October 13, 2016
The Entertainment Technology Center at USC, through its Project Cloud initiative, has selected filmmaker Christine Berg and writing partner Simon Shterenberg to receive the 2016 Innovative Technology Award for their AR/VR/Cloud-based project, “Wonder Buffalo.” Berg and Shterenberg developed the script at the Writers Guild Foundation’s Veterans Writing Program, which pairs military veterans with WGA film and television writers. “Wonder Buffalo” is the third short to be produced through ETC’s Project Cloud to explore and test next-gen production processes and technologies.
The film is a live-action coming of age story about a first generation Thai American teen who loses herself in her own imagination. The endeavor aims to bridge storytelling through film, alternate reality, virtual reality, and innovative tech platforms including the Cinema Content Creation Cloud (C4), an open source framework for content creation using remote resources.
Project supporters include Disney/ABC Television, Warner Bros., NAGRA Kudelski Group, Technicolor, Equinix, Sony Electronics, Amazon Web Services, and the Creative Visions Foundation.
As a research center and think tank within USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, ETC’s mission is to bring together leading visionaries to collaborate on the future of entertainment technology. From script to production of these shorts, the creative and tech teams work together to develop the story and integrate technology into the project, including best practices for incorporating AR and VR into the linear physical production.
Production designer and USC professor Alex McDowell (“Fight Club,” “Minority Report”), in conjunction with the USC World Building Media Lab, will oversee the AR, VR and mixed media for the project.
ETC Cloud project director Erik Weaver is the executive producer and Drew Diamond (“The Suitcase”) will serve as producer. Joshua Kolden, visual effects artist for “Fight Club” and previs supervisor for “The Day After Tomorrow,” is leading the C4 efforts. Emmy-award-nominated composer, Robert Lydecker, of “Sleepy Hollow,” will join the team to score.
The Innovative Technology Award is sponsored by ETC member companies and collaborators. Supporters of ETC’s two previous projects, the 2016 short “The Suitcase” and the 2015’s “Luna,” included Disney/ABC Television, Technicolor, Google and Equinix.
Christine Berg also wrote “Burning Sands,” along with director Gerard McMurray, as one of Netflix’s original feature films included in its expanding global indie strategy.