BINTAN ISLAND, Indonesia – The Asian premiere of the award-winning virtual reality film The Doghouse will be staged at The Sanchaya on Saturday, May 7 as part of an innovative events series called Pala.
Written and directed by Johan Knattrup Jensen and produced by Mads Damsbo, The Doghouse is a 20-minute film installation project. Wearing Oculus Rift headsets, five viewers at a time immerse themselves in a narrative set at an awkward family dinner. Each viewer experiences the story through the eyes and ears of the five different actors.
Organised by The Sanchaya and high-profile Singapore-based events organiser Olga Iserlis, Pala aims to create a “modern Asian salon fostering intellectual and cultural exchange amongst Asia’s top players”.
“In The Doghouse, you see what the actor sees and hear what the actor hears so you become a character in the film, like an advanced role-playing game,” said Jensen. “We call it ‘first person reality’ as we place the spectator inside the character where the film is no longer fiction but reality.”
The Oculus Rift glasses enable viewers to peer around the dining room setting — at the ceiling, to the left and right, and even down the body of their designated character who may be a mother who drinks too much, a conflict-averse father, an older brother who brings home his new girlfriend for the first time or a younger brother trying to hold everything together.
"As you experience the film from the perspective of your character you see one-fifth of the truth, a subjective reality, and walk away with plenty of questions for the other viewers," said Jensen.
The Danish filmmakers Jensen and Damsbo will be present at the May 7 premiere, to host the experience over an evening of fine dining followed by a fireside conversation over whiskey and cigars about the future of virtual reality entertainment and storytelling.
With social societies and clubhouses primarily for networking re-emerging in recent years, Pala focuses on bringing internationally-renowned thought leaders, artists, and bespoke experiences to the region.
As part of Pala’s inaugural event held in December last year, a clutch of leading Hollywood figures including legendary film producer Edward R. Pressman and Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel gathered at The Sanchaya to share their perspectives on the film industry during an intimate overnight retreat.