New Zealand’s James Hurman features in New York digital storytelling festival

As augmented and virtual reality technologies continue to generate hype worldwide, it is exciting to be able to say that little ol’ New Zealand is right up there with the big league players!

In just a couple of weeks, AR/VR retellings of James Hurman’s The Boy and the Lemon will be in the global spotlight at the Future of Storytelling festival held in New York!

FoST is the world’s leading immersive storytelling event, held from 6-8 October in Snug Harbor, Staten Island, NYC. It assembles the very best interactive, cutting-edge storytelling experiences from around the world and brings them together for a festival filled with amazing exhibits, talks, performances, activities and more!

The Boy and the Lemon is a collaboration between author James Hurman and illustrator Juliet Burton, brought to life by M Theory – the specialist AR/VR division of Auckland-based creative innovations agency, Method. The story of Jack, a boy whose house is crushed by a giant lemon from outer space, is used to teach the magical lesson of being lucky. The virtual reality experience brings Jack’s adventures to life in a fully immersive environment by combining audio narrative and hand-painted pop-up illustrations. There is also an augmented reality version which is available via a downloadable tablet app. It overlays the physical book with 3-dimensional scenes, making the illustrations appear to be alive alongside the audio narrative. Both versions create a rich and magical story experience for both children and adults.

As the only New Zealand project at the festival, Sam Ramlu, managing director of M Theory said, “We’re very proud to showcase the creative and technical abilities to be found in the VR/AR industry here. This event is one of the most prestigious on the creative tech calendar, with just over 100 exhibits of work from around the world.”

Gabo Arora, one of the FoST organisers, award-winning filmmaker, and creative director and senior advisor at the United Nations experienced The Boy and the Lemon story in AR and VR earlier this year when he was in Auckland for the Story Edge World Exhibition and recommended the project for the festival.

It is exciting to see New Zealand prosper in this global digital storytelling scene and it’s an ironic reminder that with the right attitude you can make your own luck!