This time of year features a plethora of immersive film premiere’s thanks to festivals like Sundance, Tribeca and SXSW. While those are all in the US, there are plenty of other films festivals featuring 360-degree and virtual reality (VR) content. Last month was the Audi Dublin International Film Festival and as part of its Immersive Stories Conference, Irish creative Pink Kong Studios debuted its first animated VR short Aurora to the public.
Aurora immerses the viewer in powerful visuals and sounds of nature. The emotive storyline offers a captivating experience, inviting viewers to reflect on the nature of time itself.
Directed by Aoife Doyle and produced by Niamh Herrity alongside writer Denis James Ryan, the team were awarded a bursary of €30k EUR by ADIFF, Screen Training Ireland & Audi Ireland to produce Aurora. Director Aoífe Doyle explains: “Emerging technologies have always been on our agenda since myself and Niamh founded the studio in 2014. Aurora has afforded us the opportunity to realise a goal of creating a storytelling piece in VR. It’s amazing that you can don a headset and be transported to another world. That’s the great thing about immersive storytelling!
“We hope AURORA gives the audience a space to experience and reflect on the passing of time. Time can be profound and precious, and we really wanted the audience to take a moment and appreciate that. The story follows the lives of a young family and all who inhabit the films vividly coloured landscape. We really wanted to create an emotional and immersive experience. As we watch the seasons change Nature herself becomes a central character in the piece”, continues Doyle.
Created in just four months, Aurora stayed true to Pink Kong Studios 2D sensibilities, with the virtual environment incorporating both 2D and 3D elements. The film premiered as a room scale experience utilising HTC Vive allowing certain elements of the film to be interactive.
“If you’re patient and still, you can enjoy the beauty of a fawn and its mother grazing a few feet from you but move too quickly towards them and you have the ability to spook them…just as you would in real life. The desire to implement these additional experiences for the audience within such a tight schedule led us to bring Peter Craddock and the team at Manchester based Studio Liddell onboard the project. We worked closely together to stay true to the vision of Aurora and I’m really proud of what the whole team achieved in such a short turn around,” Doyle adds.
Aurora will be taken to several more festivals and VR events around the world. Currently there’s been no mention of a wider home release. You can see the trailer here, and for any further updates, keep reading VRFocus.