XR Entertainment Studio, New Canvas, announced that its landmark VR series will be directed by Yasmin Elayat and penned by Agnes Borinsky View in browser 

XR Studio New Canvas, MA Productions and PAGEBOY Productions Announce Emmy® Award-Winning, Immersive Director and Extolled Writer & Playwright for its Bold VR Adaptation of

‘When Brooklyn Was Queer’

Yasmin Elayat and Agnes Borinsky Join the Immersive Series that Illuminates Brooklyn's Rich, Yet Overlooked LGBTQIA+ Heritage;

Academy Award®-nominee & LGBTQ+ Trailblazer Elliot Page and Author Hugh Ryan Attached to Executive Produce

Yasmin Elayat, Emmy®-Winning Director

[PHOTO CREDIT: Margarita Corporan]

Decorated Writer, Agnes Borinsky

[PHOTO CREDIT: Taft Mashburn]

BYRON BAY, NSW, AUSTRALIA AND LOS ANGELES, CA, USA, MARCH 20th, 2024New Canvas, an innovative, XR entertainment studio that produces and publishes immersive entertainment with an unapologetic focus on stories with social impact, today announced that its landmark VR series will be directed by Emmy Award® winning Yasmin Elayat and penned by Agnes Borinsky. The virtual reality-based series, inspired by Hugh Ryan's acclaimed book, When Brooklyn Was Queer, dives into the rich LGBTQ+ history from the mid-1850s to today, celebrating identity, resilience and achievements against adversity.

Additionally, Academy Award®-nominee Elliot Page, a trailblazer in both the entertainment industry and LGBTQ+ advocacy, and author Ryan join as executive producers alongside Matt Jordan Smith and Tuck Dowrey of PAGEBOY Productions and Emmy® nominees Maor Azran and Dan Adler of MA Productions. This collaboration aims to transform viewer experience with emotionally charged, visually stunning narratives of queer triumph.

Hugh Ryan, Award-Winning Curator & Author, When Brooklyn Was Queer   [PHOTO CREDIT: M. Sharkey]

The New York Times, made When Brooklyn Was Queer an “Editor’s Pick” in 2019 and described it as “[A] boisterous, motley new history...entertaining and insightful.” Ryan's thorough exploration of this vibrant community, its evolution and challenges sheds light on Brooklyn's queer legacy, while highlighting stories of identity and victory. New Canvas, leveraging cutting-edge, XR technology, will bring these untold stories to life, providing a vivid and rich journey into the untold events of Brooklyn's LGBTQ+ past.

Elayat (she/her) is a decorated, immersive director and artist who is known for her innovative XR films and interactive experiences that push the cutting-edge of emerging technology. Her work has won multiple awards, including an Emmy, Webby and Prix Ars Electronica and has been exhibited at various festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, SIGGRAPH, Festival de Cannes and the World Economic Forum. Elayat is a United States Artists 2020 Fellow, a Sundance Art of Practice Fellow and also sits on the inaugural Peabody Awards Interactive Board of Jurors in addition to being a New Museum, New INC Mentor. Previously, she co-founded Scatter, an Emmy winning technology studio and industry leader in XR and volumetric video, where she, as part of the founding team, invented and pioneered volumetric filmmaking and created Depthkit, the most widely used volumetric video solution with customers that include Fortune 500 companies, large media & entertainment brands, Academy award winning filmmakers and independent creators.

“As someone who lives and works in Brooklyn, I was profoundly moved by Hugh's book, which masterfully uncovers the vibrant and layered, queer history integral to the fabric of this city and American culture itself,” said Elayat. “As someone who’s dedicated to the restoration and celebration of these hidden narratives by using cutting-edge technologies in dynamic ways, I’m thrilled to join this talented team. Together, we invite audiences to experience our compelling and immersive reinterpretation.” 

Borinsky (she/they) is a writer, performer and theatre-maker originally from Baltimore, currently living in Los Angeles. Sasha Masha, her trans coming-of-age novel for young readers, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature in 2021. Her plays have been produced and developed by Playwrights Horizons, Clubbed Thumb, Target Margin, Page 73, Ensemble Studio Theatre, SPACE at Ryder Farm, Masrah Ensemble in Beirut, Upstream Theater in St. Louis, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and her writing has appeared in n+1, The Brooklyn Rail, Slate, and HowlRound. Borinsky is also an inaugural fellow of the 2023-25 Mandel Institute Cultural Leadership Program, a member of New Dramatists and was a 2021-22 Art of Practice Fellow with the Sundance Interdisciplinary Program. Her work has been supported by Berkeley Rep, SPACE on Ryder Farm, HERE, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Youngblood/EST and others.

