HBO Buys Second Life Documentary

LOS ANGELES HBO has acquired a documentary film that was created and produced entirely within virtual world Second Life.

Directed by Douglas Gayeton, the file, “Molotov’s Dispatches in Search of the Creator: A Second Life Odyssey,” chronicles an avatar, Molotov Alva, as he travels through the virtual world learning of the complex social interactions that take place within Second Life.

Gayeton is an industry veteran, having co-written and co-directed the interactive CD-ROM movie “Johnny Mnemonic” (the version that does not star Keanu Reeves) for Sony Imagesoft. In the 1990s, he also was a member of Propaganda Films along with directors Spike Jonze, David Fincher and Alex Proyas.

The 35-minute documentary was produced by Amsterdam, the Netherlands-based Submarine and will air next year, HBO said. In an interview with blog New World Notes, Gayeton said that HBO intends to submit “Molotov” for Academy Award consideration in the animated short-subject category.

The deal is a milestone for Second Life, the 3-D virtual world launched in 2003 that now boasts more than 9 million residents worldwide. But other companies, including traditional entertainment brands, are starting to leverage virtual worlds as part of their interactive marketing programs. Among those is Warner Bros., which is working on a Second Life co-promotion to raise awareness for Gossip Girl, its upcoming TV series for the CW.