Storyhive funds four Vancouver VR and 360 video film projects

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      For budding directors looking to create their first video masterpiece, it’s not easy to scrounge together the cash to make a movie. Even the shortest films can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and budgets can drain in just a few days behind the camera.

      Nowhere is the issue of financing more true than for those working in emerging or experimental mediums like VR or 360 video. Early adopters battle with more expensive equipment, and spend as much time problem-solving as they do filming a scene. With no established techniques to consult, much of a shoot is exploratory and time-consuming—and time, of course, is money.

      Telus’s initiative Storyhive aims to solve that problem. A funding body set up to support original stories told by filmmakers from B.C. and Alberta, Storyhive also offers expertise, training, and exposure to new audiences. While its past projects include familiar areas like music videos, shorts, and animation, the organization recently launched a program to recognize and fund filmmakers to produce a 360 video experience alongside a traditional linear film.

      After nearly three months of submissions, the company has announced the winners of the competition. Instead of the projected 10, Storyhive will fund 13 immersive projects. Each team will receive $40,000 in production grants, and customized advice and training for perfecting their skills in the medium.

      True to the city’s expertise in creating first-class VR, AR and 360 video content, four of those victorious proposals come from Vancouverites.

      Overlooked by Christian Sherden tells the tale of a mysterious murderer who targets homeless people in central Vancouver, using first-person storytelling to showcase the points of view of five different witnesses to the crimes.

      First One in the Water by Ken Tsui is a documentary that explores the duality of Raymond Kwong, the first Chinese-Canadian lifeguard in B.C. Combining an immersive video of the swimmer twisting in the water with a linear short of his life on land, the film looks at the different facets of the important local figure.

      BeatiBot by Vincent McCurely examines whether artificial intelligence can understand happiness. By creating a hovering robotic assistant, McCurely amusingly examines the ethics of how an AI goes about delivering happiness, how long that happiness lasts, and whether to prioritize short-term happiness over long-term happiness.

      Boreal Tales by Daniel Beaulieu is an animated story that follows a school newspaper photographer who documents odd events that occur throughout a small Canadian town. Focusing on creating an immersive sense of place and the chance to explore rich locations, the film puts the viewer in the mind of a Stranger Things-esque adolescent.

      All the projects will be completed in Fall 2018, and can be viewed on Telus’s TV on Demand, and on the Storyhive website.

      Follow Kate Wilson on Twitter @KateWilsonSays