iAnimal: Virtual Immersion Into the Reality of Factory Farming

By Dr Toni Shephard, Executive Director (UK), Animal Equality

Paul McCartney once famously said ‘If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarians’… but of course they don’t, and most people remain unaware of the lives and deaths of animals raised for food. But now all that has changed with Animal Equality – a leading international animal protection charity – transporting people inside factory farms and slaughterhouses via virtual reality technology.

In 2016 we launched our iAnimal virtual reality project with the film ’Through the eyes of a pig’. It took 18 months to produce and features footage from inside pig farms in the UK, Germany and Italy as well as a slaughterhouse in Spain. In all of these countries, and most of the western world, the majority of pigs killed for meat are intensively reared inside barren, filthy factory farm sheds with breeding sows confined to tiny farrowing crates for weeks at a time when they give birth—a sight that moved Downton Abbey actor, Peter Egan to tears as he narrated the film.

“I have never seen anything as shocking as this in my life. It’s devastating, and completely inhumane. Virtual reality enabled me to experience, close up, for just a few minutes, the horror of the short lives of factory farmed animals, to see what they see, to get a real sense of how they live. It has shocked me deeply, and it has strengthened my resolve to help them.” –  Peter Egan, Downton Abbey Actor

The practices that take place inside factory farms and slaughterhouses are deliberately kept hidden from the public. Animal Equality believes people have the right to know what happens in modern farms and slaughterhouses so that consumers can make informed decisions about the food they buy. Now, through our cutting-edge iAnimal project, we can open up these secretive, sinister worlds and allow everyone to experience first hand how farmed animals live – and die.

Through the lenses of the virtual reality headset, viewers feel that they are inside the farm and slaughterhouse, trapped alongside all the other animals, and sharing their fate. You stand next to a mother pig while she gives birth for the sixth time to piglets who will soon be taken away from her. You experience the extreme confinement of the farrowing crates. You witness the daily suffering that takes place inside a pig farm. You are right there when they take their last breath.

Our second film, 42 Days, immerses viewers in the lives of the most abused animals on the planet – factory farmed chickens. From the crowding and suffering inside vast chicken sheds, to hanging on a conveyor as you approach the slaughterman’s knife, this powerful film puts viewers in the place of the chicken, allowing you to see life – and death – through their eyes. Amanda Abbington, star of Sherlock and Mr Selfridge, was so horrified when she narrated the film that she threw down a challenge – ‘You should watch this before you eat meat, because I don’t think you would eat it.’

Having personally filmed inside countless factory farms, I have always felt that if I could only take people there – into the farms – so they can see how animals are treated like mere machines, they would stop eating them. Virtual reality has now made this possible and we are bringing this experience to as many people as we can. It is changing, and saving, lives.

Over the past 14 months, we have toured the country with iAnimal, visiting university campuses and high streets where more than 30,000 people have dared to put on a VR headset and enter the world of farmed animals. iAnimal is also available to everyone on www.iAnimal.uk where you can watch the 360° film and take a virtual tour. Do you dare to watch it and see what the meat industry is hiding from you?

Join Toni for our Raindance VR Masterclass on Monday, May 22 to learn more about crafting VR experiences for social change and impact. Reserve your spot here

The post iAnimal: Virtual Immersion Into the Reality of Factory Farming appeared first on Raindance.


‘Shadowman’: How to Turn a Nearly Impossible Subject Into a Compelling Feature

What happens when your film’s protagonist shuts everyone out—including you?

When the Tribeca Film Festival was founded 16 years ago, it was intended to help celebrate New York City and revitalize lower Manhattan in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. As such, the festival always features some hometown tales—movies for New Yorkers and the people who love them. This year, Shadowman is one of those films. The documentary revels in the mystique of the gritty downtown early ‘80s art scene, the birthplace of now-legendary names Basquiat and Haring, and also of their contemporary Richard Hambleton, the «Shadowman» to whom the film’s title refers.

Filmmaker Oren Jacoby was born and raised in New York and lived in the Lower East Side when he was starting his film career. Describing the neighborhood during that period, Jacoby recalls, «You’d wander blocks and blocks and blocks and not see a soul,» but you would regularly see Hambleton’s expressive street paintings on the walls.

