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Program 2019

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CONFERENCE | ART | SOCIAL IMPACT

"Home After War" - using VR to document stories of war

Gayatri Parameswaran (NowHere), David Finsterwalder (realities.io)

In the presentation, Gayatri Parameswaran, director of "Home After War," talks through the process and challenges of creating the award-winning virtual reality experience. What were her responsibilities as a creator while telling a sensitive story of loss and taking her audience to a place of war? 

Home After War, which recently won the "Best Use of Immersive Arts" award at the SXSW festival, will also be exhibited at FMX 2019. This room-scale experience takes you to Iraq, where the war against IS has ended but the country is still unsafe. There’s one looming fear for returning refugees – booby trapped homes and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the neighbourhoods. Since the end of the war, thousands of civilians have died or been injured by IEDs.

Ahmaied Hamad Khalaf and his family returned home after the fighting subsided. In the VR experience, you find yourself in Ahmaied’s home, which still shows signs of the damage from the war.   ​Explore Ahmaied’s home, captured using photogrammetry, by either walking physically or teleporting in the space as he tells you about returning to a home that might be booby trapped. Witness life outside the four walls of his house through 360° videos embedded in the space. Hear Ahmaied speak of his loss and his hopes for his family, country and the world. Learn what it's like to fear the home you once loved.   ​

WARNING: This experience contains disturbing content. Viewer discretion is advised. It may not be suitable for people with photosensitive epilepsy or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Gayatri Parameswaran

Gayatri Parameswaran, Director, Co-Founder, NowHere Media, nowheremedia.net

Gayatri Parameswaran is an award winning immersive journalist from India who believes in the power of stories to transform. She co-runs a storytelling studio in Berlin called NowHere Media specializing in documentaries and social impact. Her work explores taboo topics such as war, peace, intimate partner violence and abortion, and she is most excited by using VR as a medium to create realities for a desirable future.   Gayatri has worked in over 30 countries, including Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Myanmar, India, Mexico, Nicaragua and the United States. Her work has been exhibited at the Venice International Film Festival, SXSW, United Nations, Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Bergen International Film Festival and beyond. Her journalistic reports have been published in Al Jazeera English, Deutsche Welle, Narratively, The Caravan and more. Her last piece “Home After War” was part of the Oculus VR for Good Creators’ Lab 2017 and won the Social Impact Media Award 2019 for Best VR Experience and the Jury Prize for Best Journalistic Achievement. Gayatri has been a Rise Up Fellow, a German Chancellor Fellow, an Erasmus Mundus scholar, and a gold medalist at University of Mumbai.  

NowHere Media is an award-winning immersive storytelling studio in Berlin that crafts virtual and augmented experiences. We work with media organisations, nonprofits and other partners to create impactful stories that inspire and engage global audiences. Our XR works have been presented at the Venice International Film Festival, SXSW, HotDocs, United Nations, Zentrum für Kunst und Medien (ZKM) and have most recently won the Best Use of Immersive Arts at SXSW 2019.  

We are an interdisciplinary team of storytellers, artists, technologists and producers obsessed with the opportunities offered by emerging technologies. As a boutique studio we value quality over quantity. For each project we carefully curate teams from a global network of professionals offering their skills to meet specific needs for immersive design -- photogrammetry, volumetric capture, animations or multisensorial installations.  

Our founders Felix Gaedtke and Gayatri Parameswaran have a background in journalism and documentary filmmaking and believe in the power of stories to transform.  

NowHere’s signature is telling untold stories -- breaking taboos and silences. We specialise in human rights, conflict, social justice and environment. From the war in Syria to chasing snow leopards in the Himalayas, we’ve worked in over 40 countries on four continents and are trained for productions in hostile and challenging environments.

David Finsterwalder

David Finsterwalder, Co-Founder, Realities.io, realities.io, realities.io

After a holistic study of Philosophy, Physics, Mathematics, Archaeology and Comparative Religion, David worked several years in Archeology, gaining profound knowledge in 3D scene reconstruction through UAV, ground based photogrammetry as well as LiDAR scanning. Driven by the question how to unlock the full potential of the gathered data he worked on visualizing 3D scanned data in VR and AR. Amazed by the immense possibilities of scene reconstructions combined with VR to teleport you to distant places he decided to dedicate all his efforts in immersive technology and founded Realities.io, an award-winning VR photogrammetry company.

FMX is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the City of Stuttgart and MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg, taking place in cooperation with the VES Visual Effects Society and ACM SIGGRAPH. FMX is an event by the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, organized by Animationsinstitut, hosting the Animation Production Days (APD), a joint venture with the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS).

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