GVS Accelerator Lands YouTube Star & Award Winning Mentors for 2015 – 2016 Cohorts

Hawai’i Island’s own YouTube star Alex Farnham represented one of the seven companies chosen to join the 2015 – ­2016 GVS Accelerator.

fYouTube sensation Alex Farnham

YouTube sensation Alex Farnham

A number of award­ winning entertainment industry mentors, Senator Glenn Wakai, Representative Nicole Lowen, Mayor Billy Kenoi, and Council Member Karen Eoff were on hand for the announcement at Honua Studios.

The GVS Transmedia Accelerator Program (GTA Program) is a partnership between Global Virtual Studio (GVS), the Hawai’i Strategic Development Corporation (HSDC), the County of Hawai’i and the GTA Development Fund, empowers creative entrepreneurs to launch original transmedia franchises for commercial audiences with an investment of $50,000 seed capital and industry mentors for each selected start­up franchise.

Accelerator Winners

Accelerators on island for Kickoff week include screenwriters Janet and Lee Batchler (POMPEII, BATMAN FOREVER), Jim Kruger (former Creative Director at Marvel, NY Times Bestselling Author, DC Comic Writer: X­Men, Batman) Frank Tate (MTV, MindQuilt, Super Franks) Mike Frank (Disney, Pepsi, Co­founder of Level 3 Communications). The selected companies represent a diverse cross­section of media and entertainment, each incorporating multiple product platforms ranging from feature films and TV series to graphic novels and mobile apps.

The seven companies selected for the 2015­2016 cohort are:

  • CAPTIVE – Founder Team: John Shepherd, Patrick Hibler; Genre: Drama/Action­Adventure; Platforms: Feature Film, Graphic Novel, Video Game -CAPTIVE is an action adventure film about a former SAS Officer who sets off on a series of suicidal adventures, traveling the Pacific on his only worldly possession – a 50+ foot sailboat.
  • THE MEDICINE RUNNER – Founder Team: Edwin Marshall, David Cunningham; Genre: Drama; Platforms: Feature Film, Book, App – THE MEDICINE RUNNER is a story about a homeless orphan boy of mixed race and a “Haole” (white) village doctor fighting for their place in the small coffee farming community of 1920’s Hawai’i.
  • MOCKSTARS – Founder Team: Alex Farnham, Richard Farnham; Genre: Comedy/ Mockumentary; Platforms: YouTube Channel, Mockumentary – MOCKSTARS is a web­driven series starring YouTube star, Alex Farnham. Each video parodies a current celebrity, movie, song, concert or happening through original music.
  • OCEANNA – Founder Team: Laurie & Wayne Nunez; Genre: Children’s Animated Series; Platforms: TV Series, Branded Products/Merchandise, Soundtrack, Book, App/Game, DVD – OCEANNA is an animated children’s TV series about a young girl whose daydreams transform her into the underwater superhero “Oceanna: Protector of the Sea”.
  • WINGS – Founder: Kaveh Kardan; Genre: Science Fiction; Platforms: Graphic Novel (Web based), Graphic Novel (Print), Feature Film – Giant robots inhabit the wilderness in WINGS, a steampunk tale about a young female pilot who sets off to solve the mystery of her parents’ disappearance.
  • NATIVE – Founder Team: Joel Angyal, Mike Leahy; Genre: Drama; Platforms: Feature Film, Clothing Line, Music Album – NATIVE is a feature film about a troubled teenage boy given an opportunity to develop his inner­warrior by connecting to his Hawaiian roots and training in mixed martial arts (MMA).
  • SURF BREAK HOTEL – Founder Team: Stefan Schaefer, Jonathan Stern; Genre: Sitcom; Platforms: Web/TV Series – SURF BREAK HOTEL is an original comedic series about a washed­up surf pro, Byron “ALL BIZ” Waggie, who’s forced to take a job as a surf instructor at a Maui beach hotel.

The addition of YouTube star Alex Farnham to the accelerator’s ranks brings one of the fastest­growing segments of media to the Program’s mix. Farnham got his start on YouTube with “one dolla” and quickly became a sensation with 68 million views and 229,000 subscribers. His project MOCKSTARS will parody current celebrities, movies and songs. Farnham said, “I think it’s great to have something like this here ­ great for the community and for the kids growing up here.”

Kaveh Kardan, founder of graphic novel project WINGS, is a graduate of sister incubator/accelerator program, Creative Lab. Stefan Schaefer (SURF BREAK HOTEL) was also a recent alternate in the program. Creative Lab was founded in 2012 by the Hawai’i State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s Creative Industries Division (CID) to accelerate the growth of Hawaii’s creative entrepreneurs through immersive, hands­on training in motion pictures, television, screenwriting, broadband, new media, interactive/technology, music and design/fashion.

In addition to the $50,000 in seed funding for development, successful graduates of the accelerator program can now tap up to $250,000 in matching funds if they raise at least 25 percent of their follow­on budget in private equity and secure product distribution. Senator Glenn Wakai stated, “This is really the recipe for economic development the State has been looking for… for a small (State) investment, we partner with private investors and good things can happen.”

ABOUT THE GVS TRANSMEDIA ACCELERATOR PROGRAM

The GTA Program is a partnership between the County of Hawai’i, the Hawai’i Strategic Development Corporation (HSDC), the GTA Development Fund, and the GVS Accelerator. The GTA Program is a two­time Small Business Administration award­winner as one of the top accelerators in the U.S. and is part of Hawaii’s “Startup Paradise” community. For more information visit www.gvsaccelerator.com

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