‘Bourne Identity’ Director Doug Liman Explores VR with 6-Part Series for Conde Nast and Jaunt VR
Virtual reality presents an elemental challenge to visual storytellers: how can the narrative be effectively communicated in all its intricacies when the audience is free to turn away from the action? It also removes the ability to shape performances in the editing room, where, through careful selection and juxtaposition, a bad actor can be transformed into an award-winner.
But that very challenge can also entice to major filmmakers to come work in the medium, without the promise of a big payday or widespread distribution backed by a multi-million dollar ad capaign.
A case in point: Jaunt VR and Condé Nast Entertainment (CNÉ) announced today that they have teamed with director Doug Liman (“The Bourne Identity,” “Edge of Tomorrow”) and his 30 Ninjas production partner Julina Tatlock and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Melisa Wallack to produce “Invisible,” an episodic virtual reality action-adventure series.
Set in modern day Manhattan, the series unravels the secrets of a prominent New York City family, the Ashlands, blessed with a supernatural gift passed down through generations.
“This is a true confluence of creative and technical,” said Tatlock, founder and CEO of 30 Ninjas, in a statement. “Throughout this entire project, from development to the shoot, the technical and the creative teams have worked hand-in-glove. What can we write for VR? What tells the best story and how can we push the technology so that we break people’s expectations. Everyone else is concerned with defining the rules of VR. We’re fascinated with the invention.”
Scheduled to premiere later this year, the six episodes of “Invisible” were are being directed by Liman, Michael Litwak and Jerome Sable. They will be available via the Jaunt VR App on Google Play, iTunes and GearVR.
Founded in 2013 by Jens Christensen, Arthur van Hoff and Tom Annau, Palo Alto, Ca.-based Jaunt has raised more than $100 million in financing, capped by a $66 million Series C round last September led by Disney, CAA-backed Evolution Media Capital and China Media Capital. Jaunt has been Google’s preferred partner for all its 360-degree video and immersive content, creating the first wave of streamable 360-degree video ads for YouTube, and it has also worked on VR projects for media companies such as ABC.
A division of publishing giant Condé Nast, CNE has an online video network includes 19 individual brand channels with full programming lineups, as well as the digital video hub The Scene, featuring nearly 40 channels of programming from Condé Nast brands ranging from Allure and Architectural Digest to Vanity Fair and Vogue, as well as content partners including AOL, Billboard, BuzzFeed, College Humor, Major League Soccer, PBS Digital Studios, Red Bull, SoulPancake, The Onion, The Weather Channel, Variety and Warner Music. To date, CNÉ has produced more than 4,000 videos, which, according to the company, have delivered more than 2.7 billion views annually since the channels launched in 2013.