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Interactive and immersive works from the NFB’s Digital Studio, including Vancouver artist Paisley Smith’s latest VR experience. Vancouver-produced NFB virtual reality works Homestay and Biidaaban: First Light featured at VIFF Immersed.


September 14, 2018 – Vancouver – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Two new virtual reality experiences from the National Film Board of Canada’s trailblazing Digital Studio in Vancouver—Homestay and Biidaaban: First Light—will be showcased at VIFF Immersed, a public exhibition at the Vancouver International Film Festival dedicated to exceptional narrative storytelling in VR, augmented reality and mixed reality.

Homestay is being featured in VIFF’s BC Spotlight, which takes place September 29 through October 2 at two locations: on Saturday, September 29, in the BC Spotlight Showcase room at Emily Carr University; and from Sunday, September 30, to Tuesday, October 2, at the Hangar at the Centre for Digital Media.

Vancouver-born Homestay lead artist Paisley Smith will also be presenting an industry case study on her new work as part of VIFF’s New Realities in Storytelling conference, September 29, 2018, from 5:40 to 6:00 p.m.

Biidaaban: First Light is being presented at the Hangar at the Centre for Digital Media during VIFF Immersed, September 29–October 2.

Homestay (Canadian premiere)

Stunningly set in a paper-craft representation of the Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia, the interactive VR experience Homestay by Vancouver-born Paisley Smith, digital design and production agency Jam3 and the NFB Digital Studio explores one family’s story of life with international students—a look at how complete immersion in another culture can create a clash of expectations and change our understanding of family, hospitality, nationality and love. Written by Alison Broddle and Paisley Smith and narrated by Paisley, it’s a multi-layered experiment that incorporates the latest in VR technology, while signifying the failure of cultural symbols to fully represent people in all their complexity.

Based in Vancouver and Los Angeles, Paisley Smith was named one of the 10 filmmakers to watch in 2016 by The IndependentHomestay had its world premiere in November 2017 at IDFA and was presented on September 7, 2018, at London’s Open City Documentary Festival. Homestay was produced by Robert McLaughlin and Loc Dao and executive produced by Robert McLaughlin for the NFB.

Biidaaban: First Light (BC premiere)

Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square is flooded. Its infrastructure has merged with the local fauna; mature trees grow through cracks in the sidewalks and vines cover south-facing walls. People commute via canoe and grow vegetables on skyscraper roofs. Urban life is thriving—and so are the languages of the Wendat, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) and Anishinaabe (Ojibway), this land’s first peoples.

Biidaaban: First Light offers a chance for BC audiences to experience an extraordinary vision of Indigenous futurism, created by Anishinaabe artist Lisa Jackson, 3D artist Mathew Borrett, Jam3 and the NFB’s Digital Studio.

From September 18 to 24, Biidaaban: First Light is being featured in a public installation at Nathan Phillips Square, following its premiere at New York’s Tribeca film festival, earlier this year.

Lisa Jackson’s award-winning fiction and documentary films have screened at such festivals as Berlin, Hot Docs, SXSW and London BFI. Biidaaban: First Light will be presented later this fall at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, October 17 to 21. It was produced by Dana Dansereau and Rob McLaughlin and executive produced by Rob McLaughlin for the NFB.


Related Products

Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailers, synopsis: Biidaaban: First Light | Homestay

Associated Links

VIFF Immersed
Vancouver International Film Festival

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is one of the world’s leading digital content hubs, creating groundbreaking interactive documentaries and animation, mobile content, installations and participatory experiences. NFB interactive productions and digital platforms have won over 100 awards, including 21 Webbys. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.