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Messy Truth VR Experience - Pilot Episode
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To fully experience this title, or avoid video issues, it is recommended that Microsoft's HEVC is installed, which can be found here https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/hevc-video-extensions-from-device-manufacturer/9n4wgh0z6vhq?activetab=pivot%3Aoverviewtab The Messy Truth VR Experience is an original virtual reality series that puts viewers in the shoes of people from other walks of life, in communities that may be unfamiliar to them. TV host, activist and Magic Labs Media co-founder Van Jones created the series. The first episode stars Winston Duke, who played M’Baku in the the Oscar-nominated film, Black Panther. In it, the viewer utilizes VR to see through the eyes of a 12-year old African-American boy as he and his dad are pulled over by the police. The scenario is based on a real life incident, with research provided by Time Magazine. “Sometimes it seems nearly impossible to truly understand what a person of a different race, gender or worldview is going through,” Jones, best known as a CNN host and political commentator, said. “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.” The user witnesses the police stop, and the rapid escalation by the officers into a tense and scary situation, as if they were sitting in the backseat of the vehicle. The headset and hand sensors allow the user to interact, even as tension is built by the distance and unpredictability of the police officers barking orders outside the car windows. When the K-9 unit is brought in for an unjustified search, the user is confronted with the dog snarling and barking through the passenger side door—all the more shocking because of the familiar setting in a family car. Users have said viewing the episode of The Messy Truth VR Experience as being visceral and eye-opening. The Messy Truth originated as a three-part video series on Facebook in October 2016. In it, Jones crisscrossed the country and talked to voters of all kinds. The series won a Webby award and became the jumping off point for Jones’ 2017 Random House bestseller: Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together. Now, The Messy Truth VR Experience adds immersive VR to similar, but all new, stories, to create a powerful feeling of empathy and “being there.” In January, The Messy Truth VR experience was named by the Advanced Imaging Society at the Lumiere Awards on the Warner Bros. lot as its Social Justice Honoree. The Lumiere Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the creation of immersive storytelling using advanced visual technologies. Jones continues to be one of the most engaging and relevant voices for social justice in media. CNN’s new series The Redemption Project with Van Jones debuted at the end of April, and earlier in the year, Jones became the founding CEO of the REFORM Alliance, co-founded by Jay-Z and Meek Mill. REFORM will work to pass common-sense probation and parole reform laws. Director Elijah Allan-Blitz and Executive Producer Michael Dutton are experienced interactive content makers who sought to push the technology’s most up-to-date capabilities to fulfill Jones’ vision. “We’re using sensors that track your hands, so when you put on the headset you really experience another person's world,” director Elijah Allan-Blitz said. “When Van and I started working on this project, the devices we’re using now didn’t even exist. But our goal of using technology to bring people closer together was too great to give up on.” Allan-Blitz is a veteran VR director, Emmy nominee and multiple Lumiere Award winner who is also the first-ever VR director for Time Magazine. He created a VR companion piece for the Ken Burns documentary Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War and has also directed VR experiences for Aloe Blacc, PBS, Michael Pollan and surfer Laird Hamilton. Michael Dutton, co-founder of 6cc Media, has executive produced ground breaking VR and 360 live video content and apps for companies such as the Associated Press, USA Today and Time Inc. Winston Duke also served as a producer on the episode. Van Jones and the The Messy Truth Virtual Reality Experience team will continue to bring social issues to audiences, while always pushing the technology to deliver the deepest, most direct connections possible between viewers and subjects.