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EKO AND VIRGIN PRODUCED ANNOUNCE
ORIGINAL SERIALIZED INTERACTIVE CONTENT WINNERS

$60,000 in Production Grants Awarded

March 2, 2017 (New York, NY) – Interactive media and technology company Eko and Virgin Produced, the entertainment arm of the Virgin Group, announced today that they have selected not one but three winners for the creation of original serialized interactive content. Each winner will receive a $20,000 production grant to produce a series that utilizes Eko’s interactive storytelling medium where viewers shape the story as it unfolds.

Selected for their creativity and exceptional interactive storytelling the 3 winners are:


Side Piece by Michelle Markowitz: A mystery-comedy where a young woman tries to solve an abduction with an unorthodox twist as the interrogation takes to Tinder.

A week in the life of Milly by David Marmor: Milly is fully aware that her humdrum life is playing out as an interactive web series and so she will enlist our help to try to navigate her way out the rut she’s in through a series of ironic and darkly comic encounters.

The FAM-BAM by Shea Mirzai and Evan Mirzai: A comedy series centered on a dysfunctional family who fall victim to a curse that leads to a musical-chairs style body swap where everyone becomes someone else and back again. The curse can only be broken once the family learns to put aside their differences and understand each other.



Eko and Virgin Produced acknowledges 3 runners up:


Subjects by Christopher Alender

Funemployed by Greg Ash

Forever Jerk by Alison Rich


This grant initiative received over 200 series submissions each of which provided a detailed outline for the overall idea, main characters, seasonal arc, and interactive structure. Submissions were open to fiction, unscripted, live-action or animated content. Integral to the winners were their content submissions be “inherently interactive”—that is, the interactive concept drives the narrative, and also that their ideas must work as a series.

Creators are drawn to Eko's medium because it allows them to tell stories from multiple perspectives and it evokes a range of emotional responses that pulls their audience deeper into the story than can be done with linear video.

With a wealth of exciting submissions to choose from, the judges determined to provide production grants to more than one winner.

“We received an overwhelming number of submissions from inventive creators looking to break the mold of traditional storytelling. It was impossible to pick just one winner, so Eko and Virgin Produced are providing grants for 3 submissions. The real magic is yet to come; when we help bring their stories to life.” – says Jennifer Cron, development executive at Virgin Produced.

“First, congratulations are in order for all of our entrants and winners. The quality of the submissions were exceptional and made our selection process incredibly difficult … and fun,” says Alex Vlack, VP Creative. “At Eko we are excited to recognize and celebrate creativity, innovation and those pushing the boundaries of this new form of storytelling.”

Eko will provide creative support and guidance for these winners about techniques for interactive storytelling. In addition, Eko will enable the creation of these interactive projects on its simple, powerful authoring tool, Eko Studio, which now supports injecting code to make even more complex, game-like experiences. Virgin Produced will provide overall production support on the actual series. The final series will initially be distributed and promoted on Eko and Virgin Produced’s platforms.


More about the winning projects and creators:


SIDE PIECE by Michelle Markowitz

Side Piece by Michelle Markowitz: A mystery-comedy where a young woman tries to solve an abduction with an unorthodox twist as the interrogation takes to Tinder.

Michelle Markowitz is a writer/producer/director. She is currently co-writing the book "Hey Ladies" based on the popular series on The Toast about something every woman can relate to: the agony of being on a reply all email chain for bachelorette parties and brunches. Hey Ladies is being published by ABRAMS BOOKS and is coming out in the Spring of 2018. Michelle's videos have received millions of views online and have been shown on "Today," "Good Morning America" and "Fox News." She was previously a producer and help launch Fast Company's comedy vertical. Her videos and writing have appeared in The New York Times, BuzzFeed, MTV, Jezebel, Mashable, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Glamour and many others. She is frequently featured in Huffington Post's "Funniest Tweets From Women This Week."



A WEEK IN THE LIFE OF MILLY by David Marmor

A week in the life of Milly by David Marmor: Milly is fully aware that her humdrum life is playing out as an interactive web series and so she will enlist our help to try to navigate her way out the rut she’s in through a series of ironic and darkly comic encounters.

A native of the San Francisco bay area, David Marmor studied computer science at Harvard, then spent several years helping launch the video game company Z-Axis, which was eventually acquired by Activision. He then attended the USC School of Cinema-Television, where he received an MFA in directing. His thesis film, Spin, was funded by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and played at nearly 50 film festivals worldwide, won numerous awards, and received television distribution on IFC in the U.S., and in Canada on the CBC. His latest short film, Love & Other Unstable States Of Matter, enjoyed a similarly successful festival run and garnered several awards, including the Audience Award at Williamstown and Best Comedy at the Garden State Film Festival.



The FAM-BAM by Shea Mirzai and Evan Mirzai

A comedy series centered on a dysfunctional family who fall victim to a curse that leads to a musical-chairs style body swap where everyone becomes someone else and back again. The curse can only be broken once the family learns to put aside their differences and understand each other.

The Mirzai Brothers, principals of production banner Wonder Twins Entertainment, are four time honorees of Franklin Leonard's Black List, with the most recent being Our Week with Waller OUR WEEK WITH WALLER in 2015. They are executive producers of the upcoming event series ORIGINS: THE JOURNEY OF MANKIND at National Geographic which premieres 3/6/17. On the feature side, they are the writers and executive producers of Black List selection DOPPELGANGERS starring Logan Paul alongside Yeardley Smith and Ben Cornwell of PaperClip, Ltd. The Mirzais are represented by Paradigm, Principato Young Entertainment and SGSBC.