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VR Experience Gargoyle Doyle Gets A Trailer

Virtual Reality
has opened up a whole new dimension of storytelling. It can be used for interactive experiences and gaming, but it can also be used for films and experiences that offer a new level of immersion. Like many festivals Annecy International Animation Festival now includes a VR and XR selection. Amongst this year's selection is Gargoyle Doyle.

The 40-minute comedy is a "mixed reality" experience that takes place in both virtual and augmented reality (AR). It stars the voices of Jason Isaacs (hello to Jason- you'll either get that reference or you won't) Haley Joel Osment and T’Nia Miller.

Written and directed by Ethan Shaftel, it follow a Gargoyle named Doyle (voiced by Isaacs) who is stuck on the wall of a cathedral. He watches the world around him change for the better and for the worse. The film is a stylistic follow-up to Shaftel's previous VR animated comedy experiences Ajax The All-Powerful, which featured at Annecy 2020 and Tribeca 2020 and Kaiju Confidential which was selected for Sundance 2019 and starred Paul F. Tompkins and Blake Anderson.

The goal with my VR movies is to be just as accessible to a general audience as turning on your TV or sitting down in a movie theater, but yet offering something special that can only be experienced in a virtual world.” Shaftel said. "Comedy is a great genre in which to integrate novel elements of spatial storytelling, changes of size and scale, and elements of interactivity, in a way that delights and engages the audience.” 

Previously Gargoyle Doyle premiered at the Venice Film Festival, in September 2023 and was awarded a press association XR Fan Experience award from the Fanheart3 organization, dedicated "to the immersive work that, in terms of content, storytelling and storyliving dynamics, best meets the interests and needs of fan communities in terms of emotional and mental involvement." 

The experience utilises many of the unique features of the next generation of "spatial computing" platforms including Apple Vision Pro and Meta’s popular Quest headsets. Mixed reality allows virtual objects to appear in your real spaces, and hand tracking which allow you to interact with the experience without using game controllers.

Beyond Annecy. Shaftel says that the owners of VR headsets can expect a release of the experience sometime later this year."We want Gargoyle Doyle to be the thing you start up to show your friend or cousin that’s never tried VR before, knowing they’re going to love it," Shaftel adds.

Check out the trailer, below.

GARGOYLE DOYLE • Trailer from Ethan Shaftel on Vimeo.