Last year, Samsung launched their Gear Indie challenge as part of an effort to nurture emerging and independent VR filmmakers. The idea behind the “There in 60 Seconds” challenge was to call upon filmmakers to create a 360-degree piece of VR content that would transport viewers to a place that is special and unique to them in 60 seconds or less.
The call went out and we have been waiting patiently to find out what winners would be chosen by Samsung’s Gear Indie mentors, which included three established VR filmmaking professionals – Jason Rubin, the head of Worldwide Studios for Oculus, Nancy Bennett, the chief content officer at Two Bit Circus, and Anthony Batt, the cofounder and executive vice president of Wevr.
Samsung has just announced the winning videos today. And for all the Gear VR users out there, the winning videos are featured on the Gear Indie channel on Samsung Milk VR. The winning submissions not only get a $10,000 prize, but will be available to view at the Samsung Studio during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Congratulations guys!
The winners of the “There in 60 Seconds” Gear Indie Challenge (no particular order):
(Kiira Benzing of Double Eye Productions), Ridgewood, New Jersey
Peek inside the enchanted studio of Brooklyn-based stop motion animator Danielle Ash.
“Ghats on the Ganges”
(RYOT), Los Angeles, California
Join RYOT in 360 VR as they flow down the shores of the Ganges River and walk along the steps of its numerous Ghats. These Ghats have held spiritual and cultural significance for centuries as spaces where people worship deities, bathe, and cremate the dead. Ghat cremation ceremonies hold profound spiritual importance, as the dead are officially released from the process of earthly reincarnation. Strolling alongside these cultural sites gives you a unique insight into the rich history of India and its people.
(Spliced Films), Hollywood, California
After being cut from the ballet, a young woman stays late at the theater and dreams of her perfect performance. The film is shot in 360 2D as a virtual reality experience. It is also mixed in 3D 5.1 surround sound that plays directionally in relation to the users head position.
(Panomalna aka Moses Bravo), Austin, Texas
Your Gear VR goggles just teleported you to beautiful Budapest, the capital of an Eastern European country. As you tour the city, you come across something odd on the bank of the Danube river: sixty pairs shoes made of iron. As you stop to investigate, you get teleported again. Now you are at the same place but back in the winter of 1944. You are one of the many Jews the local Nazi party herded to the riverbank. You live in a ghetto during the past few month, you are scared, hungry and cold. You fill one of the shoes. To your left and right your wife and children the others. Facing the river you hear gunshots and your family members are killed one by one. One last shot, and your life is over. Fortunately the nightmare ends and you are back to present day Budapest. What will you learn from your dream? Will you stand up against hate, persecution and discrimination?
“The Survival Tree”
(Jenna Watt), Los Angeles, California
Shortly after moving to LA to pursue her music career, Paige’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Devastated by the news, Paige decided to make a “Prayer Box” and hike her prayers for her mom to the highest point she could climb. Paige has now hiked to this spot over a hundred times.