Vote for the FoST Prize

Presented by Time Warner
The FoST Prize is awarded to the most exceptional interactive story among all submitted works, which include but are not limited to virtual and augmented reality, web-based, audio, and data-driven works; mobile apps; narrative games; multimedia installations; and multiplatform projects.

Details

Vote now for your favorite! The project that receives the most votes will win $10,000 and be announced on the last day of FoST Week, October 9th, 2016.


Please note: You can only vote once, and all votes are final.


The 20 finalists below were chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of user experience: Is it clear where to go and what to do?
  • Use of narrative: Is the content story-driven?
  • Audience immersion and opportunities for participation: How interactive is the project?
  • Emotional resonance: Does it strike an affective chord?
  • Design execution: Is it innovative, original, and beautifully crafted?
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1979 Revolution: Black Friday
Based on true stories and testimonies, 1979 Revolution: Black Friday is a choice-driven, interactive narrative game that brings you into the brooding world of the Iranian Revolution during one of the most defining moments of the 20th century. Play as Reza, an aspiring photojournalist, and make life-and-death decisions as you survive the gritty streets of Iran in the late 1970s. 1979 Revolution pushes the boundaries of independent gaming by focusing on strong narrative combined with real-world details to create a captivating new experience.

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Across the Line
Across the Line is an immersive virtual reality experience that puts the audience on the scene as anti-abortion extremists try to intimidate patients who seek sexual and reproductive health care. Using documentary 360° video footage and computer generated imaging (CGI), paired with a montage of real audio recording of actual protesters, viewers gain an intimate knowledge of the harassment outside and compassion inside health centers across the country. The film is a powerful hybrid documentary-fiction depiction of the gauntlet that many abortion providers, health center staff, and patients must walk on a typical day in America.

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ADR1FT
ADR1FT is an immersive First Person Experience (FPX) that tells the story of an astronaut in peril. The player floats through a destroyed space station in zero gravity using an EVA propulsion pack to navigate around the environment, while struggling to determine the cause of the catastrophic event that took the lives of everyone on board. As the only survivor, they must fight to stay alive by exploring the wreckage for precious resources, and overcomes the challenges of an unforgiving environment to repair the damaged EEV and safely return home. Along the way, the narrative of the experience reveals itself via found audio, computer terminals, communications from mission control on earth and intercepted satellite news broadcasts.

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Birdly
Birdly is all about fulfilling one of the longest-held dreams of humankind: to fly like a bird. It is an immersive, full-body installation and research project that explores the experience of being a bird in flight. Unlike a common flight simulator, where you're controlling a machine, Birdly lets you intuitively embody the feeling of being a bird. To evoke this sensation, Birdly mainly relies on sensory-motor coupling and stereoscopic visuals provided by a head-mounted display. It combines extended forms of storytelling with strong visuals and technical precision to create a unique and truly intuitive experience.

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Cyrano: Alex in Wonderland
Follow the adventures of Alex in Wonderland, an animated short film by award-winning director Maya Sanbar that is enhanced by a scent track from Vapor's handheld Cyrano "scent speaker." Cyrano plays olfactory notes throughout the film, delivering a new kind of multisensory experience.

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Hard World For Small Things
Hard World for Small Things uses VR to explore the circumstances and lives affected by a single tragedy in Los Angeles. The story begins by placing you in the backseat of a car, and then unfolds from there to explore discrimination and violence. The provocative experience, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Janicza Bravo, employs a deliberately gritty realism to place you in the middle of the events surrounding an accidental shooting, exploring issues of identity, empathy, and how a single event can come to define an entire life.

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Home: VR Spacewalk
US PREMIERE!
Throw yourself into the void 250 miles above Earth in this award winning VR spacewalk inspired by NASA's training programme and the astonishing experiences of its astronauts.

Home’s ambition as a piece of VR is to combine a strong narrative and sense of drama with the incredible impact possible in an immersive experience to encourage and enhance the public’s interest in space. It puts you at the centre of the story, taking you on an emotional and personal journey whilst delivering beautiful, heart-stopping and memorable moments.

REWIND collaborated with the BBC Science, BBC Learning & BBC Digital Storytelling to create an epic 15-minute immersive VR experience. The experience is developed in Unreal Engine 4 to push at the highest possible visual fidelity and is accompanied with treated, spatial audio. The team worked with script writer Marco Crivellari to develop the narrative and consulted with ESA experts and Astronauts to understand more about the reality of life in space.

