The Imaginary Friend
Become an Imaginary Friend! A grieving child struggles to separate reality from fantasy. He creates YOU–his (imaginary) friend–to fight the monsters in his mind. Although you have fun together, he starts to grow disconnected from his surroundings… Are you helping, or just making things worse?
The Imaginary Friend invites you to take part in the vivid imagination of Daniel, a grieving eight-year-old struggling with the line between reality and fantasy.
Become Daniel’s imaginary friend and let him share his world with you. Discover his joys and anxieties, even help him fight his demons head-on. However, as you spend time together, Daniel’s surroundings don’t quite understand. Why is he talking to himself? Is he crazy? When his father intends to fix him, Daniel needs to figure out his feelings before disconnecting from reality completely…
With its unique point of view in storytelling and the latest technical developments in VR, The Imaginary Friend presents an intimate experience unmatched in the VR landscape. Daniel sees, talks and interacts with you, allowing you to form a deeply personal bond with the boy. Through interactive gameplay, you don’t only push the story forward but also actively participate in Daniel’s life.
Written and directed by Steye Hallema.
Short Synopsis (Story)
Eight-year-old Daniel has recently lost his mother… With his feelings all muddled, he is deeply afraid that the Kill Ghosts are out to get his happy memories of her! To fight them off, he thinks up YOU, the player. Finally having someone to talk to, he excitedly begins to share his world with you. However, the more Daniel engages with you, the more the world around begins to question his sanity. Is he talking to himself? Bullied by his classmates, Daniel retreats further into his imagination. A worried father tries to intervene, taking Daniel to the ‘head-fixers’!
After the visit to the hospital Daniel isn’t quite sure any more about what’s real and what’s imagined. He forcefully attempts to remove you from his mind. However, as soon as the Kill Ghosts attack again, you return. When the monsters get the upper hand, you and Daniel take flight. The words of Daniel’s mother give strength, helping Daniel realise he himself is in control of his imagination.
The Imaginary Friend is a production of Studio Biarritz in coproduction with Submarine Channel (NL) and Cassette for timescapes (Belgium), in collaboration with 4DR Studios, Wildvreemd, Demute, APVIS and Dat!school.
Status: World Premiere @ la Biennale di Venezia, Venice Immersive 2023.
Premiere in NL at the Netherlands Film Festival September 22-28 in Utrecht and showcase at Cinekid October 15-27, in Amsterdam. More to come soon!
Please visit theimaginaryfriend.nl for all future events, press information and recent updates!
Running time: ’26 minutes
An interactive, cinematic Virtual Reality experience
The Imaginary Friend was presented as part of the Gap Financing Market at the Venice Biennale and VR DAYS Europe / IFFR PRO in 2018.