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VR for Good: Introducing Our 2018 Creators Lab Participants
Oculus Blog
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Posted by Oculus VR
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June 13, 2018
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Last week, we brought together rising content creators, inspiring nonprofits and NGOs, and some of the brightest minds in the VR industry for Oculus VR for Good’s 2018 Creators Summit—the official kick-off of our annual Creators Lab program. Now in its third year, Creators Lab teams up with creative individuals working in the fields of 360° film and immersive media with national and international organizations that strive to shed light on important issues facing our global society. Today, we’re excited to announce this year’s participants and the incredible social causes that their work will support.

Creator: Van Phan
Nonprofit: The Diana Award

An initiative inspired by Princess Diana’s belief that young people have power to change the world, The Diana Award’s Anti-Bullying Campaign involves a number of projects aimed at reducing bullying in schools.

After working as an auditor for Ernst and Young, Vietnamese refugee Van Phan went back to school to pursue his dream of becoming a visual storyteller. Since graduating from USC, he has created content for Dreamworks, Sony, Fox, Disney, and more.

Creator: Celine Tricart
Nonprofit: Friends of Refugees

Over the last 35 years, the population of Clarkston, GA has expanded as refugee families from over 100 different ethnic groups found a supportive urban environment to call home. Friends of Refugees was founded in 1995 to provide specialized human support services and help this growing community thrive.

An Oculus Launch Pad participant, Celine Tricart is an award-winning director whose work has been shown at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, the Austin Film Festival, the Clermont Ferrand Film Festival, and the Chicago Film Festival.

Creator: Rose Troche
Nonprofit: Invisible People

Invisible People is working to change the story about homelessness by giving a voice to veterans, mothers, children, layoff victims, and others who have been forced onto the streets by a variety of circumstances.

A member of the 2017 Creators Lab Advisory Board, Rose Troche is an award winning writer, director, and producer of film, television, and new media. She’s been a long-time mentor and advisor for a number of organizations, including The Sundance Institute, Film Independent, Nantucket Screenwriters Colony, and more.

Creators: Katrina Sorrentino + Andrea Patiño Contreras
Nonprofit: Northwoodcare Halifax Incorporated

An innovative community of seniors in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Northwood offers robotic therapy cats, a dementia-friendly gym, an elder-run radio station, and the Elderberries LGBTQ community.

Katrina Sorrentino is the co-founder of Tertulia Pictures and served as still photographer for The Hidden, a VR film that premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Andrea Patiño Contreras is a video journalist based in Miami where she works alongside the features video team at Univision Digital News. Her work has been recognized by Pictures of the Year International, the Sidney Hillman Foundation, and the Alliance for Women in Media.

Creators: Brian Afande + Michael Ilako
Nonprofit: Solve Collective Trust

Through Sk8 for Gr8, Solve Collective Trust helps underserved kids in South Africa learn creative arts and apply their designs to skateboards while introducing them to creative career opportunities.

Brian Afande and Michael Ilako are co-founders of Kenya-based production company BlackRhino VR. Afande believes that democratizing access to VR is key to building awareness of the technology’s potential, while Ilako has produced VR pieces, mini-documentaries, TV shows, and features that have been seen by millions in Europe and Africa.

Creator: Samantha Quick
Nonprofit: Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation

Formerly known as Philippine Funds for Little Kids, the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation started as a national movement to help children who had to swim to school in the mangrove village of Layag-Layag, Zamboanga City. It provides boats and other modes of transport and structures to help kids get to school safe and dry.

Samantha Quick is a VR content creator and founding member of The Daily 360 at The New York Times. She has worked as an animator and associate producer for NYTVR, VR video editor for Blackdot Films VR, and creative technologist for 30 Ninjas.

Meet the 2018 Advisory Board

Nine new faces join two veteran VR for Good mentors to form this year’s Creators Lab Advisory Board. We’re honored to have them bring their creativity and expertise to the 2018 table:


The 2018 VR for Good Creators Lab Advisory Board (L – R): Brandon Oldenberg, Nancy Bennett, Angel Manuel Soto, Ryan Horrigan, Courtney Cogburn, Ingrid Kopp, Yelena Rachitsky, Jonny Ahdout, Taylor Williams, Jayisha Patel, and Julia Gibson. Not Pictured: Loren Hammonds and Jessica Lau.

Selected based on their wide range of expertise and leadership in the VR community, our advisors will be available for guidance and advice as this year’s creators work to bring their projects and corresponding causes to life.

A Special Thank You to Our Partners

We’re indebted to the following companies, whose support helps us continue to fund innovative VR storytelling that strives to change the world for the better:


Each creator and advisor in this year’s program will receive an ASUS Rog Strix gaming laptop, provided by AMD.

More to Come

We’ll share more as the 2018 Creators Lab projects begin to take shape. In the meantime, check out some of the innovative, socially conscious work to come out of the program’s first two years:

We’re continually inspired by the new and innovative ways that people are leveraging the immersive power of VR to tell powerful stories and drive meaningful social change. Stay tuned to the blog and Twitter for the latest news on all things VR for Good.

— The Oculus Team