Over the last few years the Advanced Imaging Society (AIS) has bestowed its prestigious Lumiere Award on a number of immersive titles, such as Dear Angelica (Best VR Animation & CGI) and Job Simulator (Best VR Gaming). The latest to gain an award is The Messy Truth VR Experience, by TV host, activist and Magic Labs Media co-founder Van Jones.
With Winston Duke (M’Baku in Black Panther) starring in the first episode, The Messy Truth VR Experience won the Social Justice Award, putting viewers in the shoes of people from other walks of life. Using 360-degree camera technology, viewers see through the eyes of a 12-year old African-American boy as he and his dad are pulled over by the police. A scenario based on a real-life incident, with research provided by Time Magazine.
“Sometimes it seems nearly impossible to truly understand what a person of a different race, gender or worldview is going through,” Van Jones said in a statement. “But a Virtual Reality experience can give life-changing insight. VR has the potential to be the world’s most powerful tool for generating empathy and understanding. It’s time to start using this new technology to bring us together across old divides.”
Originally, The Messy Truth began on Facebook as a three-part series in 2016. From there the series won a Webby award, and Jones then wrote Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together in 2017.
To help make The Messy Truth VR Experience Duke also served as a producer, while Michael Dutton of 6cc Media was Executive Producer, and Elijah Allan-Blitz directed.
Allan-Blitz is a previous Lumiere Award winner, having been the first VR director for Time Magazine. “We’re using sensors that track your hands, so when you put on the headset you really experience another person’s world,” Allan-Blitz said. “When Van and I started working on this project, the devices we’re using now didn’t even exist. But our goal of using technology to bring people closer together was too great to give up on.”
VRFocus will continue its coverage of the Lumiere Awards 2019, reporting back on any further VR successes.