To make the experience as realistic and immersive as possible, the team explored beyond just VR headsets & hand controllers. Bluetooth heart rate monitors were integrated - recreating the sound of your own heartbeat - and combined with an integrated live mic which relayed the sound of your own breathing. The ambient sound is spatial and creates the claustrophobia of the astronaut’s helmet and the unnerving sounds of your own body and your space suit's life support system. A gaming chair is also used to provide haptic feedback and to increase the level of immersion. Finally for selected live viewings we incorporate a live Voice Actor who plays a key role and is able to personalize and ad-lib on the script, conversing with the player.

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Late Shift
Late Shift is the world's first cinematic interactive movie, offering viewers a unique, participatory experience. The action-thriller allows you to make plot-changing decisions on behalf of Matt, the protagonist, in real time, while the film keeps running seamlessly. With one beginning but countless storylines and seven different endings, it's up to you to discover the different plot variations and make "better" decisions.

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Mad God
Mad God is a stop-motion animation from the wonderfully twisted mind of Academy Award–winning director Phil Tippett, made possible through the efforts of many. Tippet created enormous amounts of props and puppets for this darkly imaginative world but ended up setting the project aside. Eventually a group of animators at Tippet Studios found the materials and convinced Tippet to resurrect the project. Kickstarter provided funding, and the project grew from a small group working on weekends into a crew of more than 60 artists. The end result is a mature dystopian world of monsters and nightmares crafted from techniques and technologies than span the history of cinema and the career of an animation mastermind.

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New Dimensions in Testimony
USC Shoah Foundation is developing New Dimensions in Testimony, a technology that enables people — now and far into the future—to have a “virtual conversation” with Holocaust survivors about their life experiences. The project integrates advanced filming techniques, specialized display technologies, and next-generation natural language processing to provide an intimate experience with Holocaust survivors who are uniquely qualified to offer personal reflections and answer direct questions about their firsthand experiences with the Holocaust. Since the pilot launch in 2015, USC Shoah Foundation has completed two evaluation studies of user experience of New Dimensions in Testimony at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. A third evaluation is currently in process at the United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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Notes On Blindness
In 1983, after decades of steady deterioration, writer and theologian John Hull became totally blind. To help him make sense of the upheaval in his life, he began documenting his experiences on audiocassette. Over three years, he recorded in excess of sixteen hours of material‹a unique testimony of loss, rebirth, and renewal, excavating his interior world of blindness. These original diary recordings form the basis of Notes on Blindness, a six-part interactive documentary using new forms of storytelling, gameplay mechanics, and virtual reality to explore his cognitive and emotional experience of blindness.

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Pearl
Pearl follows a girl and her dad as they crisscross the country in their beloved hatchback, chasing their dreams. It's a story about the gifts we hand down and their power to carry love—and about finding grace in the unlikeliest of places. Pearl, produced as both a theatrical film and a 360 VR story, is a linear narrative with different audience experiences. In the theatrical adaptation, the camera and pacing are directed and authored, while the 360 VR piece allows the audience agency over the narrative. Produced by Google Spotlight Stories, Pearl is one of the first stories to be told in both theaters and VR.

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Phallaina
Phallaina is the first scrolling graphic novel: a digital graphic novel application for tablets and phablets by Marietta Ren and Small Bang studio. Phallaina tells the story of a personal transformation, combining cognitive sciences and mythology. Audrey, a young girl, suffers from hallucinatory fits during which she sees whales. When she undergoes certain tests, a research scientist and neurologist discovers she has a physeter, an anomalous structure which enables its carriers to remain underwater for prolonged amounts of time. Comprised of a succession of drawings of different scales, which blend into one another through the use of graphic transformations and compositional tricks, it offers a one and a half hour reading experience.

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The Quinn Experiments
The Quinn Experiments is a live experience that combines escape-room inspired gamification with a film-like narrative where participants experience total sensory immersion.

The players act as two technicians who are recruited to shut down a rogue Artificial Intelligence system named Quinn after the director of the private laboratory is sealed inside and quickly being depleted of oxygen.

