Sheffield Doc/Fest is one of the biggest documentary festivals in the UK that offers a platform for documentary films and other non-fiction content, as well as talks, discussion round tables, social events and showcases for new innovation. This year, it will also serve as a premiere for a new virtual reality (VR) documentary film titled In My Shoes: Intimacy.
Created by Jane Gauntlett, who began her career as a theatre producer before moving into developing VR experiences, created the film as a way to explore the concept of intimacy, and how it is more than just touch, but the sense of trust between people. The experience invites random participants to pair up with one another, people who may not know each other in real life can become two people in a long-term relationship within the virtual world, attempting to reconnect with their partner, or an online couple experiencing their first date. The purpose of the experience is to allow people to know what it is like to be someone else, understand their problems and emotions.
Gauntlett has gone to some lengths to incorporate social research about VR in order to create a positive experience. Gauntlett has stated that she hopes the experience will make people laugh, relax and become part of a shared experience. Shy or socially anxious people will not have to concern themselves with physical contact or keeping eye contact, since all interaction is done through the virtual interface.
In My Shoes: Intimacy is the latest part of a series of In My Shoes short films which Gauntlett hopes will help convey the concept that “All we have is each other.’.
Sheffield Doc/Fest is due to take place in Sheffield, UK from the 9th-14th June, 2017. Further information can be found at the official Doc/Fest website.
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