Heart racing. Hands trembling. Suffocation. Pure Panic.

Angst: The Panic Attack is not the movie. It is a completely different experience that runs 7 minutes and requires Google Cardboard, earbuds, and an iOS or Android smartphone.

Anxiety attacks are endured by millions around the world. Their suffering is unimaginable to peers and loved ones who struggle to know how to help them. Until now. “Angst, the Panic Attack” takes us through the agony of a panic attack and the relief of overcoming it in a raw yet elegant, interactive virtual reality experience.

By experiencing the Angst VR component in addition to watching Angst the movie, we believe we can have an even deeper and more meaningful conversation around mental health (appropriate for ages 10 and up.) When booking the film we will include instructions on how to download the app and experience The Panic Attack. It’s easy!

Please note: The Panic Attack is not for everyone. People who have experienced panic attacks or extreme anxiety might not want to participate. However there are many who don’t quite understand how challenging it can be when one is experiencing a panic attack. Feedback from early users say AngstVR-The Panic Attack is a wonderful empathy tool.

 Synopsis

It’s the day of the big science test. Your peers casually converse and prepare to do their best while you struggle to even pick up a pencil. As the test begins, your anxiety and fears kick in. The entire environment becomes an inescapable source of panic triggers – one after the next, sending you relentlessly spiraling into a claustrophobic tunnel of anxiety. Your only hope is the teacher.

Runtime: 7m / USA

Director’s Notes & Production Context

Panic attacks are psychologically debilitating experiences. They can happen to anyone, but everyone experiences them in a distinctly personal way. A key challenge of “Angst: the Panic Attack” was creating an experience that was simultaneously universal while also being dramatically personal. The classroom test setting provided universality along with the casting of transgender actor Em Grosland as a unique Voice that embodies both female and male genders.

“Angst, the Panic Attack” is designed  to be an experience to which we respond both viscerally and intellectually. It succeeds as a means of developing compassion and providing an educational tool, while also being a technologically innovative experience with artistic merit. Our extraordinary team has women in every key position, in fields of film and technology which are traditionally male-dominated industries: Executive Producer (Karin Gornick), Producer (Scilla Andreen), Director/Writer (Stephanie Riggs), and Lead Performer (Jenny Howe).

Cardboard VR Virtual Reality Headset

Cardboard VR Virtual Reality Headset

In order to personalize the panic attack, we built interactive sound grids in the environment that trigger interactions in the experience based on where the audience is looking. Just as no two people experience a panic attack the same way, no two people will experience “Angst, the Panic Attack” the same way either. The anxiety builds, driving us into tunnel vision so overwhelming that (with a nod to Georges Méliès) the students disappear. Yet, it wasn’t enough to drive audiences into the depths of panic – we had to show them the way out. Jenny Howe was instrumental in scripting the Voice dialogue and demonstrating calming techniques in the experience that can be used by anyone to help overcome an anxiety attack.

 

Stephanie Riggs

Stephanie Riggs, Director

Internationally recognized virtual reality pioneer, Stephanie Riggs began developing interactive virtual worlds two decades ago. Her unique background in both theatrical narrative and computer science shapes her interdisciplinary approach to creating groundbreaking immersive entertainment. Select Work: First feature film on the Oculus Rift; First person invited to film a US President in 360 (Obama); 2015 World Record for simultaneous VR experience attendees; “Kanju,” (World Premiere: Tribeca); Digital Society VR Interface (SIGGRAPH); “Monet in Giverny” (InceptionVR). Select clients & collaborators: Intel, Disney, HBO, Fox Innovation Lab, Unity Labs, GoogleVR. Oculus “VR For Good”mentor; AR/VR Guest Lecturer, Yale University.

Cast and Crew

Voice
Em Grosland

Creator
Stephanie Riggs

Written by
Stephanie Riggs with Jenny Howe

Produced by
Scilla Andreen
Karin Gornick

AngstVR Crew


Cinematographer

Adrian Vasquez de Velasco


Utility
Ian Andreen

Post production services provided by

Post production services by East Coast Digital

Ambisonic Sound & Interactive Sound Design by 

Resounding Studio
Jeff Phaklides & Scott A. Jennings