Channel 4 is entering the world of VR with a new documentary exploring life in Grendel tower before the tragic fire of last summer.
The broadcaster’s Current Affairs department has commissioned its first VR film, a 15-minute short that will detail the lives, the homes and community that existed in the tower before 14th June 2017.
While questions about why the fire happened, who is to blame and what will happen next have barely been out of the news since June, little is known about the people who called Grenfell Tower their home. Even less is understood about what it was like to live there, how people came to call it their home and what they have lost.
Grenfell: My Home will go beyond the news headlines to bring to life survivors’ stories. It will offer an original perspective as well as a sensitive and respectful record of what happened, combining documentary interviews shot in stereoscopic 360 with computer-generated animation to focus on important events and poignant everyday moments of the residents’ lives, incorporating the contributors’ own photos and video footage.
Produced by independent production company Parable, the project was funded by Creative Diversity and the Alpha Fund. It is directed by Parable’s Creative Director, Jonathan Rudd, with animation designed and created by the award-winning 59 Productions and music composed by acclaimed Icelandic composer Biggi Hilmars.
David Wise, Parable’s CEO and the Executive Producer of the film, says: “Virtual Reality is often described as ‘the empathy tool’ for its ability to immerse and engage viewers so intensely in other people’s stories and other worlds. The combination of 360 video and beautiful animation will enable the telling of this important story in a way that no other medium can match.”
Siobhan Sinnerton, Commissioning Editor adds: “Innovation lies at the core of Channel 4’s remit so we are delighted to be exploring new and interesting ways to deliver the very best storytelling, and journalism. We hope this piece will give our audience a truly unique perspective on what the Grenfell community was like before the fire.”
The film has been selected to premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Alternative Realities exhibition from 7th June 2018 and will be released on social media and made available for free in various VR stores. There are also plans to enable people in the Grenfell community and the general public to view the film in VR headsets this summer.