GEIMU - a live-action VR film

Emi, a gamer, and her friend Hiroshi illegally hack together her gaming console and her AI device (like a Google Home or Amazon Alexa) and then enter the virtual reality RPG (role-playing-game) game world that the AI creates, set in medieval Japan. As they progress in the game, it becomes increasingly glitchy and weird and it becomes evident that Emi and her friend’s lives may be in danger from a deviant AI. Will Emi complete her mission and save the princess or does the AI have other more nefarious plans?

23min, 5760x2880, Stereoscopic 3D VR180 with Ambisonic Audio + Head-lock Stereo

  • Dorian Goto Stone
    Director
  • Dorian Goto Stone
    Writer
  • Dorian Goto Stone
    Producer
  • Tomoaki Iwakura
    Producer
  • Kouken Sugiura
    Producer
  • Aimi Sekiguchi
    Key Cast
    "Emi"
  • Katsuyuki Miyake
    Key Cast
    "Hiroshi"
  • Natsuna Ihara
    Key Cast
    "Kunoichi"
  • Hirotaka Imanishi
    Key Cast
    "Daimyo"
  • Rina Oikawa
    Key Cast
    "Pixie"
  • Hideaki Miyajima
    Ninjas
  • Tomoharu Satou
    Ninjas
  • Hayato Saitou
    Ninjas
  • Tatsuya Wakabayashi
    Ninjas
  • Hidekazu Kitazaki
    Ninjas
  • Tatuya Kosuge
    Ninjas
  • Shiti Mayumi
    Ninjas
  • Akane Shiki
    Ninjas
  • Nabiki
    Ninjas
  • Tachiro Natsume
    Kappas
  • Yuta Kawasaki
    Kappas
  • Ayano Mienishi
    Kappas
  • Sueo Sugimoto (chara shanben)
    Kappas
  • Kouken Sugiura
    Emi Action Double
  • Dorian Goto Stone
    Casting
  • Masaki Komatsu
    Casting
  • Sueo Sugimoto (chara shanben)
    Casting
  • Tomoaki Iwakura JSC
    Director of Photography
    A Single Mom, Sorokin no mita sakura
  • Toshiyuki Kakihara
    Assistant Director
  • Ryota Sakakibara, Progresso Co., Ltd.
    Gaffer
  • Julian Jacques Rochon, Progresso Co., Ltd.
    Gaffer
  • Masaki Komatsu
    Sword Fighting Choreographer
  • Masato Ushijima
    Sound Department
  • FIRSTYGRAPHICS
    Game Icon Design
  • Castle
    Locations
    Sakasai Castle Ruins Park, Bando City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, Courtesy of Bando Film Commission
  • Forest
    Locations
    Chuchan Bokujo, Susuno City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
  • Living Room
    Locations
    YouTube Space Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • Mari Idaka
    Special Effects Makeup
  • Anna Kakehi
    Special Effects Makeup
  • Hiromi Matsuoka (Tiss)
    Special Effects Makeup
  • Miyuka Tahara
    Special Effects Makeup
  • Katsuyuki Noguchi
    Horse Wrangler
  • Kouken Sugihara
    Horse Wrangler
  • Gotemba Culture Farm
    Horse Provider
  • Sueo Sugimoto (chara shanben)
    Kappa Wrangler
  • Jiro Ohashi
    Jib/Crane
  • Masao Yamagata
    Production Assistants
  • So Takashima
    Production Assistants
  • Yuki Nakamuta
    Production Assistants
  • Michiko Zentoh
    Production Assistants
  • Lise Hirooka
    Costume Designer, VR Suits
  • Tokyo Isho Co., Ltd.
    Wardrobe
  • MYST. - The Samurai Rock Band
    Wardrobe
  • Takatsu Sousyokubijutu Co., Ltd.
    Medieval Props
  • Masaki Komatsu
    Medieval Props
  • mahna mahna co., ltd.
    Wardrobe (Emi and Hiroshi)
  • Dorian Goto Stone
    Editor
  • Dorian Goto Stone
    VR Stitching
  • Dorian Goto Stone
    VFX Compositing and Animation
  • Sonologic-Design / Masato Ushijima
    Ambisonic Audio Post Production Sound Design & Mix
  • Masanori Otsuka
    Composer
  • Masaki Imanishi
    Colorist
  • 3umaleto motion design
    HUD Graphics
  • ITSUWARI NO DANZAI "Deceitful Conviction" by MYST. The Samurai Rock Band
    End Roll Song
  • Makoto Hirose
    Special Thanks
  • Naoto Somese
    Special Thanks
  • Sebastian Hagemeister
    Special Thanks
  • Keiya Ando
    Special Thanks
  • Mikuriya-san
    Special Thanks
  • VR Scout
    Special Thanks
  • Google / YouTube
    Special Thanks
  • Bando Film Commission
    Special Thanks
  • Gotemba Culture Farm
    Special Thanks
  • Asaikikaku
    Special Thanks
  • MYST. - The Samurai Rock Band
    Special Thanks
  • Yeager Film
    Warp Tunnel
  • Genres:
    Action, Scifi, Horror
  • Runtime:
    23 minutes 14 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 6, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Japan
  • Language:
    Japanese
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Vancouver International Film Festival - Immersed
    Vancouver
    Canada
    September 24, 2020
    Festival World Premiere
    Finalist
  • Raindance Org's Japan Indies Film Festival (JIFF)
    Tokyo
    Japan
    November 16, 2020
    Winner - VR
  • 4K・VR Tokushima Film Festival
    Tokushima
    Japan
    October 1, 2020
    Winner - VR
  • Fantasy Film Festival FFF - Le Festival du Film du Fantasme
    Paris
    France
    June 15, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Five Flavours Film Festival
    Warsaw
    Poland
    November 17, 2020
    Official Selection
  • IMAGINE Film Festival
    Amsterdam
    Netherlands
    April 7, 2021
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Dorian Goto Stone

