The Empathy Machine

‘The Empathy Machine’ is a 360 NOIR – Virtual Reality film experience that puts the viewer in the shoes of an amnesiac LA Detective on a mission to piece together clues to avenge the murder of his dead police partner.

Inspired by meeting Forensics Lecturer and Psychotherapist Jennifer Rees, along with the discovery of plans to rehabilitate criminal masterminds and Psychopaths with computer games, this short noir 360 drama explores a future use of VR beyond pure cinematic entertainment.

In this stand-alone 8-minute VR experience, David Lynch’s world collides with Lars Von Trier’s Dogville.

The viewer is the central detective character in the drama and the action unfolds around you like an immersive theatre performance.

Shot in London’s eerie Victorian hub space beneath The Roundhouse Theatre Camden, the cast of two actors play out all seven noir characters.

How are these riddlesome characters connected? Who put your partner in the morgue? Will you avenge your partner’s death? Is there something more ominous looming behind the cinematic experience?

This film is an exploration both in the cinematic production of VR (shooting with 1940s and 50s noir lighting techniques in this modern medium) as well as questioning the nature of VR in a sci-fi dystopian future.

Credits

A Furness Films LTD Production in collaboration with The Roundhouse for The Last Word Festival 2018, Floss Creative and Familia Films LLP, with the support of London Film Academy.

Production Information

The practicalities of shooting 2 actors playing all 7 parts was a bamboozling technical production puzzle, solved by creating a timed lighting set up akin to those used in live theatre productions.

Technically it was a first in how we shot each of the character’s gloomy worlds in separate sections, keeping the lighting set-up constant throughout the shoot for a smooth 360 edit and at compositing stage.

Plans are underway for May 2018, to screen ‘The Empathy Machine’ at The Roundhouse as part of their ‘The Last Word’ Festival.

The audience will be invited to engage with watching the film in a semi-immersive theatre experience in the hub space, where the film was shot.

Press Information

Gallery

‘The Empathy Machine’ Full Credits

CAST

TOMMY/ THE MOB GUY/ MOL SAM WOOLF
WIFE/ NURSE/ PSYCHIATRIST/ MISTRESS NATALIE SIMPSON
SHADOW MAN JONATHAN COOTE
ACTOR AGENT
With thanks to THE ARTIST’S PARTNERSHIP KIMBERLEY DONOVAN and RACHEL BRISCOE

TEAM

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER KARIM FAYED
DIRECTOR AVRIL FURNESS
CREATIVE ADVISOR DR. DAVE RANYARD
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER & ADVISOR ANNA MACDONALD -LONDON FILM ACADEMY
WRITER AVRIL FURNESS
WRITER DAMIAN SIMOR
WRITER BRITTANY KELLY
WRITER MIKE CROWE
SCRIPT EDITOR CYNTHIA DE SOUZA
PRODUCER TOBY WALSHAM – FAMILIA
CO-PRODUCER AVRIL FURNESS – FURNESS FILMS
PRODUCTION MANAGER HANNAH BILVERSTONE – FAMILIA
With thanks to and Produced with the support of LONDON FIM ACADEMY
With thanks to and Produced with the support of THE ROUNDHOUSE
SENIOR PRODUCER MARIE HORNER and RACHEL NELKIN
PRODUCTION MANAGER OLLIE PICKERING
HEALTH & SAFETY OFFICER CLAIRE GRIIFFIN
RUNNER MICHAEL WORNELL
RUNNER CLEO HOWARD
RUNNER BARTHOLOMEW (BART) JONES

VR PRODUCTION STUDIO

FLOSS CREATIVES
MD & EXECUTIVE PRODUCER SHAMSHER WALIA
360 TECHNOLOGIST RUNE BENDKISEN
VFX + VR SUPERVISOR REYNOLDS RODRIGUES
EDITORIALS, SEQUENCE POST THOMAS FAULKNER
With thanks to the team at NOKIA and for the NOKIA OZO
CINEMATOGRAPHER JAMES RHODES
GAFFER CHARLIE JENKINS
LIGHTING BOARD TECH ELLIOT TUCK LINEHAN-CROSS
1st ASSISTANT DIRECTOR GEORGE NELSON
ART DIRECTOR FRED ALLSOP
ART DEP ASSISTANT ALEXA FARROW
STANDBY CARPENTER PETER HARRIS
SOUND RECORDIST DARKO MOCILNIKAR
SOUND PLAYBACK RICHARD THOMAS
MAKE UP ARTIST ROBYN ROWAN
STYLIST TAFF WILLIAMSON
STYLIST ASSISTANT DAISY MICHIE
STILLS PHOTOGRAPHER TOM CARTER
RUNNER BARNEY GEE
CATERING RED HOT BOX CATERING
INSURANCE LAUREN GREEN – STONEHOUSE CONSEILLERS

POST PRODUCTION TEAM

SOUND DESIGN
With thanks to all at GRAND CENTRAL SOUND STUDIOS
VIRTUAL REALITY SOUND ARCHITECT STEVE LANE
PRODUCER MIKE HILL
PRODUCER MOLLY BUTCHER
SOUND DESIGNER GEORGE CASTLE
GRADE/ TELECINE C/O FLOSS CREATIVE
TITLE AND CREDIT DESIGN MATTHEW MURPHY – UNDERLINE CREATIVE
With thanks to ADOBE.