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SA and NT First Nations screen creatives take a deep dive into immersive storytelling with new Centralised VR Lab

30 March 2022
Centralised Immersive Storytelling Lab 2022

First Nations screen creatives in South Australia and the Northern Territory will learn new skills in immersive storytelling in an exciting hands-on workshop program presented by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), Screen Territory, Screen Australia’s First Nations Department and AFTRS Indigenous, with additional support from South Australian filmmaker Peter Hanlon.

Launched today as part of Centralised, a cross-state initiative to accelerate First Nations screen creatives in SA and NT with tailored funding, support, and development opportunities, the Centralised Immersive Storytelling Lab 2022 will take First Nations practitioners through the latest immersive storytelling technologies with expert guidance and mentoring, so they can devise and develop their own interactive virtual reality (VR) projects.

Led by interactive media and VR specialists Tom Millen and Mark Atkin of UK team Crossover Labs, the six-day residential workshop at the SAFC’s Adelaide Studios production facility and screen creative hub will offer places for 18 participants who will work in teams of three to produce a functioning prototype VR experience that could be shown as a “proof of concept” to future funders and investors.

London-based Crossover Labs are internationally celebrated VR and interactive media experts who have curated high profile immersive exhibitions and industry conference programs around the world, including CPH:DOX, Copenhagen; EyeMyth, Mumbai; the Bergen International Film Festival; Global Health Film Festival, Barbican; Sheffield Doc/Fest, and Electric Dreams at the Adelaide Fringe (2020-2022). They also produced the BBC’s first original VR commission Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel, and a series of cinematic musical documentaries that have been featured at MoMA in New York, and at London’s Royal Academy of Arts and The Barbican.

Tom Millen and Mark Atkin of the UK's Crossover Labs, image supplied
Tom Millen and Mark Atkin of the UK’s Crossover Labs, image supplied

Tom Millen and Mark Atkin of Crossover Labs said: “We are very excited to be working with First Nations artists and storytellers to develop new virtual reality experiences that can inspire, delight and inform people across Australia and the world. We are passionate about VR as delivering a strong sense of place, an emotional understanding and a sense of awe and wonder and we look forward to seeing how these artists will use these qualities to express their unique worldview and creative vision, while also forging a network of practitioners who can continue to collaborate in the years to come.”

Head of Screen Australia’s First Nations Department Angela Bates said: “We know there’s so much possibility for creating innovative screen content with these types of technologies and Screen Australia’s First Nations Department is excited to support this program which will allow creators to expand their skills in this space. We remain committed to fostering the next generation of First Nations storytelling through partnerships like this one.”

SAFC CEO Kate Croser said: “The SAFC is committed to supporting and amplifying South Australian First Nations voices and stories on screen in all its forms, from film and TV to VR, games and more. We are pleased to once again work with our Centralised partners to present this innovative and exciting program that will support First Nations creatives to explore new ways of storytelling, and new technologies to share their perspectives and cultural viewpoints with audiences both locally and globally. We are also grateful for the philanthropic support of filmmaker and former SAFC Board Chair Peter Hanlon in presenting this program.”

SAFC First Nations Screen Strategy Executive Pauline Clague said: “It is truly an exciting venture to have an expert team such as Crossover Labs work intensively with our First Nations practitioners. In one intensive week of creativity this program will lift the level of understanding of the impact that VR can have on our storytelling, and teach practitioners the processes to build their VR prototypes. We are really looking forward to the outcomes and journey for the filmmakers in the Centralised scheme as they learn to balance story and technology.”

Director of Screen Territory Jennie Hughes said: “Screen Territory is delighted to continue the collaboration with our Centralised founding partners to deliver this great new program for our First Nations screen creatives. Centralised facilitates opportunities for Northern Territory and South Australian First Nations filmmakers to collaborate and we are already seeing some exciting new projects being developed and new creative partnerships being forged.  We will no doubt see the emergence of more creative voices and collaborative partnerships resulting from this immersive story telling lab.”

AFTRS Director of First Nations and Outreach Dr Romaine Moreton said:First Nations peoples’ participation in digital media is fundamental to the future of media making in First Nations communities, and importantly acknowledges First Nations economic, social, and cultural rights. We are proud to be supporting this program, and to work alongside innovators in the digital media and cultural space to further strengthen First Nations peoples’ self-determination and storytelling autonomy.”

Running from 13-18 May, 2022 at Adelaide Studios, the Centralised Immersive Storytelling Lab will kick off with a free Immersive Storytelling Inspiration Day on 13 May featuring a half-day program of presentations by world-leading industry experts, open to all members of the South Australian screen sector. Find out more and register your attendance here.

Under the SAFC’s Adelaide Studios COVID-19 Safety Procedures policy all participants of this program at Adelaide Studios must be able to show proof of up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination on request.

Applications for the Centralised Immersive Storytelling Lab 2022 are open now, and close 29 April, 2022. 

For more information about the program and to apply online, go to


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