VR Film The Crew Forms Part of Google Jump Start Program

New 360-degree film will shine a light on conditions experienced by Filipino cruise ship workers.

A 360-degree film based on real-life stories titled The Crew will form part of the Google Jump Start Program, a program designed to give content creators access to 360-degree film equipment.

The Crew tells the story of a Filipino cruise ship worker named Benjo, who uses his interest in singing Opera as an escape from the difficult grind of day-to-day work aboard a cruise ship. Benjo is preparing to display his ability with opera music at a crew talent show, only to learn that the show has been cancelled, crushing his dreams.

Jason Ferguson, the writer of the film, drew upon his personal experiences on working aboard cruise ships to shape the narrative of The Crew: “While I was working on cruise ships producing the stage shows, I became friends with many of the crew onboard. The stories I would hear about how the lower ranked, mostly Filipino, crew were treated have always stuck with me. It was this experience that inspired me to tell this story.”

“VR is often called an empathy machine and we wanted to use this aspect of it to add to the emotional story being told,” said director Johan Anderson, “Documentaries having done a great job of using 360 video to stir this kind of empathy, but we wanted to do the same for narrative storytelling.”

The Crew is scheduled to begin filming this month in New York. An IndieGoGo campaign has been launched to raise extra money for the budget, as well as buy Google Cardboard devices to allow crew members on cruise ships to watch the film.

VRFocus will continue to report on new VR and 360-degree film projects.

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