The 360 Filmmakers Challenge inspires the next generation of virtual reality creators by encouraging high school students to produce 360° films that make an impact. This is a story about “Raised by Charlottesville,” winner of the Complete 360° Award.

Facing their upcoming graduation from high school and departure for college, five students from Charlottesville High School in Charlottesville, Virginia set out to capture what makes their hometown special through their film, Raised by Charlottesville.

“The whole concept is centered on what it means to grow up in Charlottesville. […] The group was entirely seniors except for myself so the concept of someone coming back to Charlottesville after going away is a pretty personal concept,” says Maire, one of the film’s student producers.

Raised by Charlottesville illustrates how one’s relationship with home changes over time. The scenes alternate between a child’s point of view of Charlottesville and the point of view of her young adult self upon return to Charlottesville. Maire explains, “We wanted [the story] to have something to do with perspective because that is actually easier to convey with a 360° camera.”

The 360 Filmmakers Challenge was the first opportunity for the five students to create a film using 360° video technology. The production process allowed the group to develop a story while exploring how to use a 360° camera. “It’s important to not only introduce kids to new technology, but also give us the opportunity to learn how to figure out new technology ourselves,” Maire says.

This process allowed for more authentic collaboration within their production team. “It was a much more open-ended prompt than we had ever been given,” Maire adds, “so it felt much more creative and honest to what we wanted to make.”

For Maire, the Challenge also provided an opportunity for her to take a big leap as a musician. “Making this video was the first time I had ever played original music live for anyone,” she says. “So it was terrifying, but I did it and now over a thousand people have listened to it, which is just crazy. I was pushed out of my shell a little, but I was pushed with really great friends, and I won’t ever go back!”

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About Elyse Gainor

Elyse Gainor is a Project Associate with Digital Promise Global.

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