April 15

Tyler Hurd Wins “Best Animated Experience” At Kaleidoscope World Tour 2016

Tyler Hurd’s exhilarating immersive dance party Old Friend just won the award for Best Animation at the Kaleidoscope World Tour. We think this is significant for several reasons. First, because it confirms our belief that Tyler is an important creative force in the world of VR – an immensely talented artist to pay attention to, and, in our case, to invest in. We are convinced that with Tyler this is merely the beginning of a refreshingly unpredictable and inspiring career. Tyler is what a virtual reality auteur looks like – part animator, part storyteller and something entirely new. It speaks to Old Friend’s immersive power that on the recent Kaleidoscope World Tour, the experience had people in headsets across the globe dancing with complete abandon in public.

We love what Kaleidoscope are doing to encourage both aesthetic and narrative innovation and, as they say, focusing on the “the artistry of VR.” René Pinnell, co founder of Kaleidoscope, says that after conducting high profile events around the world, they were thrilled to discover a thriving movement of VR creators in every large city with a creative class. “It was a hunch that we had, but we weren’t sure.”

We truly believe Tyler Hurd represents this vital new community in both it’s roots – indie gaming and filmmaking, a single artist with a strong creative vision  – and where it is heading – something defiantly new and potentially transformative.

“No one is making anything like what Tyler is doing. It really exemplifies what we think is so interesting about VR as an artistic medium”

René from Kaleidoscope explains, “No one is making anything like what Tyler is doing. It really exemplifies what we think is so interesting about VR as an artistic medium . He is a master animator.  Each of the characters he created in Old Friend feel like real emotive beings. He takes simple lines and turns them into living things. A Best Animation award in VR is like winning the best actor award. There is this moment in Old Friend when you look at the clouds, these sad floating things.  It’s really magical, you really feel like the characters are aware of your presence and engaging with you.  I think what he’s doing is really pointing towards the future of what animated VR should be.”

Like Kaleidoscope we first became aware of Tyler with his VR debut BUTTS.  And we were totally thrilled to help with his follow up Old Friend, an animated VR music video we like to describe as a vibrant psychedelic dance party brimming with joyful insanity.  Old Friend is set to premiere at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival.

Tyler Hurd in Japan with the Kaleidoscope VR World Tour
Tyler Hurd in Japan with the Kaleidoscope VR World Tour

For his part, Tyler says he moved from gaming into VR, in part,  to find a sense of creative control and his own artistic voice. What began as a distinctly solitary endeavor to capture the feeling he had partying with his friends has become that and something much more.

As Tyler states,  “Winning an award for your work is nice, obviously.  I was just chasing a feeling and making everything in the project fit within that feeling as much as I could, so I’m really excited that I pulled it off and that people actually like it.  People say it makes them happy, so yay!”

“I’m really happy that Kaleidoscope is out there creating awareness of cinematic VR . Because I don’t think people get really excited about it until they actually try it.  So it’s important to get as many people involved as possible at this time.”

Wevr co founder and Old Friend executive producer Anthony Batt, says, “We are constantly on the lookout for creative talent to further explore brave narrative stories in this new medium. Tyler represents the kind of unique talent that we admire and respect and we also want to support. We never doubted him and fully expect him to win many more awards.”

*An additional note, Wired.com just published an article entitled “Award-Winning VR Films Hint At How Far The Medium Will Go” that features Old Friend, calling it “gleefully bonkers.” Have a look here.