Filmmakers Team With Facebook to Test Limits of Virtual Reality, By Lucas Shaw

Canadian filmmakers Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphael rejoiced after trying on a prototype virtual-reality headset called the Rift three years ago.
The Montreal-based duo had been experimenting with immersive film installations, 3D and holographs. Now they realized the maker of the headset, a start-up called Oculus, had come up with just what they needed.

“It became clear the first time we experienced virtual reality that it was what we had been trying to achieve all of those years and what we would be doing for the foreseeable future,” Lajeunesse said in a recent interview.

The pair focused all their energy on the new medium, founding Felix & Paul Studios to create virtual-reality entertainment. They’ve attracted the attention of Steven Spielberg and President Barack Obama, along with project financing from Facebook Inc. On Thursday the two will introduce a clip from one of the most ambitious VR films ever made.

“Miyubi” is a comedy that places the viewer in the shoes of a Japanese robot given as a present to a young boy. Facebook, which paid $2 billion in 2014 for the company that makes the Rift, funded the project with Oculus and will show the teaser at Connect, an annual developer conference hosted by the company’s virtual-reality division.

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