CityLights Buys Producer Darren Aronofsky’s
SPHERES In Record-Breaking Seven Figure VR Deal
It was announced this week that a new VR financing and distribution venture, CityLights, has acquired SPHERES, a three-part virtual reality series, directed by Eliza McNitt and Executive Produced by PROTOZOA PICTURES‘ Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel and produced by Jess Engel, Arnaud Colinart, and Dylan Golden. The acquisition marked the first ever seven-figure deal out of the Sundance Film Festival‘s New Frontier section.
The full series will debut on the Oculus Rift in 2018, after which CityLights will expand the distribution of the series. SPHERES was created with support from Oculus and Intel.
Secured on Kaleidoscope, a funding platform for immersive art and entertainment, the deal is the first ever seven-figure agreement for a virtual reality film brokered during the Sundance Film Festival, marking new territory for the burgeoning medium.
The first episode, Songs of Spacetime, narrated by Jessica Chastain, premiered this weekend in the New Frontier Section of the Sundance Film Festival. Songs of Spacetime invites users into the heart of a black hole to uncover the hidden songs of the cosmos. In this interactive VR experience, the breakthrough discovery of gravitational waves transforms how we see the Universe.
McNitt commented: “SPHERES explores the songs of the cosmos. Most people think Space is silent – it’s not. We’re excited for CityLights to help bring this experience to the world as we pioneer a new path to create and distribute immersive stories.”
CityLights co-founder Joel Newton added: “We’re incredibly excited to work with Eliza and the entire team on SPHERES. The ambition and generative nature of the vision for SPHERES perfectly fits with our mission to bring content to broader audiences and showcase the types of experiences only VR can deliver.”
The series, presented by Oculus Studios and Protozoa Pictures, features original music from Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of SURVIVE (Stranger Things) with sound design by Craig Henighan.
The SPHERES series is directed by Eliza McNitt, presented by Oculus Studio & Protozoa Pictures. It is produced by Jess Engel, Arnaud Colinart, and Dylan Golden in association with Kaleidoscope. Production companies are AtlasV, Crimes of Curiosity & Novelab and made with support from Intel.
Protozoa Pictures is Academy Award®-nominated director Darren Aronofsky’s production company. Founded in 1996, based in Brooklyn and headed by Aronofsky, partners are Ari Handel, and Scott Franklin. The company has first look deals with Paramount Pictures to develop films and Fox Networks Group to develop television. Credits include the critically-acclaimed films: mother!, Jackie, Noah, Black Swan, The Wrestler, The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream, and π. One Strange Rock is Protozoa’s first television project to be aired. The next feature film to be released is White Boy Rick, directed by Yann Demange, starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Eddie Marsan, Bruce Dern, Brian Tyree Henry and Jonathan Majors. It will be released by Sony Pictures.