While the VR gaming sector grows rapidly, immersive storytelling is a nascent medium. Funding for such projects is increasingly being made available and new works are being created, but the routes to audiences for immersive stories are limited.

In 2019, East City Films applied to the BFI Audience Fund for a National Lottery award to support a 3 month research project looking into the distribution and exhibition of the VR documentary, Common Ground.

An award was approved at the start of 2020 and work began in March, researching venues, partners and the logistics chain needed to take Common Ground to an audience beyond the industry focused festival circuit. The project team has now completed the research, and we are able to share the comprehensive report with you.

The report, by Darren Emerson, Dan Tucker and Anthony Comber Badu, is an invaluable study of the current landscape and the considerations needed to move this sector of our industry forward.

By using the proposed UK-wide tour of Common Ground as the basis of the research, the team has provided a case study that shows how the challenges can be approached, and suggests real world routes to reaching diverse audiences with immersive stories. As well as covering the logistics – including technology and staffing – the report considers marketing and press, accessibility and diversity, the impact of COVID-19 on health and safety, and revenue models.