Baobab Studios will premiere “Chapter One” of its immersive animated experience “Crow: The Legend” at the Cannes Film Festival today, May 12. The film will take over all five of the virtual reality screening booths at Next, the fest’s innovation hub.
“Crow: The Legend,” written and directed by Baobab co-founder Eric Darnell, is inspired by a Native American tale about the origin of the crow, who was once the most beautiful creature in the forest. He must sacrifice everything he believes matters in order to make the world a better place.
John Legend stars as Crow and also serves as executive producer. Baobab recently announced that Oprah Winfrey joined the cast, which also features Tye Sheridan, Diego Luna, Constance Wu, Lisa Koshy, and Native rights activist and tribal elder Randy Edmonds.
“We tried to be inspired and thoughtful in our casting for ‘Crow.’ Diversity is an inherent theme in this story,” says Darnell, in Cannes with the project. “Not only did we want voices that were right for the roles, we also wanted actors who were passionate about the story and its beautiful and timely themes of self sacrifice and self acceptance.”
Winfrey’s casting was announced just ahead of the festival.
“Oprah plays ‘The One Who Creates Everything by Thinking,’ the spirit who thinks up the entire universe and the one Crow must seek out when the very first winter on the planet threatens the lives of the forest creatures,” Darnell explains. “Oprah brings a wonderfully down to earth and, frankly, zany take to this character, who turns out to be, by all appearances, the exact opposite of what Crow is expecting.”
The interactive event will introduce viewers to a completely immersive experience, allowing them to participate in the film by breaking the fourth wall and joining the characters on their journey.
“It is an honor to introduce the first chapter of ‘Crow: The Legend’ to audiences at Cannes,” said Legend. “The Native American storytelling tradition from which this work drew its inspiration, is powerful and important. I’m pleased to help bring this story to life for 21st century audiences. As a fan of animation, I also hope this interactive experience will excite viewers about the endless possibilities of the medium.”
“Chapter One” of “Crow: The Legend” runs for about 12 minutes. “Chapter Two” will debut later this year.