“The Messy Truth VR Experience,” a project produced by Van Jones and Elijah Allan-Blitz, seeks to use new virtual reality technology to help shed light on empathy. The second episode starring Brie Larson is nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Original Interactive category. (Aug. 26)
- Rehearsing sound. Everybody quiet on the set.
- The way that we're using hand-tracking technology has actually never been done before.
- The technology has changed and improved as to what is possible.
ELIJAH ALLAN-BLITZ: "The Messy Truth VR Experience" is something that Van Jones and I have been working on for going on for years now. And what we're trying to do is to create an empathy curriculum, trying to use the power of VR to put the viewer in someone else's shoes.
- For the second episode, we decide to focus on sexual harassment. And to do that, we partnered with Captain Marvel herself, Brie Larson.
BRIE LARSON: In the one that we're talking about today that I participated in, you are a woman getting a review. You work at a restaurant, and you're getting your review in the hopes of getting a promotion. And through that experience, your boss comes in, and you start to realize that there's a major power imbalance here, and we are exploring sexual harassment in the restaurant industry.
And it's important to note that these stories are true stories. We're not making this up. In fact, the most work we've had to do is taking the stories back a notch so that we're not inflicting trauma on the viewer, that this is-- because so far the stories that we've been finding are worse than what we would want to put a person through.
That's why we're excited about the Emmy nomination. It's like, it's all about bringing awareness because people don't know that this project exists.
This is a bipartisan piece. We're not trying to sway anybody's opinion in any direction. We're just trying to tell the truth. And Ben has said something that I think is so powerful where he's like, the truth brings us together. You don't have to do any trickery. It's just the truth.
ELIJAH ALLAN-BLITZ: I think it's so amazing that the television academy is even acknowledging us as a nominee for something like this, you know, where it's not just like, oh, the cool, new, trendy thing. It's like, hey, this is some socially conscious content that is out there in the world. You know, there's no clear return on investment for anybody. It's just a matter of being able to get experiences out there that actually create empathy.