Above: Elegy's director Marc Guidoni and producer Joanna Szybist
The VRrOOm's VR festivals app launched on September 8, featuring in world premiere a special program of 9 VR films of the Venice Biennale's VR official selection. One of these films is Elegy, and we met with its creators to learn more about their work.
- Can you tell us more about your film's background?
“Elegy” explores the sense of enclosure. The presently well-known “ghost effect” linked to the immersive nature of VR experience is treated here in its primary sense. In “Elegy” the viewer is a real ghost, a lost soul trapped in a lift of a luxury hotel. It is both present and absent, here and yet not there, a remote echo of the invisible being from The Horla by Guy de Maupassant.
- What were the main issues you faced to make your project become a reality, from writing to production?
Make certain that VR technology is not taken for granted but as an inherent element of our story. The viewer is as much an observer as an actor her/himself. We were interested in exploring this very specific intimate and emotional immersion that VR medium offers by pushing the viewer into the center of it.
- Is there any tip you could give future VR filmmakers who want to send their work to Venice?
We had the privilege to be selected by the Biennale College at the very early stage of our development and then selected again for a production grant. They trusted our intuition and willingness to question the very nature of the technology. What it means to be a part of the story where your senses and your reason is doubting and resisting this position. Biennale is without contest the place where creative exploration fostered and encouraged and where authors’ ideas and vision are cherished and respected. And, more importantly, Biennale is the place where you learn that technology is a mean not a destination and it doesn’t have to be expensive to be appealing.
- What do you think is most missing in the cinematic VR ecosystem?
The understanding from the part of the traditional cinema players. VR is definitely a new medium, working on its proper language and filming techniques. It’s neither a threat to the traditional industry neither a gimmick nor promotional extension (though it can be easily treated as such). The technology gives as much new freedom as it imposes some new barriers. It’s a very exciting creative challenge, covering a very wide range of genres and artistic proportions and it deserves real attention.
- What do you plan to do next? What is your ambition for your film, and do you have other projects in the pipeline?
My next project will mix live action with animation, exploring the boundaries of our perception – what’s real in our picture of ourselves and our reality.
- What is your vision for VR storytelling?
Stirring thoughts and emotions