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Media X VR film wins film festival award

The first virtual reality film produced by University of the Pacific's new Media X degree program just claimed first place in the "Best VR" category during the 12th annual San Francisco Frozen Film Festival held July 18-22.

"A Yosemite Welcome" features a virtual appearance of the naturalist John Muir as he describes an encounter with a bear in what is now Yosemite National Park. The award is the second the film has won in Media X's inaugural year. It also received the Best Virtual Reality Award at last April's Earth Day Film Festival in Chico.

The San Francisco Frozen Film Festival is dedicated to creating avenues for independent filmmakers, youth, filmmakers of conscience and artists from under-served communities to come together and exhibit their work to the widest possible audience.

"Awards from events such as the San Francisco Frozen Film Festival show Pacific is gaining recognition as a center for VR storytelling," said Media X Program Director Kevin Pontuti. "It's exciting, considering the program just finished its first year."

Media X recently formed a partnership with the Silicon Valley-based production company VRnaculars, which creates virtual and augmented reality content. This summer, Pacific students are working with the company to produce a multiplatform virtual reality exhibition entitled Sustainable Productivity, which aims to engage, educate and energize visitors about the need for sustainable food production.

"This is a great opportunity for our students to get hands-on experience with a VR storytelling powerhouse, while making a difference in the world," Pontuti said.

Pacific has also announced a new film festival partnership program where Pacific staff and students provide technical services, content and curatorial experience to select film festivals and other events.

"So far, we've created partnerships with the upcoming Nevada City Film Festival and next spring's 2019 Earth Day Film Festival in Chico as well as the San Francisco Frozen Film Festival," Pontuti said. "It's an important part of our outreach efforts and larger goal of building a technology-rich innovative ecosystem in the central valley."

Pacific launched Media X, its new interdisciplinary digital media program, in fall 2017. It offers three pathways for students who want to pursue a career in the ever-changing media environment: maker, for students interested in creating content; manager, which focuses on creative entrepreneurship; or analyst, for students interested in data-driven decision-making.

Watch an excerpt of "A Yosemite Welcome."

Media contact:

Keith Michaud | 209.946.3275 (office) | 209.470.3206 (cell) | kmichaud@pacific.edu

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