Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
David-Alexandre CHANEL: At THEORIZ we constantly explore the relations and convergence of reality and virtuality. This project started as a scientific research project exploring how we can use immersive videos, tracking, interactivity, real time visuals – tools we use everyday for our work on stage, shows or event – for a cinema/film setup. We explored different paths and came up with a prototype of a mixed reality room were you could film actors and project the visuals around them, reacting to their movements and the camera. Starting there, we used it further it begun to write and produce the short movie, to explore what we could do with this new technique.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
Taking into account the whole tech and research work as well as the production, i took one and half year. The writing and production of the movie itself took 6 months, with two months visual and tech pre-production and three days of shooting.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
Very hard task ! I will go with : Experimental virtuality
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The biggest obstacle was definitely directing and managing a whole short movie production with a tool I never used, which were still a prototype at the time. So I had the task of directing both the development and technical challenges, as well as directing the content and story. It was extremely intense, but I had a great team and I’m quite proud of what we could achieve with the means we had.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
It’s always incredible to get feedback of the audience because there is several layers of things to get in the movie. Different people always catch different part of it. Lots of people think it’s just CG and green screens but it’s not ! Also on the story side, there is some details hidden, and part of it is also open to interpretation so it’s very nice to see what it people got out of it.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
We were working and exploring a lot how we could innovate with innovative tech for film shooting. Then when we started writing the story. At that point, the tech itself became an inspiration, hence having the character uploading themselves in a virtual world and the movie playing with what is real or not constantly.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
I’m actually not into watching a lot of time the same movie. Except some short movie when I’m in awe with the aesthetic of it. I’ve watched a lot of movies speaking about virtual worlds and playing with the concept, who were definitely part of an inspiration for this movie, obviously some well known movies like Matrix, ExistenZ and Ready player one are a good example of this topic.
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
It was great to easily connect with festivals and community internationally, the platform played a big role for our team to be able to connect easily with a wider audience.
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
Haha, that might be all the songs of the Mechanical Animals album by Marilyn Manson
10. What is next for you? A new film?
I would love to explore more this technique !
But we are going forward already, our next movie will be a real time experience in VR, where you will encounter an avatar and going through different world by helping each other. We want it to feel super real, so we are working with cognitive science and haptics research labs exploring how we can trigger new sensations in virtual reality.
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