Frontline Produces Second Virtual Reality Documentary

By Mark Joyella 

Next month, Frontline will debut a documentary on the hunger crisis in South Sudan shot entirely with 360-degree virtual reality cameras–the second time the long-running series has produced a film entirely in VR. A clip of the film went live on Facebook Sunday.

“We’ve been exploring VR’s potential for journalism for some time, and we’re so proud of the work this team has done to tell a critically important story in a new way,” said Frontline executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath, who oversaw the show’s first virtual reality documentary, Ebola Outbreak: A Virtual Journey.

“We wanted to transport viewers into the heart of this man-made catastrophe to meet the people who are experiencing it,” said a statement from the film’s producers, Evan Wexler, Marcelle Hopkins and Benedict Moran, who spent several weeks shooting the film last summer. “We hope that viewers come away with a better understanding of the causes of this crisis and how it affects people in South Sudan.”

The documentary, On the Brink of Famine, was produced with the Brown Institute for Media Innovation and will make its premiere March 1 on Facebook 360, the social network’s home for virtual reality storytelling. “Their video is heartbreaking,” said Brown Institute director Mark Hansen. “Their story, told through VR, will help the world better understand the tragic dimensions of this disaster.”