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DocLab Shorts 24 Nov at 19:45

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That Dragon, Cancer

A personal game that offers new ways of mourning. Designed by the father of Joel, a boy who died at the age of four.

This poetic and playful game was designed by the father of Joel Green, a little boy who died at the age of four from the many brain tumors that began to afflict him in his first year of life. The Green family’s personal chronicle is a love letter to their son, who is gone but far from forgotten. The game proposes new ways of mourning. We see the family at the hospital, in the living room and whiling away lazy days at the playground. We hear Joel’s laughter somewhere in the distance. The player wanders calmly through their daily lives and is confronted along the way with the choices they had to make. Click on elements in the game world to activate interactions and dialogue such as a voicemail message from Joel’s mother Amy. Their memoires recall how Ryan and Amy embraced hope in the face of death. Thousands of people sent them photos of their own sick or dying child, and this underlines the emotional potency of the story and its subtle handling of life, death, faith, hope and sorrow. It serves as a memorial to all those children. This year, IDFA is also screening Thank You for Playing, the making-of documentary.

Selected for IDFA 2015 and eligible for the IDFA DocLab Award for Immersive Non-Fiction.

Presented as part of the DocLab: Seamless Reality program by IDFA and De Brakke Grond as an interactive installation from 19-29 November.

Project details

Year of development :2015
Created by:Amy Green, Ryan Green & Josh Larson
With:Numinous Games

Available formats