TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A virtual reality short film from Taiwanese director, John Hsu (徐漢強), will be showcased at the SXSW Festival taking place in Austin Texas over the next week, March 8-16.
The unique VR short film, is entitled “Your Spiritual Temple Sucks,” (全能元神宮改造王), and tells the story of a couple dealing with marital problems, and the deity that is enlisted to help them, and who appears as a slovenly Pikachu.
John Hsu says the concept for the film was based on a traditional Taoist ritual, in which a person is blindfolded, and guided to their “spiritual temple” by a monk, where they can make changes in the spiritual realm, and hopefully improve their life in the secular realm.
The concept of blindfolding an individual and leading them to another realm reminded Hsu of modern day virtual reality, and sparked the idea for the film.
Hsu’s VR film project, which debuted at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, has received recommendation by the American Film Showcase.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, and the American Institute of Taiwan jointly endorsed the film’s entry for this year’s SXSW Festival, where it will appears as part of the Virtual Cinema Exhibition in Austin, Texas, and as a topic for discussion at one of the SXSW the Convergence Track forums on virtual reality.
Hsu received a grant for the VR project from the Kaohsiung City Government in 2017 to experiment with VR technology in film creation, reports Liberty Times.
The film provides the audience with a front row seat between the mundane realm, and the spiritual realm, as a less than ideal deity influences the life of a struggling married couple.
John Hsu’s explanation of the project can be viewed below.
Below is a video of John Hsu along with the technical officer, Ting-Yu Chuang, and stereoscopic suervisor, Ming-Yuan Chuan, of Funique VR discussing the project.