Trans Youth Create Futures in Virtual Reality
Films linked at the end of the article for online viewing.
Films released 08/28/2018
Creative Futures is a short, virtual reality art documentary and 360º companion film that combine art, technology, and gender and sexual identity. It was co-directed by Scout Windsor, a 3D and virtual reality artist, and Dylan Paré, a virtual reality, STEM education, and gender and sexuality PhD student at the University of Calgary Werklund School of Education.
Funded by Telus Storyhive, Creative Futures was one of 13 films chosen out of over 165 entries for their first-ever immersive edition to receive $40,000 and mentorship to produce an immersive 360º experience and companion digital short.
Six original tracks were written and recorded by Sophia Marlow and are available on Soundcloud.
Creative Futures brings together three transgender youth to design their futures using Google’s Tilt Brush, a virtual reality painting application. The short, linear film follows the youth’s process of trying virtual reality art for the first time and creating 3D paintings of their visions for the future based on their current life challenges as trans youth. The immersive film transports viewers inside the imaginations of each youth artist as they give a 360° tour of their virtual reality art and share their stories.
Media about transgender and gender diverse people often depicts the harsh realities of a world that excludes those who do not fit gender norms. Raising awareness of the challenges facing trans people is important, but it can reinforce a public belief that trans kids have no future. Trans youth need to see a future for themselves and should be at the center of creating the stories that will shape that future. By working with trans youth in virtual reality to design creative representations of their ideal futures, these youth show us that another world is possible.
For a small, indie production, the linear and 360º films were a technical feat, requiring four high-end VR computers running simultaneously, as well as a mixed reality capture stage for real-time mixed reality shots of the youth working on their art. Unity and the Poly Toolkit were used to reassemble and animate the youth artists’ work before rendering out 360º video and compositing the green-screened youth into their art.
(Terrance and Levin on the green screen. Photographs courtesy of Tet Millare.)
The short linear film is available on Telus Optik TV On Demand, and both the linear and the immersive films are also online at the Storyhive YouTube channel.
Watch the films below:
Creative Futures Linear Film (10 minutes):
Creative Futures 360 Film (5 mintues):
Our original pitch for the Storyhive Immersive Edition Grant: