Rachitsky, Creative Producer at Oculus. “Big creative risks will push virtual reality forward, but to empower people to take those risks, we recognize that we need to provide support and encouragement to help an idea become a reality.”
“Our goal with DevLab is to support independent artists because they tend to break free from traditional ideas of storytelling and discover new ways to express the human condition with virtual reality,” said René Pinnell, CEO of Kaleidoscope.
DevLab concludes on December 2 with a Showcase event at Facebook headquarters, during which creators will present their projects for a chance to secure funding. Successfully funded projects will go into production in early 2017 and will be available on the Oculus platform. The team plans to expand DevLab next year and will open up submissions for the next class of creators.
The full list of 2016 DevLab creators include:
Aaron Bradbury is VFX Supervisor at NSC Creative, based at the National Space Centre in the UK. Over the past 9 years he has been working with immersive media and developing his own artistic approach to immersive filmmaking.
Arnaud Colinart is a Producer at AGAT Films & Cie / EX NIHILO. He is particularly interested in applying new technologies and interactive mechanisms in the conception of narrative works, whether documentary or fiction.
Balthazar started to experiment with virtual reality headsets at art school, exploring how to achieve a new kind of immersive storytelling experience. Eidolon, his first VR project, was released in 2011. In 2014, he founded Innerspace VR with Hayoun Kwon.
Ben Vance is a creator and collaborator who explores new technology, art and design. He has made games with Electronic Arts, small indie studios, and with hummingbirds on back patios, surrounded by succulents.
Daniël is an interactive illustrator based in The Netherlands. After working in the game industry for multiple years he decided to put his research on storytelling through illusions and his love for everything 3D into practice and apply it to VR.
Eliza McNitt is a writer and director of films and Virtual Reality experiences. Her work has been described by the New York Times as “beautiful and surprising.”
Elliot Cole is a composer, programmer, and “charismatic contemporary bard” (New York Times). His book of bowed vibraphone quartets, Postludes, evokes “sparkling icicles of sound” (Rolling Stone), and is a new staple of percussion repertoire, having been performed by over 150 ensembles all over the world.
Gabriela Arp is a producer and filmmaker passionate about visual media, new technology and immersive projects that strengthen the human connection.
George Michael Brower
George Michael Brower is a Brooklyn-based artist making interactive art. As the founder of Always & Forever Computer Entertainment,George practices a broad range of disciplines from animation to sound design and programming.
Harm Van De Ven
Harm van de Ven is an interactive art director at a company called Zesbaans, where they have been exploring VR, always focused on creating the best user experience for their interactive stories.
Hayoun Kwon is a repeat prize-winning artist and documentary director born in South Korea. Her work revolves around the notions of memory and the frontiers between reality and fiction.
Isaac Cohen has created an eclectic array of projects ranging from audiovisual fact-learning apps, interactive experiences made from recursive algorithms, to a real-time procedural music blogs.
Said to be ushering in a “new grammar of narrative” by The New Yorker, Josephine Decker aims to spark curiosity and wonder in audiences. Part of Time Warner’s 150 incubator, a recent alum of the Sundance Institute New Frontier Lab and one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, Josephine Decker premiered her first two narrative features at the Berlinale Forum 2014 to rave reviews.
Julio Medem is one of the most respected and strong voices in Spanish cinema. His beautiful film “Lucia y el sexo,” began the career of actress Paz Vega, and his most recent film “Ma Ma” has received rave reviews for Penelope Cruz’s astonishing interpretation of a woman surviving from breast cancer.
Kate Parsons is an educator, video artist and VR content creator living in Los Angeles. She obtained her M.F.A. in Media Arts from UCLA in June of 2015, and completed her M.A. in Digital Art and Video in May of 2013. She also holds a B.F.A. in Fine Art and Graphic Design.
Lily Baldwin is a filmmaker and dancer whose directing work has appeared at SXSW, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, V&A Museum London, Art Basel Miami, ShortsHD, Filmmaker Magazine, NOWNESS, Fandor, and BitTorrent.
Martin Allais is a visual artist, illustrator, animator and director. Experimentation and playfulness are key elements in his work, which strongly shines through in his finished pieces.
Mike Brett is a director, producer and co-founder of UK indie Archer’s Mark.
Milica Zec is a New York City-based film and virtual reality director, editor, and screenwriter. Her directorial debut in the virtual reality medium was a short narrative piece called, “Giant,” which premiered at Sundance Film Festival New Frontier 2016.
Michael is a graduate of Texas A&M with a masters in visualization. His thesis project, Bright Shadows, is an 11 minute animation that choreographs colorful abstractions to instrumental music.
Before jumping into VR Nick worked for a decade as Animator, Director and Editor with a diverse range of clients in Film, TV, Games and Marketing.
Nico Casavecchia is an Argentine director, screenwriter and illustrator. His work employs mixed media techniques ranging from animation to live action.
Patrick Juárez is the Chief Leadership Officer for District Room, leading the VR/AR/Immersive Experiences and Holograms for the Global unit based out of Paris and Madrid. Patrick is a facilitator and strategist with experience working as a producer and consultant with major companies such as Fox, HBO, Discovery Networks, MTV Films and Sky Channels.
Sara kolster is an independent interactive director and designer who specializes in digital storytelling. She is currently based in Amsterdam, graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven (cum laude) and the Sandberg Institute.
Sara Lisa Vogl has been completely obsessed with VR since the Rift DK1. Sara comes from a design and 3D Art background and taught herself the game engine Unity and some scripting skills to bring her interactive VR experiences to life.
Tyler Hurd is a 3D Animator & Filmmaker in San Francisco. For the last 12 years, Tyler has worked as a 3D Animator / Character TD / Tech Artist / Art Lead / General Supporter of the projects he’s contributed to.
Winslow Porter is a Brooklyn based director, producer and creative technologist, specializing in virtual reality and large-scale immersive experiential installations. With over six years of experiential work under his belt, he has helped create interactive experiences for Google, Delta, Diesel, Merrell and Wired, to name a few.
Zohar Kfir is a New York based media artist working with experimental video, interactive art and installation. Her artistic practice deploys non-linear narrative to cover a wide range of topics; from poetic meditations to documentary interventions.