San Francisco's soon-to-be-shuttered Emmy-winning Oculus Story Studio, computerized paint strokes, and Geena Davis have come together to create a 12-minute virtual reality story that has consistently wowed reviewers.
"Dear Angelica" was conceived and created by art director Wesley Allsbrook who worked exclusively in Quill, a tool that allows artists to paint virtual reality while in virtual reality. Directed Saschka Unseld, the film is a ever-moving painting that tells the story a young woman named Jessica (voiced by Mae Whitman) and her memories of her mom Angelica (played by Davis).
Unseld explained to The Verge, "The beautiful thing about drawing is that it starts with a blank canvas and then out of nothing, an illustrator or painter creates something. And that wonder feels so conducive for VR."
"It's so beautiful, and with such an incredible, moving story," David told Haute Living about the finished product. "It just shows what the future of that medium is going to be, it's wide open for incredible experiences."
Davis, who is a member of MENSA, impressive archer, and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, generally hangs out on the cutting edge of her craft. Working in VR was right up her alley. "What I also find very exciting is that it hasn't been gender-biased yet," said Davis. "It's an opportunity to start off a brand new visual medium with equal participation of women. I intend to encourage it as much as possible."
She might be too late. "Dear Angelica" is currently available for download, but that's about it for Oculus. Facebook announced on Thursday that it is shutting down Oculus Story Studio and cancelling all of the studio's on-going projects. Facebook's Oculus launched the Story Studio in 2015 as an in-house VR production department.
"After careful consideration, we've decided to shift our focus away from internal content creation to support more external production. As part of that shift, we'll be winding down Story Studio," said VP of Content Jason Rubin.