Oscar winners Kate Winslet, Jennifer Hudson and Glenn Close have joined Daisy Ridley in the all-female voice cast of Baba Yaga, an immersive VR animated film that will premiere at the Venice Film Festival next month.
In the VR experience, viewers enter a haunting fairytale world, joining their sister Magda (Ridley) on a quest to heal their mother (Close) by entering an enchanted forest (Hudson) to obtain the cure from the enigmatic witch, Baba Yaga (Winslet). The choices the viewer makes determine the outcome of the story.
Baba Yaga is the latest VR film from Baobab Studios, producers of Emmy and Annie-award winning VR short Crow the Legend, voiced by John Legend and Constance Wu. Hudson acted as an executive producer on Baba Yaga, which will celebrate its world premiere at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival as part of the Venice VR Expanded program.
“Baba Yaga is a beautiful work of animation and I was honored to be an executive producer alongside my talented collaborators at Baobab Studios,” said Hudson. “While the story is rooted in classic folklore, we were inspired to bring it into modern light by focusing on environmental themes and strong female characters, themes the world needs to explore now more than ever. It was my pleasure to be part of the strong female cast alongside Daisy, Kate, and Glenn.”
Maureen Fan, Larry Cutler, and Kane Lee executive produced Baba Yaga alongside Hudson.
Eric Darnell, who directed the VR film and is a co-founder of Baobab Studios, said it was “especially challenging” to produce Baba Yaga during the coronavirus pandemic but that the actress quartet of Ridley, Winslet, Hudson and Close all “rose to this unique occasion with tremendous energy and passion in creating their characters and I’m proud of what we accomplished together. It is validating to have our work recognized by the Venice Film Festival and we look forward to sharing the experience with VR audiences around the globe.”
Baba Yaga will be presented at Venice VR Expanded from Sept. 2-12 and can be viewed in-person at VR lounges at several cultural institutions and events around the world that are part of the so-called Satellite Programme network. Currently, these range from the Sandbox Immersive Festival at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, to Moscow’s Design Center Flacon to Invr. Space center in Berlin to the Portland Art Museum’s Northwest Film Center.
Baba Yaga will be available exclusively on Oculus Quest later this year.