Milwaukee Firm’s Virtual Reality Film, Foley Doc At Sundance


A virtual reality film by Milwaukee filmmakers and a documentary about the Marquette University alum James Foley, who was killed by terrorists, will be shown at the Sundance Film Festival next month.

unnamedThe VR film “Across the Line” was created by the Milwaukee based firms 371 Productions and Custom Reality Services.

It “places viewers in the shoes of a woman entering a health center where she encounters the toxic environment outside as she” tries to enter the facility for a “safe and legal abortion.”

“Sadly,” according to a release, “given the tragedy in Colorado … this film is more resonant than we ever imagined it would be.”

Virtual reality films surround viewers with 360 degrees of visual information that creates a feeling of being inside the environment portrayed. The film uses “real audio gathered at protests, scripted scenes and documentary footage” representing what workers and patients “must walk through … on a typical day.”

Planned ParentHood was an executive producer and consultant. The project was co-created by the virtual reality firm Emblematic Group, 371 Productions and Custom Reality Services.

371 Productions, makes media projects about social issues. It’s president Brad Lichtenstein is a co-founder of Custom Reality Services, with Jeff Fitzsimmons.

371 produced “As Goes Janesville,” in which the repercussions of the GM plant closing in Paul Ryan’s home district on business and government leaders and workers play out against the backdrop of budget battles in Madison. “As Goes Janesville” aired on PBS’ “Independent Lens” series.

Its film “Wisconsin’s Mining Standoff” aired on Al Jazeera America.

“Across The Line” is among  20 VR films being shown at Sundance in Park City as part of the festivals New Frontier program. Audiences will experience the films using mobile VR headsets.

The festival will also present the world premiere of “Jim,” about the late journalist and Marquette alum who was murdered by ISIS. It was directed by Brian Oakes and is entered in the documentary competition category.

According to the festival catalog: “The public execution of American conflict journalist James Foley captured the world’s attention, but he was more than just a man in an orange jumpsuit. Seen through the lens of his close childhood friend, Jim moves from adrenaline-fueled front lines and devastated neighborhoods of Syria into the hands of ISIS.”



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