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PitchBLACK Forum: Immersive

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

1-5 p.m., ET

Black creative technologists competed for $75K

The winners of the 2022 PitchBLACK Immersive Forum are Tamara Shogaolu for 40 Acres ($50K) and Leonardo Souza for Rabiola Open Skies ($25K).

Black Public Media's PitchBLACK is the largest pitch event for Black, independent filmmakers and creative technologists in the United States. 

Black Public Media offered a $50K grant for an emerging-technology project that is in development or in production, and a $25K award to a second project. The jury watched six pitches from filmmakers and artists based in Brazil, Canada and the U.S. before choosing the winners.

 2022 PitchBLACK Forum: Immersive Award Winners

TShogaolu)2022

Tamara Shogaolu

40 Acres

LeoS

Leonardo Souza

Rabiola Open Skies

The Projects

Rabiola Open Skies

By Leonardo Souza

Forty Acres

by Tamara Shogaolu

Ancestral Archives

By Josie Williams

Wa’Omoni Rising

By Ngardy Conteh George

Cissie Gool House

By Dylan Valley

Hereborn Park

By Tony Patrick

Rabiola Open Skies

By Leonardo Souza

Rabiola Open Skies is an interactive VR experience about flying kites in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. The story opens in a kite shop in the northern part of Rio. Paulo, the old man who owns the store, welcomes us inside. He starts telling us why he fell in love with the magic of flying kites, and we travel back in time to his childhood to see this experience through his eyes.

Forty Acres

by Tamara Shogaolu

FORTY ACRES is an oral history journey of Black American farmers, land stewards and herbalists, and their evolving relationship to the land. For some Black people in the U.S., the land, particularly in the American South, has gone from being a space of forced manual labor on another man’s property to an opportunity for freedom through land ownership for young Black, LGBTQIA+ people. FORTY ACRES is the root of these stories, with each branch focusing on a deeper understanding of what land means to us, what laws and policies regulate land ownership and how these laws are applied, and lastly, what is the state of Black farmers and how, they and others, are fighting against climate change as it becomes more urgent.

Ancestral Archives

By Josie Williams

Ancestral Archives is a collection of chatbots that are created using the words of influential Black thinkers, leaders, and artists.  By building a collection of chatbots trained on the work of Black leaders, like Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and Octavia Butler, we hope to recontextualize and reintroduce their work to a new generation of critical thinkers, activists, and creators. The project primarily takes three manifestations: 1) Users actively engaging in one-on-one conversations with the chatbots, 2) passively observing conversations or performances between the bots, and 3) the creation of an archive to collect and preserve Black thought.

Wa’Omoni Rising

By Ngardy Conteh George

In this overstimulating world we live in, taking the time to be in the moment, to pause is a luxury. Wa’Omoni Rising Mindfulness is a relaxation and mindfulness experience to inspire and remind you to take a moment to enjoy the beauty around you. This experience takes you to the unspoiled and often unknown island of Barbuda, in the eastern Caribbean. Explore white sand, turquoise blue waters and deserted beaches, lush unique ecosystems and untouched breathtaking landscapes of Barbuda. Through gazed-based controls choose between a natural ambisonic soundscape, relaxing instrumental soundtrack or audio from elders sharing their stories and wisdom. You can activate a visual guide to assist with focusing on calm and focused breathing. As you spend time in each locale, you will gain an understanding and appreciation for Barbuda’s unique culture and precious environment currently at risk of drastic change. 

Cissie Gool House

By Dylan Valley

Cissie Gool House is a 360 documentary about a precarious housing occupation in an unused Cape Town hospital. When a group of activists take control of an abandoned hospital in a gentrifying neighborhood in Cape Town, South Africa, it sparks a conversation about race and spatial justice in the city. The residents, represented by three women, dream of holding on to the hospital and building something new and inclusive, while the powers that be try everything to get them out.

Hereborn Park

By Tony Patrick

Built as a collective expression of Black dreamers, Hereborn Park is a dedicated virtual XR space for jubilation and wholeness through the lens of an online, cosmic theme park.

Hereborn Park: Cosmic Circle is Hereborn Park’s first virtual web XR experience of cosmic proportions, where visitors skate through a portal of memory, pain, and struggle beyond time and space. Cosmic Circle introduces the first icon of Hereborn Park, Kasama—a Cosmic guide who grants wayward souls facing existential crises a skating experience to transcend painful memories and struggles. She delivers them into the abyss of joy beyond time and space, offering us a moment to love, heal, and restore our relationship to our own past.

