ATLASV: Ayahuasca Kosmik Journey
Director Jan Kounen aimed to make a VR film which takes its audience through the mind-altering visual-aural journey of an ayahuasca ceremony. Kounen embraced the medium to bring this sensory-rich experience to life, stating that “VR, like AR (augmented reality) triggers our senses, brings out deeper issues and makes us perceive reality differently, as does science fiction which often makes us reflect on our world.”
What We Did:
Metastage worked alongside production house AtlasV to capture the presence of Peruvian shaman, Guillermo Arévalo for the experience. Kounen and Arévalo wanted to ensure that the user’s experience was accurate to life from the moment they enter the Peruvian jungle to the closing of the ceremony. As such, we filmed the different stages of the ritual piece by piece so that the artists and developers could string them together without sacrificing the integrity of shaman’s real process.
This production was particularly special in several ways. Arévalo is not an actor, and wanted to present his practice in the truest possible way. To do this, he took himself through a true meditation, allowing us to film his transportive state as if he were guiding us through a ceremony. Additionally, Kounen directed the experience remotely from France! We conference called him from there where he directed the entire piece through the night, wrapping at 4am Paris time.
With stunning environmental and game engine integration from AtlasV, A_Bahn and Small Studios, “Ayahuasca” is a deeply personal yet transportive piece bringing to light an ancient practice that has changed and continues to change the lives of many. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and went on to play at festivals in Geneva, Mexico and Arles. It is available on Steam and the Vive HTC store.
The power of human presence, in virtual 3D space.