The stop-motion animation work, titled “The Sick Rose,” will debut during the VR competition at the Venice Film Festival this week. The creation amalgamates traditional Taiwanese dough figurine handicraft and VR technology. Accredited Venice delegates would get the opportunity to interact with “The Sick Rose” post the festival via the Viveport portal until September 19.
The film has been co-directed by Tang Zhi-Zhong and Huang Yun-Hsien, and its production took 14 months of studio work. The team used high-end 360 8K stereo 3D micro-photography, 35 character designs, ten sets of urban buildings, and tens of thousands of hand-made components for its creation. Reportedly, the undisclosed budget of the film could be somewhere in the range of tens of millions of Taiwan dollars.
The content arm of tech firm HTC Vive, HTC Vive Originals, and TurnRhino Original Design Studio have jointly produced “The Sick Rose.” This is the seventh film to be produced by HTC-Vive Originals that has been selected for Venice since the festival began incorporating VR works.
The production companies stated that the film represents significant progress compared to their past productions and “enables the viewers to immerse themselves deeper into another world in a different time.” The directors, however, take a more cinematic perspective. “We found ourselves overwhelmingly influenced by ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’,” said Tang.
“The Sick Rose” presents the tale of a sick little girl’s exhilarating journey during the pandemic. While traveling to her mother, who was in the hospital, she interacts with various fantasy characters and experiences strange incidents, such as singing and dancing skeleton birds.
The film runs for about 17 minutes, involving 13,000 frames of content. “Each component had to be cut, polished, trimmed, and colored before being enveloped in protective paint, therefore increasing the overall workload by 4 to 8 times compared with the conventional 2D stop-motion animation,” said Huang.
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