|Nonny de la Pena - Winner of MY HERO Immersive Storytelling Award|
Contact: Wendy Milette FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NONNY DE LA PENA WINS MY HERO IMMERSIVE STORYTELLING AWARD
SANTA MONICA, CA – 11/25/15 – Nonny De La Pena, director of the film "Project Syria; An immersive Journalism Experience" is the winner of the new MY HERO Immersive Storytelling Award. This prize is bestowed on the filmmaker whose displays the most innovative and/or interactive storytelling through the use of emerging technologies to foster empathy and compassion. De La Pena uses virtual reality and 3-Dimensional environments to convey the sights, sounds and feelings that surround the civil war in Syria, which has displaced nearly half of the country's 23 million people. More than three million refugees have been forced from homes and into camps and makeshift housing. More than half of these refugees are children.
De la Peña’s films are 3 Dimensional reconstructions in which viewers experience the stories viscerally. She uses a mix of real footage and computer graphics, to place viewers in a calm Aleppo street minutes before a mortar attack.
“Nonny’s brilliant use of actual sound from historic events takes this innovative form of storytelling to a completely different level,” said Wendy Milette, director of the MY HERO International Film Festival. “I found myself personally engaged in concern for the children and women in the story and I wanted to help.”
De la Peña, an Annenberg Fellow at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, is CEO of Emblematic Group, one of the world's most sophisticated producers of virtual reality content, from Formula 1 racing to human rights stories. Emblematic builds immersive virtual worlds for the Oculus Rift and other customized virtual reality goggle and motion tracking systems.
Accepting her award at MY HERO’s 20 Year Anniversary Celebration, de la Peña thanked her two children, who were present in the audience, “for giving up their mom in order for me to make these stories. They put up with a lot of intensity.They really backed me,” she said.
She went on to say, “We have to stay open to the Syrians. When I made this film, one third of Syrians were displaced. Now more than 50% are displaced from their homes. Children and families, human beings like the rest of us. It’s more crucial than ever to spread the message that Syrians are welcome here at this time when so many people are trying to close their borders.”
The MY HERO Project began in August of 1995, when three mothers created a not for profit web project to shine a light on everyday heroes around the world. Jeanne Meyers, Rita Stern Milch and Karen Pritzker founded MY HERO with a mission of using media, art and technology to promote global understanding, life-long learning, human rights, environmental education and more. Today MY HERO is an award-winning online resource used by millions of teachers, parents and students in more than 194 countries.