The latest immersive documentary made in collaboration between VR studio Vrse, VICE media, and the United Nations, Waves of Grace, follows ebola survivor Decontee Davis around a slum in the Liberian capital of Monrovia.
Just released on the Vrse app and available for download on either iOS or Android, the film was created by Chris Milk and UN filmmaker Gabo Arora, and produced by Patrick Milling Smith and Samantha Storr.
Waves of Grace takes you into the heart of where the 2014 ebola outbreak began to surface with a narration from Davis as she discusses her ebola survival, subsequently working with children orphaned by the disease, and educating the community that survivors pose no threat to the public.
“I remember the fear—the fear people had of me,” Davis narrated in the film of her own time fighting the disease. “They were too scared to even touch me. And I was scared of my own child. I was scared of the man I loved. Forgive me, Lord. Forgive me.”
Waves of Grace is the second collaboration between the UN and Vrse. Their previous film, Clouds Over Sidra, took viewers on an immersive visit to a Jordanian refugee camp, giving a unique look at the lives of the children that live there. Clouds Over Sidra follows along with a young refugee in Jordan and was met with wide acclaim for showing the reality of the situation in the country. The film received the backing of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and has proven effective at helping raise awareness—and money—for humanitarian efforts.
Vrse has done a fantastic job at proving how powerful and emotional the use of virtual reality filmmaking can be. The role that empathy can play in elevating the experience for viewers is never overlooked and Vrse, along with other VR content creators like RYOT, are really showing what is possible with their films. Arora has previously coined the phrase ‘empathy to action’ which really sums up the power of VR stories and the profound effect it can have on viewers.