A new VR experience focused on race made waves at this week’s Lumiere Awards.
The Messy Truth VR Experience, which is the latest addition to TV host Van Jones’ long-running series, took the Social Justice Award at the event on January 30th. The experience stars Winston Duke, best known for playing M’Baku in last year’s Black Panther. In it, viewers step into the shoes of a 12-year old African American boy. Based on a real-life incident, the story follows both him and his father (Duke) when they’re pulled over by the police.
The piece is directed by Elijah Allan-Blitz and produced with the help of research from Time Magazine. But it’s not just a simple 360 video; the piece used Leap Motion hand-tracking to put you in the body of the character.
“Sometimes it seems nearly impossible to truly understand what a person of a different race, gender or worldview is going through,” Jones said of the piece. “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.”
For now, The Messy Truth VR Experience is on display at LA’s Technicolor Lab. The production team plans to take it on tour, though, visiting sites like airports across the country. No word on a home release just yet, though. This is the first in a planned series of VR episodes.
Interested in other VR apps about race? We’d definitely recommend I Am A Man, a powerful retelling of transformative days for America.