Tasked with saving her before Quinn can escape, the technicians are equipped with smartphone devices and headphones, and must rush to reset its systems following an unknown mishap and the sudden disappearance of its lead designer. They soon uncover there is much more going on than initially presumed.

Players are confronted with high stakes choices, forced to re-evaluate which side they want to align with. Each choice they make affects the proceeding storyline, challenging who they can trust moving ahead.

Participants will be challenged by the inclusion of tactile elements and multi-sensory experiences that push beyond what has previously been seen in interactive storytelling. The puzzles that the users must solve also keep them fully engaged in the story, as their overall experience will be significantly altered by each decision that they make.

The first act premiered at TriBeCa Interactive Playground 2016, and full experience will be complete early 2017.

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ROOM 2O2
ROOM 2O2 places the viewer in the midst of an interrogation - hands and legs tied and mouth gagged. Only by nodding yes or no can they progress the narrative. Playing with the timing and intensity of nod gives further variation to the narrative options and there are multiple endings, with the user's' responses deciding their fate. Play Nicely Ltd. aimed to present an experience that justified not being able to gesticulate or walk (being tied to a chair) and not being able to talk (being gagged) because for most of the general public, VR gaming doesn't yet include gestural or verbal interaction. This experiment in natural navigation techniques has demonstrated it is possible to progress a narrative by just nodding in response to questions without feeling unnatural.

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That Dragon, Cancer
A videogame developer's love letter to his son; an immersive narrative video game to memorialize Joel Green, and, through his story, honor the many he represents. That Dragon, Cancer is a poetic and playful interactive retelling of Joel’s four-year fight against cancer. Using mostly first-person, point-and-click interaction, you are invited to slow down and immerse yourself in a 3D environment. As the you explore, you unlock a deeply personal memoir featuring audio taken from home videos, spoken word poetry, and in-game tributes to the loved ones of over 200 Kickstarter backers. These community-contributed tributes include images, audio recordings, and personal messages to loved ones. While the subject of the game is nonfiction, the game is closer to a documentary of the emotional landscape and memories of the Green family than it is a recording of specific events. LEARN MORE
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The Deeper They Bury Me
The Deeper They Bury Me: A Call from Herman Wallace is an interactive encounter with one of America’s most famous political prisoners—and an indictment of a criminal justice system that confined him to a cement tomb for most of his adult life. Within a window of 20 precious minutes, the time allotted for a prison call, users are invited to imagine Wallace’s universe, navigating between his six-by-nine-foot cell and the dream home he envisions with artist Jackie Sumell.

Deftly overlaying Wallace’s voice with sparsely poetic animation, Angad Singh Bhalla and Ted Biggs craft an utterly original perspective on North America’s prison industrial complex, evoking Wallace’s segregated childhood and his courageous efforts to build community within prison.

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These Memories Won't Last
A grandpa is losing his memory. A grandson is losing his grandpa. And the world is losing the memories of an ageing generation. What can we do to ensure these memories aren’t lost? Designed as an interactive webcomic, These Memories Won't Last fades away as you read it. It is personal story about a grandpa who suffers from dementia. As his memories of the past and present blur, he questions the value of memory at all. The story is presented in a web browser and uses html5 code to bring the panels to life with sound and animation. Not only is the content a reference to the fragility of memory and the condition of dementia, but the medium through which the story is presented.

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Waves
Burning with originality, intelligence, and a deft use of the medium, Reggie Watts weaves this virtual-reality story that is a dream-within-a-dream meta-ride down the rabbit hole, in this Ben Dickson–directed experience in which the only constants seem to be Watts’s philosophical musings, comedic insights, and musical genius.

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We Happy Few
We Happy Few is a first person survival video game that takes place in a procedurally generated 1960s England. In this alternate history, Germany invaded the city of Wellington Wells during World War 2. The citizen of Wellington Wells did a Very Bad Thing and in order to cope with it, they invented a drug called Joy. Joy makes you forget everything and makes you blissfully happy, but at what cost? As the main character, you refuse to continue living this delusionally happy life. You will need to learn survive in and escape from a society in cheerful denial, whose inhabitants don't take so kindly to people threatening their happiness. Surviving and escaping includes stealth, gathering resources, combat and most importantly social conformity - a unique gameplay experience where the player must pass him/herself off as one of "them".

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