SXSW World Premiere of “(Hi)Story of a Painting: The Light in the Shadow” VR Experience

“(Hi)Story of a Painting: The Light in the Shadow” is the second in the series, the first world “(Hi)Story of a Painting: What’s the Point?” premiered at SXSW in 2021 to great acclaim and award consideration. Narrated by contemporary creative influencers, each episode uncovers themes from the artist’s context that resonate with contemporary life. The series aims to engage with and empower viewers to better understand the art that influenced our world. This second episode is an exploration of an extraordinary artist’s life and work — Artemisia’s story highlights the obstacles that she overcame as a woman and as an artist. Extraordinary women have of course always existed, but the history books often have a selective memory and this shines a light on a woman we really should all know about. There’s a big resurgence of these kinds of stories today, which is incredibly stimulating and encouraging.


“(Hi)Story of a Painting: The Light in the Shadow” is animated 6dof VR series aimed at engaging young audiences with art by creating intimate, gripping, and relatable experiences focused on the human stories behind some of the world’s greatest art and artists.


The viewer is led on a powerfully immersive journey into Artemisia Gentileschi’s world and discovers how this self-portrait shines a light on her life as a survivor, an internationally celebrated artist and a woman in 17th Century Italy. Artemisia Gentileschi is the epitome of a woman overcoming all odds that made life compromising and brutal –her story in many ways can inspire women, truly all genders today. Artemisia was born in late 16th century Rome, when women had virtually no rights and were essentially men’s property. When Artemisia’s mother dies when she is only 12, she is thrown into the trenches of cut-throat adult life as she becomes her father’s painting assistant, where her unparalleled talent is discovered. Her father begins passing her paintings off as his own and during this time she suffers an assault by one of her father’s contemporary’s, eventually going to court against her attacker. Artemisia painted herself into posterity. This story is about how she rose up against the odds and impressed the whole of Europe with her talent within her own lifetime, and continues to capture our imaginations today.


Synopsis: A 6dof series aimed at engaging young audiences with art by creating intimate and gripping experiences focused on the stories behind some of the world’s greatest art and artists.


Narrated by Cerys Matthews, this episode, “The Light in the Shadow”, explores the extraordinary story of one of today’s most celebrated Baroque artists: Artemisia Gentileschi. We follow her journey as she navigates a world where women have virtually no rights, and becomes one of Europe’s most celebrated and in-demand painters of her time.


Artemisia painted herself into posterity within her own lifetime – this story is about how she rose up against the odds and continues to capture our imaginations today.


Director & Creator Bios

Quentin Darras, creator, co-director, animator, technical lead on HOAP : Quentin Darras, a former child actor, decided to move beyond the camera to become an Animator and Director. He has been working in the 2D and 3D animation industry for over 10 years on movies, commercials and games and has worked as lead animator on international commercial campaigns for clients such as Nintendo and Creative Directing Blast’s 2018 ad campaign. Quentin has worked on immersive commercial projects for Honda and Octonauts, and in 2020, he co-created the VR animated series (Hi)Story of a Painting. The first episode premiered at SXSW 2021 and the second episode is also in official selection at SXSW 2022.


Gaëlle Mourre, creator, writer, co-director, producer on HOAP: Gaëlle is an immersive and film Writer, Director based in London. She is a Sundance, SXSW, Venice Production Bridge, Series Mania, Story Futures Academy and LSFF alum. Her short films include Awakening (starring Tracy Wiles, WINNER Best Drama at New York Shorts Film Festival 2015), The Feast (starring Katie Leung, WINNER Best Production Design at Underwire Film Festival 2018) and Mechanical Souls (starring Janet Hsieh, George Young and Patty Lee, WINNER Best VR Stereography at the EMEA Lumière Awards 2019). In 2020, Gaëlle Creative Directed the Mechanical Souls Graphic Novel adaptation in English, French and Mandarin.


Gaëlle is a 2022 Berlinale Talent, was part of the 2021 BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew cohort and was a 2019-2020 Directors UK Inspire Mentee. Gaëlle is also an immersive content tutor / mentor and speaker, invited internationally to share her insights on immersive content creation.


In 2020, she co-created the VR series, (Hi)story of a Painting (HOAP), which received phase 1 and 2 funding from Arts Council England and Digital Catapult through the competitive Creative XR programme and in 2021 received further support from Innovate UK. Episode 1 of the HOAP series received its world premiere in competition at SXSW 2021 and was nominated for a Crystal Owl Award. Episode 2 is also receiving its world premiere at SXSW as an official selection in the XR competition.


In 2021, Gaëlle was awarded “Most Promising Creator” by Eurofest XR at Stereopsia. She is in development on her debut feature film and is currently working on a number of new immersive projects.


Gaëlle trained as a writer at the NFTS, from which she holds a certificate, and as a writer, director at the London Film School, from which she holds an MA in Filmmaking. She also holds a BA in Art History and Spanish Literature from Skidmore College.


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