Running over the course of this week has been the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas, celebrating the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries all in one place. The event has a special VR Cinema section which ran over two days, with plenty of virtual reality (VR) content on show. As part of the roster three VR for Good Creators Lab Projects premiered, each telling a different compelling story from a non-profit organisation.
The first film shown was The Evolution of Testicles, created by Ryan Hartsell as part of a Male Cancer Awareness Campaign. Narrated by Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids, Molly’s Game), the film takes viewers on a testicular romp through the evolution of man told via CGI, a giant testicle-shaped hot air balloon, all in the name of bringing awareness to male cancer prevention.
Then there was One Eighty by Eren Aksu for the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. This film told the story of an Indian mother, Vijai Kumari, who spent 20 years behind bars, and her son, Kanhaiya Kumari, who was born in prison – and their quest to clear their names and live in freedom.
The final film from VR for Good was Authentically Us: We’re Still Here, by Jesse Ayala in conjunction with the Pride Foundation. Part of Authentically Us—a trilogy from FOVRTH Studios, this episode follows Aiden Crawford, a Two-Spirit artist and historian in Boise, Idaho, struggles to preserve and revive his heritage in a race against time.
VR for Good was launched by Oculus in 2016 to provide support for social change, establishing the Creators Lab, which paired ten filmmakers with non-profit organisations to champion various causes and tell compelling stories using VR. Projects created in that time include Step to the Line, a documentary taking viewers inside the US prison system, Out of the Blue which follows a family of fishermen in Mexico, and Use Your Imagination, a VR musical written and performed by young artists on the autism spectrum.
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Oculus and VR for Good, reporting back with the latest project updates.