The shortlist for the First Nations Media Awards has been announced, and the Best Digital Product category features two virtual reality projects representing West Australian stories and people!
In the running are Thalu: Dreamtime Is Now, directed by Tyson Mowarin in association with Frame VR, and Virtual Whadjuk, created by Brett Leavy of Bilbie Virtual Labs, in association with Periscope Pictures. These interactive local stories are joined by two other excellent projects, Waringarri Radio representing the East Kimberly, and inLanguage ICTV which shares Aboriginal community stories in 20 selected languages and language group.
Thalu: Dreamtime Is Now
Directed by award-winning Ngarluma man Tyson Mowarin, with concept art by Sutu (Mind at War, MIFF 2018), Thalu: Dreamtime is Now is a 20 minute, groundbreaking interactive VR experience that brings the mythology and cultural heritage of Mowarin’s people to life with the latest cutting-edge technologies.via Steam
As a spirit guide takes you to a vibrant underworld and introduces you to the traditional custodians of a land now threatened by the encroaching modern world – mining in particular – you will visit individual Thalu (sacred sites) for flora, fauna and the elements before continuing on to the world of Mingkala the Creator.
Virtual Whadjuk uses the latest in virtual reality technology by Oculus to send you back in time and space. Old maps and historical knowledge from local Elders and biologists has informed the accurate creation of the virtual world. Perth city has been superimposed as wireframes onto the ancient landscape to help place the user and to show the immensity of changes that have occurred.via Virtual Whadjuk
Virtual Whadjuk uses the power of Virtual Reality technology to immerse audiences in Whadjuk Noongar cultural and traditional activities before European Settlement. Overseen by the respected Whadjuk Noongar Elder Barry McGuire, and in consultation with the Vivienne ‘Binyarn’ Hansen, a Balladong Whadjuk Yorga woman with extensive knowledge of traditional medicine, the project embraces the traditional and contemporary values of local community, and uses new storytelling technologies to help share and maintain Aboriginal language, knowledge and culture. The interactive activities undertaken inside the experience, actively serve to teach new audiences elements of Whadjuk Noongar culture and language, and to emotionally connect them to Aboriginal culture in new ways.
A big congratulations to the creatives behind these projects, and best of luck in the awards! If you would like to see the finalists in the other award categories, or are keen to find out more about First Nations Media Australia, be sure to check out their website or give them a follow on facebook and twitter.