START VR AND FREMANTLEMEDIA AUSTRALIA LAUNCH ‘WENTWORTH VR’ BASED ON PRISON DRAMA SERIES WENTWORTH
“Virtual Reality Experience Puts Viewers Behind Bars With Pia Miranda, Shot on ‘Wentworth’ Sets”
Sydney, Australia and Los Angeles-based virtual reality studio Start VR, in co-production with FremantleMedia Australia, put viewers into lockdown with Wentworth VR, a VR app containing two interactive VR episodes: “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Choose Your Side”. Wentworth VR is an extension of the critically acclaimed prison drama Wentworth, a global hit screening in over 140 territories.
This edgy Wentworth VR experience transports viewers to the confronting world of the Wentworth Women’s Correctional Facility where they experience a gritty, intimidating life behind bars alongside some of their favorite characters on the show. True to the world on screen, this experience is adult-rated content.
Wentworth VR marks FremantleMedia’s first step into the innovative VR space and is an official companion piece for Wentworth that mines the intense drama and confronting challenges of inmates in an uncompromising all-female prison. The series airs on Foxtel in Australia and is available on Netflix in the US.
Wentworth VR is available on Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard and Google Android Devices. It will also soon be available for iOS (Apple) devices. Wentworth VR is free to download and will include the first episode, “Welcome to the Jungle,” at no cost. The second episode, “Choose your Side,” is a premium episode that can be download separately for $2.99 USD/ $3.49 AUD.
Click HERE to download the Wentworth VR app.
In Wentworth VR, the viewer takes on the role of a new inmate being processed into the familiar Wentworth prison system alongside fan-favorite characters like Jodie Spiteri, played by Pia Miranda (Neighbours, All Saints, Looking for Alibrandi, Garage Days). Jodie serves as the Wentworth guide, offering her long-gathered expertise and insight as you navigate the dangerous and dark world of Wentworth Correctional Facility. This exclusive viewpoint draws viewers from the 2-D separation of the television show and into the world of the prison itself.
COO at Start VR and Executive Producer of Wentworth VR, Nathan Anderson notes, “Working with FremantleMedia Australia has been a fantastic experience for us. We are at a stage in VR where we are partnering with leaders in traditional media to find properties with mainstream appeal and collaborate on adapting screen grammar for the VR medium.”
FremantleMedia Australia General Manager of Commercial, Digital and Branded Entertainment, Zara Curtis notes, “This is our first global foray into VR and a first for extended narrative in the VR medium so we are experimenting with the commercial model of ‘freemium’ to give fans, and new Christmas VR purchasers alike, a true Wentworth experience. We are keeping the pricing low to prevent a barrier to entry though we are confident that people will be surprised at what the experience offers. We will add additional in-app product purchases available in 2018 to keep audiences engaged and coming back for more. We are really proud of our partnership with Start VR.”
FremantleMedia Australia’s Director of Drama and Executive Producer of Wentworth, Jo Porter, said “We are so lucky to have such a dedicated fan base for the show around the world. This VR experience is a unique chance for fans to literally immerse themselves into the world of Wentworth.
“It's exciting to see where this new technology can take the relationship between fans and a drama. While at the same time it's a opportunity to build new awareness and audience for the series itself via gaming and tech users who may find the show via this VR experience”
The episodes were shot over five days on Wentworth’s production sets and locations in Melbourne, Australia. The film crew combined experts from the main unit production team and custom VR crews for camera and audio.
Start VR CEO Kain Tietzel states, “Projects like Wentworth VR are proving that the medium of virtual reality is maturing quickly and that there is a growing appetite for content that is both interactive and cinematic. Our collaboration with FremantleMedia is enabling us to take an existing property and extend it in an innovative and meaningful way, that is worthy of its own merit. We’re excited to see how audiences will react to experiencing life inside Wentworth prison.”
Start VR has led the charge in interactive cinematic VR with such projects as VR Noir, an ongoing immersive detective series, and Atlas Obscura VR, a continent-hopping exploration of sites unseen across the globe. Upcoming projects out of the studio include a new interactive film project, Awake, due for release in 2018.
About Start VR
Start VR is an award-winning full-service production studio specializing in a new era of highly immersive and interactive cinematic entertainment. The studio brings vast expertise in entertainment and technology to fuse feature film-quality visuals with interactive content, creating original and branded, best of class narrative experiences.
Start VR’s expert team of interface designers, developers, artists, filmmakers and producers use proprietary techniques to create polished, critically acclaimed experiences designed to spark unprecedented levels of engagement and immersion. Since its inception, the company has been at the forefront of creative technology, pushing forward to expand the narrative capabilities of VR and immersive storytelling.
About FremantleMedia Australia
FremantleMedia Australia (FMA) is one of the market leaders in the creation and production of entertainment brands. FMA productions include the hugely successful Family Feud, Great Australian Bake Off, Grand Designs Australia, The X Factor, Australia’s Got Talent, Dancing With The Stars, Ready For Takeoff and The Farmer Wants A Wife; and original drama such as Wentworth, Neighbours, Hoges, Mary: Making Of A Princess, Wonderland and Better Man. FMA’s next highly anticipated drama will be Picnic at Hanging Rock.