Seattle International Film Festival Presents New SIFF 360/VR Award, Sponsored by Pixvana
We Who Remain Takes Home Top Prize
360/VR continues to expand the potential of storytelling within the film industry. As the emerging technologies that power these mediums have evolved over the past few years, the tools and techniques used to craft storytelling in these spaces have begun to evolve as well. Powered by WonderTek Labs, the 360/VR Storytelling Pop-Up at SIFF Lounge, presented by Vulcan Productions, welcomes all audiences to experience a selection of the best creative 360 and virtual reality storytelling content from Seattle and around the globe.
As part of the 2017 Festival, SIFF presented the first SIFF 360/VR Award, sponsored by Pixvana, recognizing excellence in virtual reality filmmaking.
The winner will receive $500 and the opportunity for the awarded film to be distributed globally through Pixvana’s SPIN Studio platform. This year, the jury’s decision was guided by three criteria: story, impact, and technical prowess. Jury members included Julia Fryett (Director of Marketing & Community Development, Pixvana), Kate Becker (Director, Seattle Office of Film + Music) and Sarah Wilke (Executive Director, SIFF).
In a statement the jury said, “We are pleased to present the SIFF 360/VR Award, sponsored by Pixvana, to We Who Remain, a film that intimately brings the viewer inside the heart of a forgotten conflict in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. Fusing elegant storytelling with sharp technical skill, the film weaves together narratives from a student, rebel soldier, journalist, and mother who have chosen to remain and relentlessly struggle to bring peace back to their land.” We Who Remain is produced by Emblematic Group and directed by Trevor Snapp and Sam Wolson.
We Who Remain
We Who Remain is the first character-driven VR film shot in an active war zone. It brings you into the lives of four people – a journalist, a student, a mother, and a rebel soldier – who struggle to persevere over the challenges of making their lives in an unceasing war. The film was created by Nuba Reports, a pioneering journalism initiative that produces films and news from the front lines of Sudan’s conflict zones, and Emblematic Group, one of the world’s foremost creators of immersive virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. It was produced in collaboration with NYT VR, AJ+ and Arte.
View the film here in your browser, mobile phone, or download the NYT VR app for iPhone/Android and experience on Google Cardboard, Daydream, or Samsung Gear VR.
Trevor Snapp (co-director) is a journalist, filmmaker, and VR producer. He is constantly experimenting with better ways to do international journalism. In 2012 he helped found Nuba Reports. He has spent a significant amount of time in the Nuba Mountains over the last six years of war, training and working with Nuba journalists to cover stories in the conflict zone. He currently serves as program director. In addition to producing and directing documentaries for VICE and AL Jazeera, he has photographed and written for Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Guardian, Stern, Le Monde and the BBC. He has covered coups in Honduras, the first days of the Libyan revolution, the liberation of Timbuktu, and the independence of South Sudan. His background is in anthropology.
Sam Wolson (co-director) is a photographer, filmmaker and VR producer, member of Agence VU’. He grew up on a flower farm in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, and he’s currently based in Berlin, Germany. In addition to assignments for editorial and corporate clients, such as The New York Times and Apple, Wolson pursues long term projects, often focusing on issues around marginalized communities and public space in the global South and across the United States.
NONNY DE LA PEÑA
Nonny de la Peña (executive producer) is founder and CEO of Emblematic Group. One of the of the most influential pioneers in developing virtual reality as a modern means of expression, de la Peña was named “The Godmother of Virtual Reality” by The Guardian and Engadget, while Fast Company acknowledged her as one of the people who made the world more creative for her groundbreaking work in immersive journalism.
Jenna Pirog (executive producer) is the virtual reality editor at The New York Times Magazine. She was on the team that launched NYT VR in 2015 and has produced 12 VR films for the Times, including The Fight for Falluja and The Displaced.
Ryan Boyette (producer) is the founder and CEO of Nuba Reports. He was working in the Nuba Mountains for a humanitarian organization when war broke out in 2011. He refused to pull out when the Sudan govenment banned NGOs, instead Boyette organized Nuba residents and began documenting the conflict – an effort that would later evolve into Nuba Reports. Boyette, who lives in the Nuba Mountains with his wife and two children, is the recipient of the 2014 Human Rights First Award.
Cassandra Herrman (producer) is an Emmy-nominated producer and director who has worked with PBS, Al Jazeera, the New York Times, MSNBC and National Geographic. Her films have screened at numerous film festivals, including SXSW and Sundance. Her work includes stories about immigration, the drug wars, child welfare, domestic homicide, and the intersection of music and politics. She has produced and reported in China, India, the Middle East, Latin and South America, and 17 countries in Africa.
Kevin Tsukii (producer) is the Immersive Video Lead at Emblematic Group. He oversees live action documentaries, productions and emerging technologies at the groundbreaking VR studio. He previously worked on VR projects as part of The Los Angeles Times Visuals team and designed graphics, photographed for Al Jazeera America.
The Nuba Reports team (production assistance) is made up of international and Sudanese journalists. They contributed to the film as shooters and translators. They remain anonymous for security reasons.
SIFF 2017 360/VR Program
SIFF 360/VR Storytelling Pop-Up
After Solitary by Emblematic Group / Cassandra Herrman and Lauren Mucciolo
Behind the Fence by Lindsay Branham and Jonathan Olinger
Eagle Bone by Tracy Rector
The Giant by New Media Ltd. / Mike Anderson, Ryan Dickle, and Abigail Horton
Journey VR by Eugene Capon
Love! A Virtual Reality Dance Story by Jess Kantor
The Ministry of Time by Future Lighthouse / Nicolás Alcalá
Potato Dreams by Mechanical Dreams / Wes Hurley (Work-in-Progress)
Say Our Name by State Media / Stina Hamlin
Silent Resonance by Pixvana / Scott Squires
Syzygy: Paul Taylor Dance Company by Andrew Asnes
We Who Remain by Emblematic Group / Trevor Snapp and Sam Wolson
All twelve films included in the 360/VR Storytelling Pop-Up at the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival will be available for viewing at the SIFF Lounge, presented by Vulcan Productions, Friday, June 9 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM and Saturday, June 10 from 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
On Saturday, June 10 SIFF will also be hosting a 360/VR Storytelling PlayTank where participants from the film and VR communities will engage with visiting artists and industry leaders who are pioneering storytelling through emerging technologies in breakout sessions and hands-on demos and workshops in this engaging, “unconference” event.