Last month, we announced that eight of the first 10 films to come out of the Oculus VR for Good Creators Lab were named official selections of the SXSW 2017 Film Festival. Today, we’re excited to share that a ninth project, Step to the Line, has been accepted into the Tribeca Film Festival.
A Glimpse Inside an Overlooked Population
Directed by filmmaker Ricardo Laganaro in conjunction with nonprofit Defy Ventures, Step to the Line is a VR documentary that takes you deep inside the prison system. This compelling story of consequences and second chances uses the power of VR to explore how leaving prison can be just as jarring as going in, and the ways lives are changed when someone serves time.
The film helps raise awareness of Defy’s groundbreaking work to catalyze personal and socioeconomic growth for people with criminal records. Beyond that, it also challenges our assumptions and transforms our understanding of the justice system and the paths that travel through it.
VR for Good and the Path to Social Change
When we launched our VR for Good initiative in May 2016, we knew it was an important turning point in the larger narrative of VR. While the promise of VR gaming was finally within reach, we wanted to explore the medium’s potential to effect social change by spreading awareness of important issues in an immersive, empathy-driven way.
Now, thanks to Tribeca, we’re expanding VR for Good’s reach from California, Utah, and Texas to New York and beyond.
The Road Ahead
Creators Lab 2016 paired 10 filmmakers with 10 nonprofits with the goal of turning a $40,000 grant and additional resources from Oculus into a compelling story to help inspire positive social change. Since then, Creators Lab took on a life of its own. Nine out of the first 10 films to come out of the program have been recognized by leading film festivals, and we’ve seen other players in the VR space launch similar programs to help make the world a better place.
Our initial $675K investment was just the beginning. Today we’re announcing Creators Lab 2017, which will feature a wider scope of VR filmmakers and the same focus on social change. We’ll build upon the powerful lessons learned during the program’s first year and increase the resources devoted to these innovative filmmakers and inspiring nonprofits. As part of the $10M pledged by Oculus to fund diversity programs, we’ll also massively increase the financial backing for Creators Lab to support our filmmakers and ensure the continued growth of VR for Good.
The 2017 program kicks off this summer at the Creators Summit in Los Angeles. Keep an eye on vrforgood.oculus.com for updates as we get closer to launch.
We can’t wait to help a new range of social good causes tell their stories and make an impact through VR in 2017 and beyond.