Ondřej Moravec's DARKENING, presented at the East Doc Interactive 2021, will be premiered at Venice Immersive, the XR - Extended Reality section of the 79th Venice IFF of La Biennale di Venezia (Aug 31 - Sep 10). Watch the trailer!
What goes on in the head of a young person who is experiencing depression? And is there a way to get out of these states? This is what the autobiographical animated VR film DARENING by Ondřej Moravec is about. The artwork of the project was created by Bára Anna Stejskalová, nominated for the Czech Lion for her film Jsme si o smrt blíž.
"Venice has the most prestigious competition section for virtual reality and only invites around twenty projects each year. So we consider it a small miracle that the festival chose DARKENING and we are incredibly excited to see our VR film with the first viewers," says the film's producer Hana Blaha Šilarová from Frame Films.
"Everybody says you have to 'dream big', and then when that dream comes true, you just watch with your mouth open. For me it is a great honour that the Venice dramaturgs chose us," says Ondřej Moravec, the author of the project. "This is the first Czech VR project to receive such attention, and I hope that thanks to this, the medium of virtual reality will start to be taken seriously in our artistic circles as well."
"For Brainz Immersive, collaborating on the film was a great opportunity to capitalize on our experience from various immersive art and commercial projects. Yet the film presented us with various technological challenges, such as finding a way to bring the visual imagery to today's generation of VR goggles with limited graphics power. The film is unique in that it makes dominant use of voice control, which is novel, in tune with the film's story, and allows the viewer to feel the experience more strongly as if they were part of the story itself," adds Robin Pultera, co-producer and technology partner on the project.
DARKENING is an autobiographical animated film that uses virtual reality to depict the authentic experiences of a young person with depression. It brings not only a deep insight into the "dark night of the soul", but also hope and a way to cope with the illness. The main character Ondřej accompanies the viewer on this journey. We share his feelings during his first depressive episodes on a family trip as a child, at university while striving for perfect results, and later at work during his daily struggles with the depressive "darkening". Together with him, the viewer goes through the interactive story, can literally touch his world and give the hero a helping hand. The film allows you to experience and understand for a moment what it is like to live with this illness, and what mechanisms people with depression can use to feel better. Andrew discovers that his way to fight depression is through his own voice. DARKENING opens up the debate about the pains of the soul, offering therapeutic effect and hope that even with an illness like depression, it is possible to lead a fulfilling life.
DARKENING was produced by Frame Films, co-produced by NowHere Media (DE) and Brainz Immersive (CZ), with the support of the Czech Film Fund and other institutions.