I have always believed that VR or its cousin 360 videography do not have to be full of bombast to make their entrance into the broader audience. In fact it is often the quieter, more nuanced experiences that truly underscore the power of this medium and it relationship with presence. Shivani Mulekar’s “Sanctuary” is one such piece – exploring the conditions of life for a refugee family in Canada and the simple day to day life living in a Church awaiting their fate.
These spotlights are designed to not only accquaint you with the stories themselves, but also the people making them, whose journey often as interesting as their work. Shivani Mulekar is a researcher and talent scout. She works independently sourcing stories and developing TV show concepts. Prior to being a VR filmmaker, Shivani worked with TV networks in India creating award winning TV series. She holds an MFA degree in Documentary Studies from Ryerson University. Sanctuary is her first project in VR.
Marie-Espérance Cerda is an award winning video producer (NextMedia DigiAward, Montreal Remix NFB-INA Prize Winner) and an accomplished photographer. She completed Ryerson’s Master of Media Production program, where she produced two immersive and interactive 360-degree virtual reality video journalistic reports. She has worked in West Africa with organizations such as Abode Youth Projects and throughout Canada as a video journalist for The Canadian Press, exploring the stories that make up cultures.
FIVARS had to opportunity to interview Shivani in advance of the world premiere of Sanctuary at FIVARS 2017:Tell us what inspired the creation of your project?
Tell us about how the production came together
Sanctuary was self-funded. It was made on a meagre budget and Vinit Rajan provided complete funding in-house. My friend Marie-Esperance generously supported me by sharing her camera as well as agreed to be the cameraperson for this project. I managed post-production independently. I learnt to stitch and used AutoPano to stitch the images. Editing was completed using Adobe Premiere.
What did you discover in the process of making this piece?
The biggest discovery during this process for me was realizing the importance of VR and its impact with spatial storytelling. 360-cameras change your complete perspective and take you way beyond the traditional rules of filmmaking. This filmmaking process was such an eye-opener in terms of what a technology can do to your storytelling and how it can impact in immersing your audience.
What would love to try next?
I would like to merge VR with AR to present my next documentary. I was exposed to the AR world of holoportation. If given an opportunity, I would like to develop my next project in VR and merge it with AR for its exhibition.
Do you feel there is a need/value to festival like FIVARS? Or will they eventually become a part of the regular entertainment landscape?
I believe festivals like FIVARS have a strong value in today’s VR market. The festival not only creates a breeding ground for upcoming VR artists to collaborate and exchange ideas but it also offers an opportunity to share each other’s work. Exchange of ideas is key for the future of VR.
FIVARS Runs Sept 15-17 2017 at House of VR in Toronto, Canada
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Manimal Sanctuary is a lurking simulator.
Title: Manimal Sanctuary
Director: Jim Munroe
Producer: Sean Lerner
Production Company: Postopian Games
Set on the Toronto Islands after the rest of the world is devoured by gibbering monstrosities, you eavesdrop on the survivors and their everyday dramas involving things like bad potato crops and graffiti tags. And if those mundane emotions aren’t filling enough, you can always uncover some devastating secrets…
City of Ghosts is an interactive, 360-degree mobile augmented reality film experience that allows users ̶equipped with a smart phone, tablet or AR glasses, to interact freely in real space with life-size 3D virtual characters ̶all within an elaborate scenario and even across several locations. City of Ghosts invites visitors to make a journey through time to relive a story of love, death, ghosts and technology ̶all in glorious augmented 3D animation mixed with real places.
Title: City of Ghosts
Director: Olivier Asselin
Country: Canada | RT: 45m
Production Company: CieAR
In City of Ghosts, you find yourself at the beginning of the 20th century in the middle of a criminal investigation. Your spectroscope (tablet) will help you solve the mystery and the circumstances around the death of La Stilla, one of the most famous sopranos of the Belle Époque.
The spectroscope is a ‘magical device’ that will give you special powers and help you be an active participant in City of Ghosts. When sufficiently “magnetized”, your spectroscope allows you to see haunted places ghosts and the aura of objects, to resuscitate the past, interact within scenes, unlock hidden auras and see things that nobody else can see. During the experience, participants of all ages are invited to discover your city and explore different real venues such as theaters, museums, historical and cultural locations and other places of interest.
Your interactive adventure within City of Ghosts introduces you to a cast of haunted characters including Oberlin Pfleumer, a mad scientist and inventor of a revolutionary and mysterious machine that allows you to capture and relive past events. You’ll also meet William Anderson, La Stilla’s fiancé, and Baron Henry Gordon, the wealthy businessman so desperately in love with La Stilla, vicar Nazaire Bruchési, Jeanne Lambert, the mad woman, and Mme. Blavatska, the clairvoyant.