Alejandro Davila is an AUT Masters graduate, who is creating the animation studio of the future, by making movies in pioneering ways and disrupting the landscape of experiential narrative consumption.
Davila came to New Zealand from South America when he was 17 as part of an exchange programme. He has always dreamed of being a film director, but upon discovering immersive technologies, quit his job, sold his car and enrolled at AUT where he completed his Master of Creative Technologies in 2017. The Green Fairy was his Masters project, – a virtual reality film about fairies that light up the inside of traffic lights. With his research, he was awarded the Young NZ Innovator of the Year finalist at the NZ Innovation Awards for making New Zealand's First Virtual Reality Movie in 2016.
The Green Fairy is an immersive storytelling experience utilising vanguard technologies, such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. With both AR and VR gaining traction in the way media is created and consumed, Davila spotted an opportunity in the market. How to use these technologies to create interactive stories, and how to develop fantasy-based educational stories for NZ kids. The Green Fairy is New Zealand’s first representation of its kind and an enormous feat on the the world stage. The Green Fairy will be capturing the imagination of children worldwide.
After some intensive media coverage and a successful series of pilot appearances across Westfield Malls, Libraries and Museums around the country, the New Zealand Film Commission and NZ on Air partnered with TVNZ invested in an Animated Series made for both AR and VR. It has been so successful that the pilot episode for The Green Fairy series is set for an international release in July – October 2018.
The open, collaborative environment at AUT afforded Davila valuable support resulting in his success– not only in developing but also in promoting his research. Davila used Creative Technologies, a collaborative teaching and learning space and open environment geared toward innovation at AUT. From here on he has been able to trust in the support from AUT’s other resources. For example the AUT CO.STARTERS programme and the ongoing backing of AUT Ventures.
Beyond the creative support and technology resources that he had access to during his studies, AUT cultivated his business skills, including business administration, accounting, managing budgets, and connecting with industry professionals. Davila was able to develop a business model to wrap around his Green Fairy prototype. With his business plan in place, he brought together a team of AUT graduates and founded his own company in 2016. While Davila specialised in Virtual Reality Storytelling, he has sprung from being an AUT graduate with a Master of Creative Technologies to be the founding director and CEO of CONICAL Interactive Studios - employing ten fulltime creative technologists, animators and game developers. AUT Ventures provided a home for the CONICAL team with office space and studio access to facilities and resources to get them started up.
Conical is a trailblazing Interactive Studio, working across immersive technologies such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Apps and Mobile Games. The Conical portfolio ranges from experiential campaigns, through to interactive marketing and immersive storytelling. Davila finds that the most enjoyable part of his career is engaging with target audiences and having direct interaction with consumers to collect more data from their responses and then to improve AR/VR products and experiences.
What started as a self-funded and enterprise funded endeavour has moved to client work that came up after the success of the prototype of The Green Fairy series. The team who is passionate about making movies and telling stories has set their goal to develop strategies to raise investment opportunities and bring more rewarding projects like The Green Fairy as a new way of storytelling and education to people. AUT Ventures continues to play a key role in support of Conical with continued support, networks and resources to boost CONICAL in their ground-breaking achievements.
Notes from the NZ Film Commission:
“Alejandro and his team are proven leaders in the VR storytelling field. The current VR film is of a very high quality that has led to significant investment into The Green Fairy AR project through NZ on Air. The Green Fairy has a huge potential as NZ based IP that could be developed and grow in scale in the large children’s content market.”