Today, we’re launching three new projects from Oculus VR for Good’s Creators Lab program. Directed by Gabriela Arp, Meeting a Monster examines the life of former white supremacist Angela King. The next film, Authentically Us: She Flies By Her Own Wings, recounts the stories of transgender servicepeople in the US Armed Forces. Both of these projects debuted at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival this spring. Authentically Us: We’re Still Here, which premiered at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, tells the story of Aiden Crawford, a Native American artist and historian, while raising awareness of non-binary understandings of gender and the preservation of cultural heritage. All three experiences are now available in the Oculus Video app on Rift, Oculus Go, and Gear VR!
Creators Lab, which is part of the Oculus VR for Good initiative, is now in its third year and pairs rising filmmakers with nonprofits to bring about positive social change through immersive storytelling. Through VR, our Creators Lab filmmakers aim to bring greater awareness and understanding to the challenges people face around the globe. To date, the program has produced more than a dozen VR films and matched 28 innovative filmmakers with 26 deserving nonprofits.
We’re thrilled to bring these three films—all of which focus on challenging bias in our society—to the Oculus Store today.
Meeting a Monster examines the memories and motivations of former white supremacist Angela King. Through audio recordings, dramatic re-enactments, and present-day footage, the film invites us to experience how Angela was lured into the white power movement as well as the encounters that led her back out. While the monsters of Angela’s past and imagination define much of the eight years she spent mired in bias and hate, she finds the path to redemption only after encountering and acknowledging the ultimate monster—herself.
Meeting a Monster was created by filmmaker Gabriela Arp, co-founder of Rabbit Raccoon, which produces experiential narrative documentaries about important social issues in our communities. Arp partnered with the organization Life After Hate, which was founded by former white supremacists and is dedicated to helping individuals leave behind a life of violence and hatred. The piece premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in March.
Authentically Us is the first 360° documentary series produced by Oculus with transgender people at the heart of the narrative. In this moving trilogy, filmmaker and Fovrth Studios Creative Director Jesse (Jesus) Ayala partnered with Pride Foundation, a community organization devoted to the equality of LGBTQ people across the American Northwest. The first two installments are launching today on the Oculus Store:
We’re Still Here
This piece follows Aiden Crawford, a Two-Spirit artist and historian in Boise, Idaho, who struggles to preserve and revive his heritage in a race against time. Two-Spirit is a cultural term describing the fluidity of gender identity and sexuality with respect to traditional tribal roles across the First Nations.
Aiden’s story represents the intergenerational struggle to learn, educate, and pass down the wisdom of his elders. This film aims to raise awareness of non-binary understandings of gender to advance the full equality of LGBTQ people everywhere.
She Flies By Her Own Wings
Even as transgender visibility in pop culture improves and challenges the status quo, direct violence and discriminatory legislation against the transgender community continues to rise. In this piece, Shannon Scott stands up at a time when her communities—proud transgender servicepeople and veterans of the US Armed Forces—are vulnerable and under attack.
Shannon Scott has dedicated her entire adult life to defending and safeguarding American citizens at home and abroad. Driven by the military tenet of “Leave No One Behind,” she seeks freedom and justice for all from the marbled halls of Washington, DC, to the hallowed ground of those who championed equality before her.
With today’s launch on Oculus Video, Meeting a Monster, Authentically Us: We’re Still Here and Authentically Us: She Flies By Her Own Wings join earlier Creators Lab projects Step to the Line and Out of the Blue in the Oculus Video app. Together, they help shed some light on important social issues and challenge us all to reflect on the problems faced by communities across the globe—and what steps we might take to help effect positive change. Experience these powerful stories for yourself on Rift, Oculus Go, and Gear VR.
— The Oculus Team