Walt Disney releases its new VR Shortfilm

Walt Disney Animation Studios debut its groundbreaking new VR short, Myth: A Frozen Tale, at the World Premiere of Frozen 2 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on 7th November. Directed by Jeff Gipson (Disney Animation’s Cycles), Myth: A Frozen Tale explores the world of Frozen 2 in an immersive way using the latest advances in VR technology, an original music score, and stylized art direction to deliver a unique virtual and visceral experience. Myth: A Frozen Tale is the first Disney Animation VR short inspired by one of its feature films. Gipson had previously helmed Disney’s first-ever VR short, Cycles,  which debuted at SIGGRAPH in 2018, won The Advanced Imaging Society’s 2019 Lumiere Award for “Best Animated VR Experience,” and received 2 VES nominations.

Premiere guests will be able to view Myth: A Frozen Tale on the latest generation of the Positron Voyager Chair, which provides a cinematic VR experience showcasing Positron’s unique motion and multi-sensory capabilities which brings the audience into a deeper level of immersion and emotional connection to the story.

Myth: A Frozen Tale was produced by Nicholas Russell who also helped oversee Disney Animation’s Short Circuit experimental film program. Jose Luis Gomez Diaz served as VR Technology Supervisor on the film. Both worked on the award-winning Cycles with Gipson. Frozen and Frozen 2 visual development artist Brittney Lee is the production designer.

Commenting on the announcement, Clark Spencer, president of Walt Disney Animation Studios, said, “Frozen 2 takes place in such an incredibly rich and exciting cinematic environment, and Myth: A Frozen Tale allows viewers to explore and experience this world in a whole new way.  Jeff Gipson is one of the leading pioneers in the world of VR, and he found a way to immerse viewers in this world that wouldn’t have been possible any other way.  We are so excited to share this amazing VR film with audiences everywhere.”

Gipson added, “The idea for Myth: A Frozen Tale came from a personal place for me, and was inspired by my family’s tradition of telling bedtime stories.  This led me to start thinking about what the world of Frozen and some of the film’s new elemental characters would look like in VR.  Myth: A Frozen Tale is set in a forest outside of Arendelle as a family sits down for a bedtime story.  As the mother reads, the audience is transported to a mystical and enchanted forest where the elemental spirits come to life and the myths of their past and future is revealed.  With breathtaking production design by Brittney Lee and a brilliant musical score by Joseph Trapanese, this film follows in the Fantasia legacy of using imagery and music together in an experimental way, using the latest advances in virtual reality to achieve that.”

Jeffrey Travis, CEO of Positron, said, “We’re thrilled to see Disney Animation embracing cinematic VR as a story-telling medium, and Positron is excited to have partnered with the filmmakers of Myth: A Frozen Tale to bring a deeper level of immersion with motion and haptics in our award-winning Voyager chair.  Audiences are going to love this film.”

Russell noted, “The Positron Voyager chair allows the viewer to truly immerse themselves into the storytelling. As a tool for experiencing cinematic VR, the Positron Voyager chair is unrivalled.”

The partnership between Positron and Walt Disney Animation Studios to enhance the VR film was secured by StudioLAB. StudioLAB’s strategy is to continuously innovate new ways to experience content and assist Studio creatives in pushing the limits on advance technology.

Announcements on where VR and Frozen fans can view the short are yet to come.

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Ashwathi Anoopkumar