Last week we were presenting updates on The Choice at the Vancouver International Film Festival - VIFF Immersed Volumetric Market. This event was organized together with the Kaleidoscope Fund.


This year's event brought back some of the projects that were pitching at VIFF 2019 so they could share how much progress they did since 2019. We shared our progress too, and it was truly enlightening to realize how much work we have done! Those recent months were truly busy for us, we've been doing amazing progress.


Below you can read a little bit deeper about what has changed and how we've progressed.


In early 2020 Jay W. Moore has joined as, just in time to help us through this very crazy and stressful trip to Austin, Texas. Do you remember? We were supposed to be there for almost 2 weeks and film a whole set of interviews. And then the COVID-19 pandemic started unfolding, and we found ourselves far from home, with the flights being canceled asap, and we had literally 2 days to leave the country. And we still needed to film some interviews... And we did! It was truly awesome, and the two interviews we have captured are extremely powerful, each for very different reasons.


Moving forward - in spring 2020 our team got even bigger, this is when Becca Little and Hannah Estes have joined us to work on the VR app development. I will not dive into the technical details here, let me just tell you: it's a true blessing to have them on board!


In May we received 2 grants from the Kaleidoscope community, winning in the Creative Challenge and the Femme Futures categories. This was amazing! And with that, we received a lot, a lot of wonderful messages from people stating how important The Choice is, and how powerful is what we aim to achieve using the VR technology to enhancing empathy. Thank you!


With these grants, we also got some truly great consultants: Asad J. Malik, Darragh Dandurand, and Paul Mezier. So now with every new edit or some milestone we achieve - we call them and hear their feedback and advice on our next steps. It's truly great to have their expertise.


The next step was... Well, there were a couple of next steps. Tom, Becca, and Hannah have been working on what I call with some umbrella-term: "app dev". Later on, we will have some blog posts explaining what their process has been. It's more technical, so we will probably put it on our company's blog here: Tribe Of Pan.


For me, I could finally start editing the interviews. I started with a story about medical abortion, an abortion performed for health-related reasons. Not many of us expect to hear stories like that when thinking about abortion. The pregnancy was planned, and the couple was waiting to have a baby -- picking names, toys, making the baby-room ready. They were even preparing for the baby shower. And then they were literally hit with some information about fetal abnormalities. Not one, multiple.


Very emotional, very powerful story. And a wonderful interviewee. But I will not reveal too much yet, I want you all to hear this story when it will be ready for you to watch.


With working on this interview, we also dived into creating a branching narrative. The Choice will invite the audience to have a conversation with women who had an abortion. To create this feeling of talking to someone, we are creating some dialogue elements: you will see some questions, select one of them, and the storyteller will then answer.


We have also started working on illustrations. The Choice takes place in a dark void -- so the distractions are blocked, you are not thinking about the outside world. We want the audience to focus their attention on the storyteller.


So why the illustrations? Let me quote Zoe Roellin, our VR artist:


"I have been brought on board to create illustrations that appear in the black space around the interviewees, both visualizing specific scenes from their stories and conveying the complex emotions they faced on their journey. In creating those illustrations, I am seeking a delicate balance between illustrating the stories told without overshadowing the words of the interviewees by using a flowing, sometimes abstract style. My intention is to build a strong sense of atmosphere and create scenes evocative enough to invite the viewer to take in those images but also think past them, and use their own imagination to connect with the stories told."


Zoe has already started working on the concept, and it is truly beautiful. I will introduce Zoe in a separate post soon so you can learn more about who she is and how she approaches VR storytelling with her illustrations.


That's all with the catching up. Since those 2 weeks when I gave the presentation -- we have done even bigger progress! Wow! Truly a great time for us! So many things happening! I am truly excited!


But I will tell you more - next time ;)


- Joanne

It's a great pleasure to let you know that we will be presenting about The Choice at VIFF Immersed - Volumetric Market this year. We will be sharing the progress since last year's edition, as we are getting closer to the official premiere. Yay!


