Dallas-based new media creative studio Flight School has been awarded the Independent Jury Award for its debut original VR experience Manifest 99 at the 2017 Future of Storytelling Festival, which took place October 6-8 at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island, NY. The 2017 FoST Prize, presented by Microsoft, awards three prizes in two categories: an Independent Category (Juried and People’s Choice) and a Corporate Category (Juried award). Manifest 99 is this year’s only recipient of the recurring juried independent prize, with submissions ranging from virtual and augmented reality experiences and interactive films to graphic novels and video games. The award comes on the heels of a win for ‘Best Interactive Narrative VR Experience’ at London’s prestigious Raindance Film Festival.

Manifest 99 takes viewers on a midnight dreamscape, winding through train cars on an ephemeral quest to learn why they were there, interacting with animal commuters and crows as they pull back the veil of the passengers’ own reasons for riding. The heartfelt story and unexpected finale twist一born from the minds of Academy Award® and Emmy Award-winning creative talent behind the recently launched studio一earned the experience swift critical acclaim upon its September 12 release for PSVR, Steam, Vive Port and Oculus.

In addition to the widespread acclaim that Manifest 99 has earned since its public launch less than one month ago, the Flight School team has also been busy working on a wide range of new media projects for top brands and studios. Most recently, they worked with Sony on an augmented reality (AR) experience for the launch of Michael Jackson’s new ‘Scream’ album and a dynamic air tennis experience for American Express at the 2017 U.S. Open. The Air Tennis experience used a combination of custom-built and responsive technologies, including air haptics and an ultra-sensitive motion capture system, to create an interactive live gaming experience.