Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton is the narrator of “Goliath: Playing With Reality,” a virtual reality experience about a schizophrenic man who finds human connection by playing video games, which is set to have its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival.

Directed by Barry Gene Murphy and May Abdalla, “Goliath” is a 25-minute animated VR experience that “explores the limits of reality, demonstrates the weight of mental illness and lauds the supportive power of the gaming community.” The project, slated to premiere Sept. 1, is from U.K. creative studio Anagram in a co-production with Paris production firm Floréal Films.

Swinton is the voice of Echo, the narrator who guides users through the many realities of Goliath, a man who spent years in isolating mental health institutions but who finds connection in multiplayer games. The VR experience, based on one man’s true-life story, is meant to shed an empathetic light on the condition of schizophrenia while taking users through multiple worlds to uncover Goliath’s story.

“Goliath: Playing With Reality” is part of the 2021 Venice Film Festival’s VR lineup presenting some three dozen titles, taking place Sept. 1-11 at the festival’s main venue as well as online via HTC’s Viveport and Facebook’s Oculus from Sept. 1-19.

“’Goliath’ is an exploration of the places we choose to feel safe in, and what it means to experience someone else’s reality,” directors Murphy and Abdalla said in a statement. “Through the use of VR technology, we immerse users in a world where things aren’t as they seem in an effort to unpack our preconceptions and prejudices around mental health and the shame engendered by psychiatric disorders.”

Added Murphy, “Tilda brought an understanding and otherworldly gravitas that lifted the character of Echo and the experience out of the ordinary. We hope her collaboration brings new audiences to the medium and with it, a deeper awareness of the subject matter of ‘Goliath.'”

“Goliath: Playing With Reality” was funded in part by Facebook Reality Labs’ Oculus VR for Good, an initiative designed to support content creators who see VR as “a way to make the world a better place.” Other support was provided by the British Film Institute, awarding funds from the National Lottery; Creative XR, Digital Catapult and the Arts Council England; Centre National du Cinéma et de L’image Animée; and StoryFutures Academy. It was developed thanks to La Biennale di Venezia – Biennale College Cinema VR.

More info about the VR experience is available at this link.

Scenes from “Goliath: Playing With Reality,” courtesy of Anagram:

Goliath Playing With Reality VR - Venice