Here is more information about the detailed schedule: VIFF IMMERSED 2020





Our presentation is a part of a bigger "One Year After: VIFF Immersed 2019 Throwback".


You will also hear from creators of "Ex Corpus "- Tristan Cezair, Andrew Macdonald, "Wallada" - Nathalie Mathe, "1991" - Akmyrat Tuyliyev, "Samsara" - Tobias Chen, "The 100%" - Andrew Cochrane, Brandon Zamel.


Can't wait to hear where they are with their work! And I very much wish we could all meet in person again, hopefully sometime in 2021.


For the live stream, please check Kaleidoscope's event page here: https://www.kaleidoscope.fund/event/viff-immersed-volumetric-market/allevents

They will be streaming the talks there, and there will be a link to Youtube unlisted stream.


The event is full of great talks and new XR projects will pitch like we were pitching last year. It's great that this year is full-on focused on the volumetric projects.


As Tribe of Pan, I (Joanne) and Tom C. Hall were invited by Kaleidoscope to curate this event and took part in selecting these projects. Yes, I do have some favorites, and keeping my fingers crossed for them! Some great ways of pushing the volumetric and XR storytelling there. Truly fascinating days are coming for the XR creative folks.


You will also hear the newest industry information and take part in panels by XR creators.


Day 1

The topics, amongst others, are Spatial communications and 3D stories, Lessons from a decade of Volumetric Capture, Spatial Storytelling (tune in to hear Asad Malik, creator of Terminal 3 and our consultant on The Choice - we are so grateful to have Asad advising us when we are designing our interactive story!).


Day 2

I am very much waiting for the session on and by Indigenous XR creators, and Volumetric production and distribution. We are deep in The Choice production these days and learning about distribution is what we very much are into now.



Now, some information where and how to watch - from the organizer's website:


The panels and presentations will be streamed, live on Kaleidoscope’s Youtube channel on September 28–29. We will send a link to those who register closer to the date of the event with further instructions on how to access the presentations.


The sixteen volumetric films will be exhibited on the Museum of Other Realities, which you can download the application on Steam here, on Oculus here, and on Viveport here (US$19.99).


What are the costs?


It is free to register and attend the VIFF Immersed Volumetric Market sessions on September 28–29.


The Museum of Other Realities app requires a US$19.99 fee for purchase. VIFF Immersed content within the app is free to access.


For more information, please visit this website.


Hope to see you there, very much can't wait to share some great news about The Choice!

From our newsletter, you can sign up for it here: The Choice Newsletter.


Hello everyone,


We are in a very deep focus with the work on The Choice. As you might know, we are concentrating our effort on having the first chapter released within the next couple of months. It will be one full interactive interview, with all the elements together: the sound, the spatial illustrations, and the music.


The last months were very busy - we were working on the edit. With the interactive story, we first needed to define the so-called “critical path”. A narrative base that everyone will go through. We will then build the branching narrative on top of that, but it was crucial to establish how the story unfolds first.


And I am very happy to tell you that we have finished this part, quite a milestone!


Our next steps involve moving it to an interactive environment. Our team has programmed it - I will not dive into more technical aspects of what they did (partially because I only understand that it works, not how and why 🙂). So some exciting days are coming, and even more work!


And while we are working - I have some readings for you. Yes, we had quite press coverage recently. This is great, it’s important for us to keep people engaged in what we do.


Here are the articles, two are in English, one is in Polish - so only some of you will be able to read those:


  1. VR Scout -- Powerful VR Documentary ‘The Choice’ Awarded Two Kaleidoscope Grants

  2. Liisbeth -- Liisbeth: Virtual Reality - leads new reality?

  3. GirlsRoom -- The Choice - interaktywny dokument VR poruszający kwestię praw reprodukcyjnych


I have more news to share, but I will keep them for the next time 🙂


I want to keep those messages a bit shorter and to send them more regularly. So, until the next time and thank you for your continued support of The Choice!


Warm hugs,

Joanne


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