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NZFC explores storytelling in a virtual world

Two Australian artists working at the cutting edge of storytelling in virtual and augmented reality will visit New Zealand later this month to share their experiences of working in immersive environments. 

Acclaimed artist and filmmaker Lynette Wallworth and multi-disciplinary writer/producer Mike Jones, will visit New Zealand from 17-20 March for a series of workshops with the New Zealand industry, exploring the potential of narrative in immersive environments through the New Zealand Film Commissions future-focused programme GPS2026.

Lynette Wallworth, renowned for her virtual and augmented reality installations and films was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of 2016’s “100 Leading Global Thinkers.” Her most recent virtual reality narrative Collisions, developed through the inaugural Sundance Institute New Frontier – Jaunt VR Residency is a virtual reality journey to the land of indigenous elder Nyarri Morgan and the Martu tribe in the remote Western Australian desert. The work documents Nyarrii’s first contact with Western culture in the 1950s, when he witnessed an atomic test first-hand – a dramatic collision with his traditional world view.

In 2014, Wallworth’s feature documentary Tender won the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award for best televised documentary and in 2016, Wallworth was awarded a UNESCO City of Film Award and the Byron Kennedy Award for Innovation and Excellence.

Mike Jones is a writer, script-editor & creative producer working across screen, page & interactive media. He was co-creator of the virtual-reality detective-thriller VRNoir: A Day Before the Night with Sydney-based company StartVR, and is lead writer of upcoming speculative fiction VR drama, Awake: First Contact. He previously lead story development for multi-platform company, Portal Entertainment, and developed interactive projects for WarnerBros. Mike serves as script producer with the ABC, and is regular story consultant and collaborator with boutique TV production company SweetPotatoFilms whose recent success was the multi award-winning mystery drama series, The Kettering Incident.

The New Zealand Film Commission is partnering with the NZ VR/AR Association, Te Papa Tongarewa, Victoria University and the Maoriland Film Festival for four days of workshops, masterclasses and talks about the power of storytelling using virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) in locations around New Zealand.

The workshops run in
AUCKLAND – Thursday, 16 March
6:00-8:30pm – Sir Paul Reeves Theatrette, AUT/Colab, 2 Govenor Fitzroy Place, Auckland
Register here ($10 for Guild Members/$15 non-members)

WELLINGTON – Friday, 17 March
Te Papa Talks Virtual Realities (talks, networking and displays)
6:30-8:30pm – Te Papa Soundings Theatre, 55 Cable Street, Wellington
Tickets  $20 Guild members/$25 Public  

MĀORILAND FILM FESTIVAL – OTAKI – Saturday, 18 March
Lynette Wallworth will be in the Storyteller’s Tent (at 5 Rangatira Street, Otaki township) between 12:30 to 2:30pm along with Nyarri’s grandson Curtis Taylor who also narrates Collisions. This session is limited to 20 participants and is on a first come, first served basis. Curtis Taylor will present a workshop on Collisions at Māoriland Hub on Main Street Otaki Township at 10am -12 on Saturday 19 March. Find out more.

DUNEDIN – Saturday, 18 March
Masterclass – Concepts of Narrative VR with Mike Jones (followed by networking)
2-4pm   Petridish, 8 Stafford Street, Dunedin
Register here ($10 Guild members/$15 non-members)

CHRISTCHURCH – Sunday, 19 March
Masterclass – Concepts of Narrative VR with Mike Jones (followed by networking)
1:30-3:30pm   Epic Centre, 76/106 Manchester Street, Christchurch
Register here ($10 Guild members/$15 non-members)

WELLINGTON – Sunday, 19 March
Masterclass – Immersive Storytelling with Lynette Wallworth  
1-3pm – TE PAPA, Mahuki Innovation Hub – meet in the main Te Papa foyer by the rolling ball and a Te Papa staff member will take you to the room
Tickets ($15 Public)

WELLINGTON – Monday 20 March
Masterclass – Concepts of Narrative VR with Mike Jones
1-2:30pm – TE PAPA, Mahuki Innovation Hub – meet in the main Te Papa foyer by the rolling ball and a Te Papa staff member will take you to the room
Tickets ($15 Public)

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