The ceremony is still 10 days away, but Oculus already has won the first-ever Emmy for a virtual reality-based original narrative, with the animated film Henry nabbing the award for Outstanding Original Interactive Program.
The short film, narrated by Lord Of The Rings actor Elijah Wood, is about a hedgehog who likes to give hugs to balloon animals. It’s not surprising that the film garnered critical acclaim for the Facebook-owned company — it was directed by Ramiro Lopez Dau, who contributed to films like Brave, Monsters University, and Cars 2.
“When we set out to make Henry, it was a step into the unknown world of making an emotional VR movie,” said Dau in a press release about the award. “While we didn’t know what the outcome was going to be, we were excited about the possibilities. We never anticipated that one of our first projects would be given such a distinction, and this recognition is not only a testament to our team’s creative and technical achievements, but also a validation for the VR storytelling community as a whole.”
With virtual reality tech slowly making its way into theaters — IMAX recently took delivery of its first (non-Oculus) batch of headsets for select theaters — more filmmakers are considering the immersive possibilities that come with VR tech. For Oculus, which is currently competing with HTC’s Vive for domination in the VR gaming arena, success in the film world is certainly a good thing.
Oculus is already planning its next film project, Dear Angelica, a story about a teenage girl who looks back on the stories her mother related to her as a child. It showcases immersive dream-like sequences throughout. The film was created using a new production tool that the company calls Quill, which allows artists to storyboard directly in VR, rather than using the typical flat canvas employed by most film studios.