‘VR: The Movie’ Raising Funds for Feature Length Documentary on History of VR

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VR: The Movie is an in-depth documentary film that follows virtual reality from its mid-1900s past to the VR technology of today. The documentary features interviews with designers, scientists, engineers and several industry professionals to help illuminate virtual reality’s legacy.

VR: The Movie was conceived by the minds behind the video for the Virtuix Omni’s Kickstarter campaign, Cut to Create, and have set out to chronicle the history of virtual reality in a feature length documentary.

The film will reach all the way back to basic stereoscopes, and cover everything from The Sword of Damocles, the first VR system created by Ivan Sutherland in 1968, to use-cases of current technology—and ultimately how it effects society through a number of fields like psychology and medicine.

Interviews filmed for the documentary include some of VR’s most fervent supporters and researchers. Mark Bolas, Director for Mixed Reality Research at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies appears with Skip Rizzo, the institute’s Director of Medical VR. Author Michael Heim of The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality (1993), and Jim Blascovich, professor and co-author of Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Words and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution also contribute. A full list of interviewees already signed on to the project can be found on the movie’s website.

Chris Merkle, an Iraq War veteran who served in the Marine Corps, details his experiences in the film about his battle with PTSD and how virtual reality has helped him to recover.

Zach Jankovic, founder and lead director of Cut to Create, studied documentary film making at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and has previous experience working in Aspen for a TV station and for Warren Miller Entertainment. There Jankovich produced an award winning short documentary entitled Tourette Syndrome: Up Close. After a move to Texas, Jankovich worked on a documentary about an Astronaut that went to space with Parkinson’s Disease and kept it secret for 17 years, entitled The Astronaut’s SecretThe film is being screened all over the world as an awareness tool in order to raise money for Parkinson’s research.

Zach Jankovich
Zach Jankovich, lead director of Cut to Create

Thereafter, luck would have it that Jankovich was hired to produce the film for the Virtuix Omni Kickstarter campaign. “During the course of production I was able to have a fully immersive VR experience and immediately realized the potential of this technology. I started researching VR and found that it had such a rich history of ups and downs, failures and discoveries,” Jankovich told us. After much research, Jankovich secured 2 weeks in LA with as many interviews as possible, and with the help of his brother (a film producer) he filmed about 20 interviews with some pioneers and visionaries of VR.

The project’s next step is to gather the funds to get to the Northwest and Bay Area to interview many others like Jaron Lanier, an early pioneer in the field of virtual reality. Next stop is North Carolina for more interviews, and Europe/Asia if funding permits.

To help fund the film, you can make a tax-deductible donation via the Center for Independent Documentary, or fund them directly by purchasing crowdfunding-style rewards.

Early-Bird Digital copies of the film are still available for $5, with expected release slated for Summer of 2017. VR: The Movie will also be available on DVD and Blu-ray.
For enthusiastic supporters, the $189 level tier features some of the best savings for potential attendees of VRLA’s Summer Expo. VIP tickets for the expo normally cost $199, but at this funding tier you can nab tickets (with included gift bag and 11AM entry), a digital copy of the film, special thanks in the credits, and download of the OST.

The VRLA Summer Expo will feature cutting edge demos of the most exciting projects in development for the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, Samsung GearVR, and more. The day will also be stacked with a lineup of illuminating presentations and panels.

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