The Pitchers

Leonardo Souza

Filmmaker

Tamara Shogaolu

Filmmaker & Creative Technologist

Josie V. Williams

Creative Technologist

Ngardy Conteh George

Filmmaker

Dylan Valley

Filmmaker/Educator

Tony Patrick

Writer/Artist/Worldbuilder

Leonardo Souza

Filmmaker

Leonardo Souza is a Brazilian filmmaker, who works both in traditional film and in virtual reality. Based in Rio de Janeiro, Leonardo has edited VR films such as the 360 VR documentary, Children Do Not Play War, which debuted at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, and Decolonize Your Eyes, which premiered in 2019 at the U.N. General Assembly.

He received an invitation from Dalberg Media to attend the 2019 edition of UNLEASH Innovation Lab, which was held in Shenzhen, China. Last year, Leonardo’s documentary, Um grito parado no ar [Unfinished Shout], debuted at The Black Cinema Meeting Zózimo Bulbul and was nominated for Best Documentary at the Human Rights Film Festival in Brazil.

 

Tamara Shogaolu

Filmmaker & Creative Technologist

Tamara Shogaolu is the founder and creative director of Ado Ato Pictures. She is an international director and new media artist who strives to share stories across mediums, platforms, and virtual and physical spaces in order to promote cross-cultural understanding and challenge preconceptions. With a track record in featuring her work at film festivals, galleries, and museums worldwide, such as the Tribeca Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the National Gallery of Indonesia, her innovative approach to storytelling has led to sources like The Guardian, Forbes Magazine and Vogue naming her as a leader in the field of new and immersive media. She was a 2018 Sundance Institute New Frontier Lab Programs Fellow, a 2019 Gouden Kalf Nominee, a 2020 Creative Capital Award Recipient, and a 2020 Sundance New Frontier John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grantee. Tamara was a Burton Lewis Endowed Scholar for Directing at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, where she graduated with an MFA. Shogaolu was also a Fulbright Scholar in Egypt, a Luce Scholar in Indonesia, and an Academy Nicholls Fellowship Semifinalist.

Josie V. Williams

Creative Technologist

Josie V. Williams is a multimedia creative technologist. Her practice involves experimenting with emerging technology, coding, and exploring cyborgian art forms as a medium of expression. She is influenced by radical techno-counterculture and technology as a liberatory tool based in indigenous knowledge. Black Public Media awarded her the 2021 Nonso Christian Ugbode Fellowship.

Ngardy Conteh George

Filmmaker

Co-founder of OYA Media Group, Sierra Leonean-Canadian Ngardy Conteh George is a two-time Canadian Screen Award winning filmmaker. She is committed to working with systematically excluded, and often unheard communities, especially those that represent the rich cultures and complexities of the African diaspora.  Most recently, she directed, co-wrote and co-produced TV hour Mr. Jane and Finch (CBC, 2019), winner of two 2020 Canadian Screen Awards.

Dylan Valley

Filmmaker/Educator

Dylan Valley is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and educator who views film as a liberatory tool. Currently a lecturer at the Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town, he also is a doctoral student in media studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. In 2013, he received a Pulitzer Fellowship from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, where he received his master’s in specialized journalism. In January 2020, his virtual reality documentary, Azibuye – The Occupation, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He also has served on the selection committee for the Frontlight section of the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

Tony Patrick

Writer/Artist/Worldbuilder

Patrick is a writer and artist who specializes in worldbuilding. His practice revolves around creating innovative and culturally abundant future worlds. In additional to being an immersive experience director and Today@Apple NYC Youth Program Mentor, he’s also the founder of the Tenfold Gaming Initiative (which brings underrepresented students to game design/tech careers), an NYU ITP/IMA professor, writer of a a series of published comics (Batman & The Signal, X’ed), and is an author/director of numerous screenplays, short films and documentaries (HBO, Cinemax, CBC).

The Pitch Schedule

1:00 p.m.  WELCOME

1:10 p.m. - WA'OMONI RISING

1:30 p.m. -  CISSIE GOOL HOUSE

1:45 p.m. - 40 ACRES

2:00 p.m. - 5 min break

2:05 p.m.  - HEREBORN PARK: COSMIC CIRCLE

2:19 p.m. - ANCESTRAL ARCHIVES

2:34 p.m. -   RABIOLA OPEN SKIES

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. NETWORKING

Meet with the individual project teams to exchange contact information, ask more questions, or share your thoughts.

 

All Times Eastern

The Pitches

The Pitches + Q&A

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