Hawaii Transmedia Accelerator Seeks Storytellers


On Sunday, I described the GVS Accelerator as one of Hawaii’s lesser known accelerators. Or at least lesser known on O’ahu, as it is based on Hawaii Island. A event tomorrow night in downtown Honolulu hopes to change that.

gvs-flyerGVS founder and accomplished Hollywood director David Cunningham is hosting a pau hana Q&A at ROC Honolulu in Chinatown. And GVS marketing director David Bruce says they will unveil the details of a Big Island broadband project.

As accelerators go, GVS is an unusual one. Rather than backing mobile apps and disruptive startups, GVS is focused on “transmedia storytelling,”

“The GVS Accelerator brings together a world class community of entrepreneurs, creatives, mentors, investors, innovators and technologists, all with a common trait: the ability to dream big and tell a story,” explains the website.

To help Hawaii-based creative entrepreneurs launch “original, future-proof, impacting franchises for wide commercial audiences,” GVS is offering up to $50,000, use of its facilities and equipment, professional mentoring and access to industry players.

And working with partners that include the Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation and the County of Hawaii, graduating companies have access to an additional $250,000 in matching funds provided they raise at least 25 percent of their follow-on budget and find their own distribution.

Last year, the first cohort of five GVS companies were selected from over 100 applicants. The accellerator notes that one of them, Jumping Flea Productions, is already in talks with film producer Steve McEveety (of “The Passion of the Christ” and “Braveheart”) to co-produce “Jack London’s Ko’olau the Leper,” which will be filmed in Hawaii and therefore also benefit from the state’s 25 percent production and post-production rebate.


The U.S. Small Business Administration recently named GVS as one of the 50 most innovative accelerators in America. And now, it’s looking for its second cohort of companies.

Attendees at tomorrow’s event will hear all the details, just in time for the application period that runs from Aug. 1 through Aug. 31. The accellerator is looking for six companies to go through its six-month program starting in September. And this round, GVS is open to “startup team” applications, people with storytelling skills and talents who are open to be matched up with a cohort company to help make its project a reality.

Although the mentors have yet to be named, last year’s industry experts included Academy Award nominated screenwriter Tab Murphy (Disney’s “Hunchback of Notre Dame”), producer Ralph Winter (“X-Men,” “Fantastic Four”), Level 3 Communications co-founder Mike Frank, and Club Penguin creator and co-founder Lance Priebe.

Cunningham will definitely talk about Honua Studios, the accelerators 10,000-square-foot studio and full-service event venue with a 6,000-square-foot production stage and a 40-by-60-foot green screen. The facility houses GVS as well as 10 other media startups.

And as for the broadband piece? The GVS Accelerator is partnering with the HSDC to launch a spinoff called GVS Connect, a pilot program that will combine high-speed internet, virtual collaboration tools, and digital asset management. GVS Connect will allow Honua Studios to link up with over 400 post production companies on a private, secure, dedicated network. But it will also open up 10 gigabit connectivity to the general public via “self serve data transfer.”

The Q&A will run from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, July 24, at ROC Honolulu (1110 Nuuanu Avenue), with “pupus and beer while they last.” For more information on the accelerator, you can visit the official website at GlobalVirtualStudio.com, like the Facebook page, or follow @GVS_Accelerator on Twitter.


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