The Ark (Tribeca Film Festival 2016) is a revolutionary virtual reality project that puts viewers face to face with the last three northern white rhinos on earth.
Shot in California and Kenya, The Ark tells the parallel stories of the American scientists and African rangers who are struggling to protect and preserve the most endangered animals on the planet. The project is made possible by theTim Hetherington Trust, who awarded Jongsma + O'Neill the inaugural Tim Hetherington Visionary Award.
Download the Hulu VR App for Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift hereto experience The Ark today.
"This documentary allows viewers to get up close to the last surviving members of a critically endangered species, inventing a revolutionary new use case for VR in the process: The ability to revisit things that may not be around for much longer."
"Like Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams — a documentary that uses 3D to give viewers an approximation of what it's like to spend time looking at the 32,000-year-old cave paintings in France's Chauvet Cave, which has long been closed to the public — The Ark is poised to be a valuable cultural document in its own right, establishing a permanent record of an animal that's almost gone."
"O'Neill and Jongsma, the recipients of the Tim Hetherington grant, employ a ton of interesting aspects including a sci-fi-ish soundtrack and a totally innovative screen-splitting technique to bend reality in new ways. Expect more interesting things from these two in the future as we continue to experiment in the grammar of storytelling in virtual reality."
Shot in 10 countries over 4 years, the immersive documentary Empire (New York Film Festival 2013, SXSW 2014, IDFA DocLab 2014) is an epic investigation into the legacy of colonialism, and a one-of-a-kind multiplatform story experience.
A hidden synagogue in the mountains of Indonesia. A Dutch-style village in the Sri Lankan rainforest. A white separatist enclave in the South African desert.
These are a few of the communities brought to light in Empire, an Emmy-nominated, Webby-honored immersive documentary project that examines the still-unfolding legacy of Dutch colonialism. Empire employs a broad range of storytelling techniques—including nonfiction filmmaking, multi-channel video projection, and digital storytelling—to unearth the contemporary aftershocks of the world's first brush with global capitalism.
Empire installations have shown at cultural institutions on four continents, including The Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town; The Jogja National Museum, Yogyakarta; Khoj, New Delhi; WORM, Rotterdam; and The Roy and Edna Disney Cal Arts Theater (REDCAT), Los Angeles.
The interactive Empire website was nominated for an Emmy, honored by the Webbys, and is the subject of a long-form case study from MIT's Open Documentary Lab.
What Goes Up // Must Come Down
What Goes Up // Must Come Down (in progress) is a hybrid virtual reality/video installation about Taiwan's Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival.
Each year as the celebration for the Lunar New Year winds down, tourists converge on a village just outside of Taipei to launch thousands of lanterns into the night sky. They represent the hopes of their owners, and as they soar into the darkness they make for one hell of an Instagram post. But what happens when dawn breaks, the tourists leave, and those thousands of wishes fall out of the sky? Ingeniously weaving virtual reality and conventional 2D filmmaking, Jongsma and O’Neill fuse two discrete documentaries about the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival into a singular whole, and suggest that our dreams may have staggering, real-world consequences.
What Goes Up // Must Come Down was shot on location in Pingxi, Taiwan in February 2017 with support from the Eisenhower Fellowships USA Program.