Baba Yaga’s Forbidden Forest

Baba Yaga’s Forbidden Forest

We worked with 6-time Emmy Award winning animation studio Baobab Studios to build a custom, social VR World for the red carpet premiere of Baba Yaga – their newest virtual reality interactive movie.

APRIL 2022 – Our world was featured on a CBS This Morning metaverse spotlight segment with Baobab Studio’s own Maureen Fan:

Baba Yaga was also spotlighted as the first world featured in the AltspaceVR Worlds Showcase series!

If you’d like to visit this world, click the button below to visit the official AltspaceVR world page and add it to your favorites. Then you can access the world anytime from your favorites tab in-app.

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Guests spawn in a welcoming lobby. We worked with the studio to design a familiar red carpet entry to help guests acclimate to VR before proceeding to the event space. For many of the guests, this was their first VR experience.

“Like a lot of virtual reality developments, the gathering was hailed as history: the first bonafide red carpet premiere, replete with stars, a step-and-repeat, and a giant room filled with tastemakers from the industry making the rounds.”

-Eric Kohn, IndieWire

The virtual red carpet premiere was hosted by Baobab Studios and the Tribeca Film Festival. Guests included press, Baobab Co-Founder / Baba Yaga director and writer Eric Darnell (MadagascarAntz), Baobab CEO and Co-Founder Maureen Fan, the premiere’s Oscar-winning director Glen Keane (Over the Moon) and Baba Yaga stars: Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Rise of SkywalkerOphelia) and Oscar- and Grammy-winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), who also served as an executive producer on the film.

Eric Darnell and Daisy Ridley walk upstairs.

After getting acclimated, guests followed the red carpet upstairs and into a popup style tunnel, before emerging into the forest event space.

The Forest event space featured a few key areas, including: the main stage for the panel, an interactable area where guests could pick up props from the movie, a photo gallery, a tree cave featuring the movie’s magical witch blossom and masks that guests could try on, and an array of photo-op spots throughout the world.

“I’ve been holed up for a year, so this is the first party I’ve been to in a year and it’s great.”

-Daisy Ridley, voice of “Magda” in Baba Yaga

When the amazing Jennifer Hudson brags about something you created…

Jennifer Hudson was both an executive producer and voice actor for Baba Yaga. She posted about her experience at the virtual red carpet event and we were thrilled to know she enjoyed the event and world!

“Designed to look and feel like a real-life red carpet event, complete with photo ops and live interviews, organizers were able to take advantage of the unlimited possibilities that come when utilizing VR environments. Lining the perimeter of the virtual space were both 2D images and 3D models of characters from Baba Yaga. Attendees were able to walk around certain parts of the story and explore an enchanted forest. At one point during the event, Ridley—while mingling with attendees—moved her avatar next to a full digital 3D version of her character for a spontaneous photo op.”

-Bobby Carlton, VR Scout
Daisy Ridley poses with her character “Magda”
Jennifer Hudson voiced the Forest, and poses with one of its sentient trees.

Baba Yaga’s Forest was designed to immerse you into the forbidden forest where our brave young protagonist, Madga, goes on a search for the magical witch blossom that can save her ailing mother, the Chief of the village. However, the enigmatic witch Baba Yaga – sometimes a force for evil, sometimes a force for good – presides over the healing flower and her unease with the villagers’ encroachment challenges young Madga to rethink the relationship between humans and nature. Each decision that you help Madga make matters, perhaps even determining whether humanity and nature can live in balance. It is a story of love, fortitude, and magic.

Baba Yaga’s Forest is presented by Baobab Studios, produced by Leila Amirsadeghi (Mesh), Jenna Seiden (Vertically Coastal), and the Social VR world was built for AltspaceVR by Cause + Christi.
The Baba Yaga movie was written by Eric Darnell (“Madagascar” franchise), co-directed by Mathias Chelebourg, and executive produced by Jennifer Hudson, Maureen Fan, Larry Cutler, and Kane Lee.

Starring: Kate Winslet as Baba Yaga, Daisy Ridley as Magda, Jennifer Hudson as The Forest, Glenn Close as The Chief

Baba Yaga is centered on the theme of ecological preservation, inviting viewers to a haunting fairytale world where their choices determine whether humanity and nature can live in balance. The VR movie is featured in the ActNow mobile app developed by AWorld,  in support of the United Nations ActNow campaign  to promote individual action on climate change and a shift to more sustainable lifestyles. “Just like in ‘Baba Yaga,’ every choice we make matters,” said UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications Melissa Fleming. “Our daily actions and behaviors cumulatively have a big impact on the health of the planet. ActNow aims to empower people to be part of the solution to the climate crisis.”

You can find the Baba Yaga movie on the Oculus Store and experience this tale for yourself. Then, consider downloading the ActNow app to engage with this interactive story further!

Read More About Baobab Studios »


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