June 9, 2016 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
The virtual reality (VR) animated film Minotaur, directed by Munro Ferguson and produced at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), will have its European premiere at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival on Wednesday, June 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Salle de création in the Bonlieu cultural complex. Minotaur is part of the first set of VR screenings to be held at Annecy, the world’s largest event devoted to animation. The festival runs from June 13 to 18, 2016.
Minotaur, from film to virtual reality
The archetypal hero takes a journey through seven stages: birth, childhood, mission, labyrinth, monster, battle and death/rebirth. Through purely abstract, moving images, Minotaur conveys corresponding emotional states: calm, love, joy, surprise, fear, anger/hate, and death/rebirth, leading again to calm. Renowned Canadian composer Kid Koala’s haunting, contemporary score accentuates the hero’s quest for redemption. The VR producer for the project is Jelena Popovic. Michael Fukushima is executive producer and Eloi Champagne is technical director.
The Minotaur project was created in three different versions: First conceived as a 3D stereoscopic film, it is also available in 2D Dome (shown at the Société des Arts Technologiques in Montreal) and 360-degree VR formats. Through each stage of development and the process of adaptation to each format, the film’s raison d’être became more and more clear. Ferguson re-drew and animated some scenes so that VR users would have images surrounding them during the experience.
Ensuring that Minotaur could be easily accessed was a key goal: it can be viewed in a mobile version using the Samsung Galaxy S6 (or more recent versions) as well as the Samsung Gear VR headset, available at a modest cost. The mobile nature of the project allows it to be easily shown at festivals.
About Munro Ferguson
Born in New York City in 1960, Munro Ferguson took a very early interest in cartooning and film. In 1994, he joined the NFB English Program’s Animation Studio, where he wrote, directed and animated How Dinosaurs Learned to Fly (1995). He created Falling in Love Again, winner of the 2004 Genie Award for Best Animated Short, and June, an elegy for his close friend and mentor, artist Joyce June Wieland (1930‒1988). June premiered at the Art Gallery of Ontario and was invited to numerous international festivals and exhibitions, including SIGGRAPH. Minotaur is Ferguson’s latest project.
Annecy International Animation Film Festival
Online Screening Room: NFB.ca