Dorian Goto Stone is a Japanese-American filmmaker, born and raised in NYC, with over a dozen years of experience working and living in Japan. He is fluent in Japanese, and the culture is an integral part of his identity and life.

Dorian began his career in New York as a freelance filmmaker shooting, directing and producing a variety of content across television, web, independent film and theatre.

From 2012 to 2018 he moved to Japan where he launched and managed the YouTube Space in Tokyo, the third YouTube Space in the world. He developed a broad range of educational programs, events and production services serving thousands of creators from all over Japan and the world.

In 2018, he returned to his passion, filmmaking. He is currently working as a freelance videographer, writer, director and producer in Japan in both traditional video/film as well as live-action VR.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Medieval Japan and films about that era have an enduring hold on the imaginations of people all across the world, and it is a genre that I am personally very passionate about. When coming up with GEIMU, I thought, how incredible would it be if you could experience that world in live-action 3D virtual reality from a first person perspective? I wanted to make it fun and full of action and adventure. By setting it in a video game world, I bring the story into the modern day, making it more relatable and immediately accessible to the audience, while giving it a sci-fi twist. The film's style is influenced by Japanese tokusatsu or special effects movies of the 20th century with its overall style, tone, and use of both practical and visual effects.

Being Japanese-American and having grown up with the culture in my life and having lived and worked in Japan for over a decade, it was very important to me to be faithful to Japanese period piece conventions. Decades of collective experience went into getting the speech, mannerisms, sword fighting choreography, wardrobe and props just right in GEIMU. We even had a traditional Japanese horse on which our pov action double who is a yabusame practitioner (samurai traditional horseback archer) filmed the ride.

In order to create a compelling game world, we needed it to feel expansive. So we added a fair amount of movement and travel in the story. There is also significant sword action, and cool things you would experience in a fantasy game world like jumping 20 feet in the air and riding a galloping horse. We went to great lengths from pre through post production to achieve these experiences while virtually eliminating motion sickness in the viewer. We used a variety of tools to achieve this including a Quick Crane, a Ronin-S and a body rig that we custom made.

The POV is always situated in the story - you are viewing either as the AI device in Emi's living room or through Emi's VR goggles in the game world - thus you are fully integrated in the story - you are never a "ghost". I also chose to do away with the mute character convention. I believe the VR format is too young for there to be "rules". I find that a POV character not being able to talk has the opposite effect of drawing attention to itself and is thus a distraction from the immersive narrative.

GEIMU was made at a fraction of the cost of most VR films currently in the market. The project was made possible by Google and VRScout's VR180 Lab, a program that provided training and resources to filmmakers to make VR180 videos for YouTube, with additional funding paid out of my own pocket.

GEIMU is an exploration of the intersection of VR and film. While interactivity is a key component of games in VR, it was my intent with this film to make it immersive yet able to be enjoyed passively as with a traditional 2D film. It is designed to keep the viewer engaged with a well-paced plot that unfolds with continual surprises. There is plenty of action and assorted details throughout each scene that reward multiple viewings. Several lengthy scenes are single takes with complex choreography.

From my experience on this VR film, I am truly excited by the potential that VR has for cinematic storytelling. For over a century cinema has been experienced as a glowing rectangle but now with virtual reality, those boundaries are gone. It is very exciting as we traverse this uncharted territory, and I look forward to seeing the format continuously evolve.
I truly hope that you enjoy this unique and thrilling cinematic VR experience.