“Hugh’s book upended my assumptions about the many forms of queerness that have long pulsed through our history. With this amazing team, we get to overturn conventions about how stories get told and how we position ourselves relative to the past,” said Borinsky.

This project promises to redefine the VR landscape, blending social impact with innovative storytelling to captivate, educate and entertain. Known for his outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry and his unwavering commitment to LGBTQ+ rights, Page’s involvement underscores the project's commitment to authenticity and advocacy, reinforcing its potential to inspire change.

“Our company’s mission is to tell elevated, entertaining, original intersectional and socially responsible stories that explore themes like generational queerness. As a creative company that pushes boundaries, it is exciting for us to work with New Canvas to bring queer stories into the world of XR for the first time,” said Page and fellow executive producer Matt Jordan Smith, Head of Development for PAGEBOY Productions. “We believe making quality art that portrays varied, authentic experiences elicits empathy, understanding and ultimately has the power to change hearts and minds.”      

[PHOTO CREDIT: Catherine Opie]

"When Brooklyn Was Queer isn't just a book; it's a beacon for an extraordinary VR adaptation that enables us to connect the past with the present. We are thrilled to have the incredible talent and passion that both Yasmin and Agnes bring to the project. This team is uniquely positioned to transform these profound stories inspired by real people and events that will immerse audiences in bold new ways for the very first time," said Wadooah Wali (she/her), Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Producer at New Canvas. "It's both our joy and privilege to honor these historical truths, presenting them in a dynamic new medium that goes well beyond what can be achieved with traditional, flatscreen entertainment."

This collaboration brings together the visionary minds and the team’s collective mission echoes through this series: to craft compelling, socially relevant stories that challenge norms and foster understanding. As production gears up for later this year, further updates on talent, distribution and release dates will follow, marking a new chapter in immersive entertainment and LGBTQ+ history's portrayal.

MA Productions is represented by CAA, Paradigm and Donaldson Callif Perez LLP. Page and PAGEBOY Productions are repped by UTA, VIE Entertainment and Morris Yorn Barnes; Ryan is repped by CAA and Smith is repped by Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson.

                             ** Access Press Release Images Here **

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About MA Productions:

An Emmy Awards Nominee production company, our mission is to address global diversity challenges through the creation of high-concept stories across multiple platforms. Our aim is not only to entertain but also to provoke thought and foster conversations that transcend individual perspectives. We are dedicated to collaborating with young creatives, pushing boundaries, and striving for equal opportunities for minorities. Our primary focus is amplifying the voices of LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, disabled individuals, and women—championing their stories and providing a platform for their narratives. These are the stories we proudly tell. info@ma-productions.com

About PAGEBOY Productions:

PAGEBOY Productions endeavours to develop and produce entertaining, original, commercial and socially responsible stories. PAGEBOY actively seeks creators and content from underrepresented communities and uplifts collaborators denied equitable access to mainstream Hollywood. PAGEBOY will pursue storytelling that prioritizes safety, representation, and intersectional equity in all facets of making film and television; we believe that making quality art by and for intentionally marginalized voices is necessary to dismantle and redistribute power balances – within entertainment institutions and broader systems of oppression – and to push the boundaries of what we think subversive storytelling and representation can be and achieve. 

About New Canvas:

New Canvas is an award-winning, entertainment studio that produces and publishes immersive entertainment with an unapologetic focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and commitment to continually push the boundaries of virtual and augmented reality. We create immersive entertainment for breakthrough platforms that captivate and engage audiences around the world, while generating value for creators with the content that we co-create. New Canvas is focused on developing content and formats to help drive mainstream adoption of immersive media.

We honour Australia’s First Nations Peoples, acknowledging the Arakwal, the traditional custodians of the Bundjalung Country, on which New Canvas was founded. For additional information, visit: www.newcanvas.co.


Media Contacts:

New Canvas - hi@newcanvas.co

PAGEBOY Productions - Teamelliotpage@id-pr.com

New Canvas

13 Sunrise Lane, Ewingsdale

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