Facebook Reality Lab has commissioned LUSTRATION VR, a new 4×6 minute animated VR series by writer/director Ryan Griffen, the creator of CLEVERMAN, for their Oculus TV platform. The series is based on the Gestalt Publishing comic series by Griffen and James Brouwer, and marks the first time that Oculus has invested in a Quill project from an Australian company, namely Nathan Anderson’s new immersive media studio, New Canvas.

The project has received principal production funding from Screen Australia in association with Screenwest and Lotterywest and with support from Screen NSW.

Nathan Anderson states, “We are so thrilled to announce this series is going into production. The LUSTRATION VR prototype came out late in 2020, just after we launched New Canvas. We got some great feedback from this prototype, and it is a tremendous credit to the team to be in production for our first series already”.

Still from a Lustration VR episode in production

Lustration VR is written and directed by First Nation creative Ryan Griffen based on his Gestalt comic series of the same name. Episodes will be written by Ryan and Nayuka Gorrie and are set in a world after death known as The Between. The series follows the unfolding of an incident that could change the course of the after-life as we know it. Each episode is told from a different character’s perspective and has the potential to be experienced from different vantage points, allowing the audience to build their own picture of the characters, the world and ultimately the story. The series will be created entirely in the VR painting and animation app, Quill, with industry leading artists Zoe Roellin and Lea Peirano onboard to help execute Ryan’s vision.

The LUSTRATION VR cast will be a combination of established and emerging talent who are based both in the United States and Australia. Currently attached are Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman animated series for the last 23 years. Also cast is Shakira Clanton, a proud Wongatha/Yamatji and Noongar/Gtija yorga (woman) who was born on Noongar Boodjar (Perth, Australia) and is Etowah Cherokee, Blackfoot and African-American on her father’s side. Shakira’s credits include Australian series Eden and Preppers.

Executive Producer, Goro Fujita, says, “I see VR as an amazing medium to tell stories in a completely new way. Ryan’s storytelling ability and his creative approach shows incredible potential for pushing the boundaries of VR narrative experiences. We are super excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with the New Canvas team and look forward to seeing how they are going to utilize VR native storytelling techniques to bring Ryan’s story to life.”

Still from a Lustration VR episode in production

Ryan Griffen is best known as the creator of the twelve-part high concept sci-fi series Cleverman about Aboriginal superhero Koen, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and screened at Series Mania in Paris. The series premiered in Australia on the national broadcaster ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), on Sundance TV and Netflix in the USA and on the BBC in the UK. In 2018, Ryan became the first artist in residence at Start VR, working with producers Nathan Anderson and Carolina Sorensen to create new narrative works supported through the Screen Australia Enterprise Ideas program. Ryan is currently writing two comic series, Cleverman and Lustration, for Gestalt Publishing, and has several feature film and television series in development.

“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to tell a story and build a world in VR. I grew up on animation and comic books, so being able to combine both in an immersive experience is pretty amazing,” states Ryan Griffen.

The production team is rounded out by producers Carolina Sorensen and Taryne Laffar, along with Wolfgang Bylsma from Gestalt, who acts as Creative Director and Executive Producer.

The full series is slated for release globally in 2022 for free on Oculus TV, available on Oculus Quest 2 headsets.

The LUSTRATION VR prototype is available now, and the comic series is available digitally through Comixology and in print at specialty comic retailers as well as direct from Gestalt.

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