Normal Day

“Normal Day” is a VR film which I co-directed and co-produced with Nataliya Babenko and Aayushman Pendey over three months for a course focused on a collaboration between the interactive technology and film programs at NYU.

As myself and my team were inspired by the capabilities and limitations of conveying empathy through VR and AR, we decided to create an interactive VR documentary film that poetically shows a day in the life of cancer survivor Tatyana Kot. In this interactive 360° VR documentary, the user is fully immersed into the physical and emotional elements of Tatyana’s day-to-day life.


Under the ironic title “Normal Day”, our film shows the patient’s attempt to maintain a fragile day-to-day balance between work and friends, MRI scans, chemotherapy, and doctor’s appointments. Nataliya is a dancer, and after mastectomy her body, presented as something sacred, is not the same anymore. The movie reflects the mourning of her loss, while celebrating her will to survive.

One of the key themes of the film, as the title suggests, is the notion of normality and how it is perceived in our society. On the one hand, modern times encourage transparency as we try to shed the taboos on certain aspects of life; on the other hand, the movie presents the struggle of Nataliya to behave within a social frame that urges us to always act and react ‘normally’ in public, no matter how one really feels, to avoid confusion or disturbance, a phenomenon that is particularly glaring on traditional and social media, where people are expected to always present their best self. The film portrays how normality can be often misunderstood and misinterpreted.

The other key theme mentioned before, the conveyance of empathy, is being investigated in the form of a behavioural experiment; Nataliya holds her hand out towards the viewer and waits –  will the viewer reach out their hand to touch it? If yes, the moderator would physically touch their hand in order to resume the film. Using a capacitive sensor, the film will only continue as long as the hands are touching, immersing the viewer in a deeply personal experience and introducing the sense of touch in an era when fully fledged haptic technology was not readily available on VR.


  • Semi-Finalist at the 2018 Los Angeles CineFest
  • Best Virtual Reality at the 2018 Global Film Festival Awards
  • Best VR/AR and 360 Film at the 2018 Calcutta International Cult Film Festival
  • Official Selection of FilmGate Interactive in 2018
  • Official Selection of The Block in 2018
  • Silver Award at the 2018 Virgin Spring Cinefest
  • Faculty Commendation for VR Filmmaking at the 2018 First Run Film Festival
  • Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2018 Cult Critic Movie Awards