«You just have to keep going. You just have to be persistent. You have to let nothing get in the way.»

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No Film School

Teradek’s New App Turns Your iPad into a Director’s Monitor

The monitor giant doubles down on wireless technology.

Teradek made their first announcement from NAB earlier this morning and it’s a doozy. The three new products they’ve revealed make it evident they’re trying to simplify the wireless monitoring workflow for your entire crew.

The Serv Platform

Teradek’s Serv

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No Film School

Vimeo’s Deep Dive into 360° Video Education at NAB 2017

Will you be at NAB? Do you want to learn about 360° or VR video? Look no further than the Vimeo 360 zone.

We expect the theme of this year’s National Association of Broadcasters event in Vegas to be 360° video and VR. Vimeo has been taking an aggressive stance on the space, with its release of Vimeo 360 last month. On the floor in Vegas, Vimeo is trying to stay cutting edge by offering a slew of courses, panels and talks at their booth this year. If you’re at NAB this year and you have even a burgeoning interest in 360° video and OTT (Over the Top) content, this is the place to be.

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No Film School

The next Go Into The Story Read and Analysis Script: “Kubo and the Two Strings”

Read the script for the acclaimed animated action adventure movie.

In 2015, we launched several initiatives at Go Into The Story. One of the best: A script read and analysis series. As a result, there are now 65 scripts GITS readers have analyzed. Moreover volunteers have written up scene-by-scene breakdowns, not only to serve as a foundation for our week-long discussions, but also to create an online resource for writers. To date, we have 55 scene-by-scene breakdowns. Thanks to Nikki Syreeta, we’ll be adding a new one next week.

Beginning Monday, April 24, we will spend a week digging into and analyzing the movie script Kubo and the Two Strings, screenplay by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler, story by Shannon Tindle and Marc Haimes.

For those who may have missed this wonderful animated movie (current IMDb rating: 7.9), here is a great chance to check it out. You may download a copy of the script here. You may also watch the movie on Netflix.

Our daily schedule next week:

Monday: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
Tuesday: Major Plot Points
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

Finally allow me to use the words of one of Hollywood’s hottest screenwriters to bludgeon you over the head with the value of reading scripts. From one of my most recent interviews, Jon Spaihts responds to my final question, What advice would you offer to aspiring screenwriters about learning the craft and breaking into Hollywood? Here’s his answer:

Read the script and then watch the movie. Watch the movie and then read the script. Watch the movie with the script in your lap. Study the parts. You have to see through the surfaces. Being a fan is insufficient. Break it down. That means slowing it down and looking at it through a series of different lenses.

Once you’ve begun to do that, you can see what the parts of a screenplay and the parts of a movie do.

First thing Jon said: Read scripts.

Here’s your chance to do just that by digging into Kubo and the Two Strings and analyzing the story all next week.

See you tomorrow!

The next Go Into The Story Read and Analysis Script: “Kubo and the Two Strings” was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story — Medium

Baby ‘Moana’ Almost Didn’t Make It Into the Movie

baby moana

One of the most magical parts of Moana is the very first scene, in which an infant Moana waddles up to the shore and discovers that the Ocean is actually alive. Wordlessly, she coos and plays with the waves, and the waves playfully toss her about as well, leading her observing grandmother to realize that Moana is the Chosen One.

But that gorgeously rendered and enchanting scene almost didn’t make it into the movie. In fact, it was never meant to be in the final film at all, according to directors Ron Clements and John Musker. The scene was originally created as test footage, to see if they had the technology to render a sentient, alive Ocean. But test audiences loved the footage so much that the filmmakers had to find a way to put it in the movie.

Musker told the Huffington Post they wanted to explore the idea of a sentient Ocean before they even settled on the idea of making Moana. “And this test was the very first footage to be animated for this film,” Musker said.

Clements and Musker tapped story-artist-turned-director Chris Williams (who would go on to co-direct the Oscar-winning movie Big Hero 6) to create the sequence. Williams drew from his own personal experience of taking his two-year-old daughter to the ocean for the first time and watching her play with the waves, and a magical scene was born.

