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Pearl - VR's First Oscar Nominated Short Film 

  • By levi brocklehurst
  • 19 Jul, 2017

Google Spotlight Stories 'Pearl' is a real VR tearjerker. 

Pearl by Google Spotlight Stories
'Pearl' by Google Spotlight Stories

'Pearl' released in May 2016, is one of Googles Spotlight Stories where storytelling and VR meet. It just became the first virtual reality project to be nominated for an Academy Award, making it the first Oscar nominated film done in VR. This is Osborne’s second nomination. His first was for 2014’s short film “Feast,” which went on to win the Oscar for best animated short film the following year.

“Pearl” tells the story of a single father raising his young daughter. Her name is Sara. Pearl is the name of the car and their home, a beloved hatchback, Pearl follows a Sara and her dad as they crisscross the country chasing their dreams. It’s a story about the gifts we hand down and their power to carry love. And finding grace in the unlikeliest of places.


'Pearl' VR Animation
'Pearl' VR Animation
Over the course of five minutes, you see Sara grow up, sharing in her exuberance and, later, her angst from the front passenger seat. The film also makes wonderful use of its soundtrack. While the viewer remains fixed in place, it’s the soundscape itself that gives the film its sense of movement.
VR Animation 'Pearl'
VR Animation 'Pearl'

Pearl was shot in VR, and is available for HTC Vive, and Oculus. However, according to Osborne, the version that screened for Academy voters was cut into a more traditional film. That, for him, means it’ll be awhile before movies shot in VR get more mainstream industry attention. But it also makes him bullish about this new kind of storytelling.

It’s only a matter of time before VR technology advances far enough for it to become a major draw for both filmmakers and audiences. “The sky is the limit really,” Osborne says. “Experiencing a story in VR is fundamentally different than watching a film and the true advantages of telling a story this way have yet to be discovered. 

VR Animation Studio - Google Spotlight Stories
VR Animation Studio - Google Spotlight Stories

Google Spotlight Stories means storytelling for VR. Artists and technologists making immersive stories for mobile 360, mobile VR and room-scale VR headsets, and building the innovative tech that makes it possible. Enjoy the experience - look, listen, explore - and never worry that you'll miss anything.


'Pearl'

WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY

Patrick Osborne


CLIENT

Google Spotlight Stories


EDITOR

Stevan Riley


PRODUCTION DESIGNER

Tuna Bora


TECHNICAL ART LEAD

Cassidy Curtis


CREATIVE DIRECTOR, MUSIC & SOUND

Scott Blackwell Stafford


LYRICS & MUSIC

Alexis Harte


MUSIC

JJ Wiesler


MUSIC PERFORMED BY

Kelley Stoltz / Nicki Bluhm


MUSIC & SOUND

Pollen Music Group


CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Jan Pinkava


EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS

Karen Dufilho / Regina Dugan / Rachid El Guerrab at Google Spotlight Stories


PRODUCER

David Eisenmann at Google Spotlight Stories


PRODUCTION COMPANIES

Evil Eye Pictures / Google Spotlight Stories / Passion Pictures



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By levi brocklehurst 19 Jul, 2017

'Pearl' released in May 2016, is one of Googles Spotlight Stories where storytelling and VR meet. It just became the first virtual reality project to be nominated for an Academy Award, making it the first Oscar nominated film done in VR. This is Osborne’s second nomination. His first was for 2014’s short film “Feast,” which went on to win the Oscar for best animated short film the following year.

“Pearl” tells the story of a single father raising his young daughter. Her name is Sara. Pearl is the name of the car and their home, a beloved hatchback, Pearl follows a Sara and her dad as they crisscross the country chasing their dreams. It’s a story about the gifts we hand down and their power to carry love. And finding grace in the unlikeliest of places.


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