Documentary filmmaker Gary Hustwit has announced the creation of Scenic, a virtual reality content studio that will produce original nonfiction documentary shorts and series for VR platforms including Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift. They’ll be released via the Brooklyn-based company’s website and app, along with exclusive distribution partners. “There’s so much focus on Virtual Reality as a technology, but VR won’t achieve mass adoption without great content,” said Hustwit in the announcement. “We’re collaborating with an incredible team of award-winning filmmakers to tell nonfiction stories in new ways, because we feel there’s so much potential for VR documentary that has yet to be fulfilled.”
The initial group of directors creating content on Scenic includes Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story, My Kid Could Paint That), Marshall Curry (Street Fight, Point and Shoot), Jessica Edwards (Mavis!), Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Norman Lear: Just Another Version Of You, Jesus Camp), Liz Garbus (What Happened, Miss Simone?, The Farm: Angola, USA), Sam Green (The Weather Underground), Dawn Porter (Gideon’s Army), and filmmaker/artist Lucy Raven (MoMA, Whitney Biennial, Park Avenue Armory). The filmmakers will tackle subjects ranging from the arts to politics, design, and science, as well as social issues, personal stories and more. Scenic plans to produce over 40 such projects over its first year, with the first slate of films to be unveiled this summer. Scenic is funded by private equity. In addition to producing original content, the company will be working with brands and organizations on commissioned VR films.