Williams boarded the test scene and — with the assistance of Moana art director/production designer Bill Schwab, who came up with the adorable toddler version of this film’s title character – put together just what Clements and Musker asked for. In fact, he did it a little too well. The original test footage (in the video clip below) was so popular with test audiences that Clements and Musker were constantly asked “Where does it fit in the movie?”

Hank Driskell, a technical supervisor on Moana, remembered the overwhelming success of the footage:

“At this point, that Baby-Moana-meets-the-Ocean test footage had kind of taken on a life of its own. It wound up being shown at the D23 EXPO. And even though it wasn’t even part of this film’s storyline at that time, it was so adorable and so many people had fallen in love with it that the story team eventually decided that they had to find a way to integrate this test footage into the story.”

But the scene didn’t fit with Clements and Musker’s original storyline for the film, which had Moana meeting the Ocean when she was a teenager. Musker recounted:

“For a long time while we were working on this movie, Moana didn’t actually ‘meet’ the Ocean, realize that it was a living thing until she was a 16 year-old. But the only problem with that Moana-meets-the-Ocean scene was that it wasn’t nearly as charming or powerful as that test footage that Chris had put together. We tried multiple versions of this introductory scene with Moana as a 16 year-old. But none of them were as good or as strong as what Chris had done.”

The filmmakers and crew struggled to organically fit the Baby Moana sequence into the movie. When they finally did, “there was this audible sigh of relief in the building,” David Pimental, Moana’s Head of Story said. “People here were saying things like ‘She’s in!,’ “It worked!’ It was such a good day.”

And we were blessed with an wonderful scene — in a year filled with adorable baby versions of beloved characters (Hey Dory!) — that elevated the film to become one of the best Disney animated films of the past decade.

Here’s the scene — in the international trailer for Moana — as it was shown in the final movie:

The post Baby ‘Moana’ Almost Didn’t Make It Into the Movie appeared first on /Film.


‘Bill Nye: Science Guy’ Filmmakers Pushed Everyone’s Favorite Science Guy into Extreme Situations

David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg pushed Bill Nye the Science Guy to extremes in this record-breaking documentary.

I first sat down with David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg during my first year covering SXSW for No Film School. They were premiering their first feature, The Immortalists, a doc profiling a group of eccentric and obscure scientists searching for the cure to aging. There was no bidding war over the film. No splashy Variety headlines for it. But it was a thought-provoking, well-told story.

I was thrilled to see them again at SXSW 2017 premiering their second film, Bill Nye: Science Guy (playing San Francisco International Film Festival this week). Their second film is bigger in every way: it’s a hero journey about scientist-cum-celebrity Bill Nye, it had the most successful Kickstarter campaign for a documentary to date, and it screened to sold-out crowds in huge SXSW venues.

«Boil your film down to one sentence, and every scene that you shoot, every scene that you edit, the whole macro story has to go back to that one sentence.»

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No Film School

How Producer Jared Ian Goldman Wills Indie Hits into Existence

Jared Ian Goldman of ‘Little Boxes,’ ‘Kill Your Darlings,’ ‘The Skeleton Twins,’ and ‘Loving’ has producing advice aplenty to share.

Jared Ian Goldman seems to be just the kind of producer you want in your corner. He has spent years doggedly shepherding beloved projects into the world, often moving from them very humble beginning to awards, critical acclaim, and even the kind of financial success that tends to elude indie films.

Goldman started his career at Miramax in business affairs and acquisitions. He then moved over to GreeneStreet Films, where he worked in production and development and learned how to schedule, break down scripts, and budget movies, “which was fascinating,” he recalls, “because you really feel the movie begin to come to life during that process. Then I started to understand, ‘Oh, there is a line here of balancing the creative with commerce.’”

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No Film School

Jimmy Kimmel rips into United Airlines with parody vid


While outrage over the United Airlines saga still climbs online, Jimmy Kimmel has delivered his hot take with a searing rant at the airline.

United is about to replace Pepsi as the most hated firm on the Internet right now, after videos of a man onboard one of its flights was filmed being dragged down the aisle with a bloodied mouth by security officers. 

«I’ve been to a hundred games and stadiums with 50,000 seats, they never sell the same seat two times to one person, but for some reason, airlines cannot figure this out,» says Kimmel. Read more…

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