In honor of World Cancer Day, we’re taking another look at The Evolution of Testicles, an Oculus VR for Good Creators Lab project filmed in collaboration with the Male Cancer Awareness Campaign. Directed by Flight School Studio VR Technical Director Ryan Hartsell, The Evolution of Testicles stars actor Chris O’Dowd (Molly’s Game, Bridesmaids) and mixes comedy, history, and a 100-foot floating scrotum called Skyballs to raise awareness of male cancer and the importance of self-examination.
The ballsy formula has worked so far: The Evolution of Testicles won Best Social Impact VR Experience at London’s Raindance Film Festival and Best VR Film from the London Short Series Fest. It was also an official selection of the SXSW 2018 Film Festival.
“The cure for most cancers is in our own hands,” says CEO of Male Cancer Awareness Campaign Patrick Cox. “We lose too many people to a lack of education and awareness on early warning signs, resulting in late cancer diagnoses. We are all affected by cancer—every family, every community. We cannot stop cancer from happening, but we can ensure that more and more people survive it.”
Serious business, but also a fair amount of fun. We had a quick chat with Evolution of Testicles actor Chris O’Dowd on the new film and the importance of humor in raising cancer awareness.
How did you first get involved in this project, and what were your initial thoughts on the somewhat testy subject matter?
Chris O’Dowd: I’ve been working with the Male Cancer Awareness Campaign for a few years now. When Patrick pitched the idea of a hot-air balloon in the shape of testicles, I thought it was suitably ballsy.
How does The Evolution of Testicles help confront one of the touchiest subjects facing men today?
CO: Men tend to be embarrassed about sharing medical issues, especially when it comes to their genitals. The Evolution of Testicles is a light-hearted way to remind fellas that we’re all in this together, our balls need to be taken care of, and there’s nothing to lose from having a squeeze.
VR filmmaking and testicular cancer form quite a pair. Why go about telling this story in such an immersive format?
CO: Our entire campaign is about raising awareness. These days, raising eyebrows is a must in doing that. VR is a wonderful avenue to tackle a difficult subject in a new way.
What was it like soaring through the desert air in Skyballs, the world’s first scrotum-shaped airship?
CO: Truly terrifying. And yet, given the odd nature of my transportation, I felt like a pioneer. An explorer of the scrotum.
Ready to jump into Skyballs and take to the skies? Check out The Evolution of Testicles on Oculus Video for Rift or Oculus Go today, or click here to read our VR Visionaries Q&A with Director Ryan Hartsell.
— The Oculus Team