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If you open the Disney Plus app and look past the bold posters of Marvel and Star Wars movies and shows, you’ll find a gem of a short called Remembering next to it. The delightful eight-minute film, Yes It’s Shorter Than Many YouTube Videos, stars Brie Larson and explores where ideas come from.
Larson’s character is a writer who is interrupted by her phone, causing her to lose an idea she had. Whether you’re a writer or not, you’ve probably been distracted by something on your phone long enough to lose your train of thought. This is one of the unfortunate consequences of being constantly connected and online.
Turns out, Larson’s idea wasn’t exactly lost. Instead, he is discovered by his inner child played by the mesmerizing and authentic Dusty Peak. What ensues is an enchanting journey filled with imagination, inspiration and innocence.
Remembering was written and directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, musician, and actor Elijah Allan-Blitz. The short can be enjoyed by people of all ages, but is definitely aimed at families with young children. Allan-Blitz’s short film is a thoughtful exploration of ideas and creativity.
The film, on its own, is compelling, but Allan-Blitz also created an interactive augmented reality (AR) experience to go along with the short. You download the Remembering: The AR Experience app on an iPhone or iPad, and during the movie you’re prompted to hold your device up. The world of imagination that is on screen spills over from your TV and into your living room. I highly recommend using as large a screen as possible.
Remembering’s AR experience is accessible and simple, which is what makes it so appealing. You don’t need silly glasses or be tech-savvy to enjoy it.
On CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast, Allan-Blitz explained the origins of Remembering and his AR experience. He was influenced by writer Elizabeth Gilbert as well as reflections on his own creative process. But the real driving force behind the film came from Allan-Blitz’s 6-year-old neighbor.
“Our neighbor Dusty is this amazing 6-year-old girl I’ve known since she was two. I remember it was during the pandemic, and Brie [Larson] came back and said to me, ‘You should do a movie with Dusty.’ And I was like, sure, yeah. I love it,” Allan-Blitz said. “So I started working on the script. And the AR experience has always been there.”
Before Allan-Blitz filmed a single frame of Remembering, he made a name for himself making captivating virtual reality (VR) experiences like Take Every Wave: Laird in VR which was nominated for an Emmy as well as for PBS and Michael Pollan’s book, How to Change Your Mind. In 2020, he won an Emmy for a virtual reality series he co-created with Van Jones called The Messy Truth VR Experience. It allows viewers to see the world from another person’s perspective.
During our conversation, Allan-Blitz explains how his life as a filmmaker began as a child making movies on VHS tape. We dig deeper into what makes augmented reality and virtual reality compelling and why the two are on different paths to gaining wider acceptance. One of the highlights of my time at Allan-Blitz was listening to him explain a pivotal moment of the VR experience he made for Ken Burns’ documentary, Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War.
“We recreated a moment when Martha Sharp was able to save 27 Jewish children and took them on this boat to the United States. And so we put you in the perspective of standing on the boat. And you see the real survivors and the kids that were on that ship, who are now in their 80s and 90s, in the sky, and they would tell their stories of what it was like to be separated from their parents,” Allan-Blitz said. “And beyond that boat, you look out over the water and see the Statue of Liberty for the first time.”
You can watch Remember on Disney Plus. Subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo and I meet an artist, actor, or creator to learn more about their work, career, and current obsessions.
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