The Czech Film Fund was founded in 2013 to provide support for filmmaking in the Czech Republic, and Darkening by Ondřej Moravec is the first VR movie to be supported by it.
The immersive movie is 25 minutes long, and it deals with depression and the ways to cope with it. The movie’s director is also his main protagonist, and he guides viewers through diverse landscapes that reflect his struggle with depression since puberty.
“I was thinking about Darkening right from the moment when I found out about virtual reality seven years ago. I had this idea to create an immersive simulation of what is going on in a human’s head during depression,” said Ondřej Moravec. “VR then became a great instrument to answer that question differently than with helpless silence.”
Moravec coauthored the script for the movie together with screenwriter Alice Krajčírová, under the supervision of script consultant Zdeněk Blaha. The movie was produced by Hana Blaha Šilarová under Frame Films (Czech Republic) in coproduction with Czech Brainz Immersive and Berlin-based NowHere Media.
Darkening will premiere at the Venice Immersive section of the 79th Venice International Film Festival together with 42 other projects, including The Man Who Couldn’t Leave by Chen Singing, Typeman by Keisuke Itoh, Rock Paper Scissors by Alex Ruhl, and Reimagined Volume I: Nyssa by Julie Cavaliere and Michaela Holland.
The total budget of the project was 560,000 EUR, with 240,000 EUR coming from the Czech Film Fund, 75,000 EUR provided by the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, 2,750 EUR by Filmtalent Zlín, and, finally, 5,000 EUR granted by the Unity for Humanity program.