What is Project Empathy?

Project Empathy is a virtual reality (VR) film series that explores what it means to be human and a global citizen today. Through three compelling VR films by award-winning directors, Project Empathy invites audiences to step into the screen and walk in someone else’s shoes, in order to better understand the human experience.  The series will focus its first films on perspectives from inside the U.S. prison system. 

What is VR (Virtual Reality)?

Virtual reality has been described as an “empathy machine.” Our team will use VR for the first time ever to create empathy on a massive scale to connect us with the world around us and each other.  VR technology, by many, is considered a new medium -- which goes beyond the linear limitations of film as we know it. Rather a VR film experience allows audience members to feel they are actually in another place and as if they can become another person. It is a 360 degree view of a new world, which often makes audience members feel as if they have traveled to another place and walked in someone else’s shoes.

What is "mass incarceration"?

“Mass incarceration” is a term that is often used in the media, but it specifically refers to the huge number of people that are incarcerated in the United States. The United States is the world's leading nation when it comes to putting people in prison. More than two million people are currently incarcerated in the United States.

Why we created this film series

Through VR technology and film, the idea is to bring a greater understanding and hopefully action toward healing our communities and living more meaningful lives, starting with changing the U.S. Prison System. We want to create empathy in others and hopefully influence hearts and minds on issues that are difficult, but that stand a great chance for positive change. 

Created by Jamie Wong in partnership with Van Jones, Project Empathy is a groundbreaking virtual reality film effort, bringing together cutting edge technology and social impact.

Who are the directors of the VR films?

The VR film directors include: Nonny De La Pena, who has been called “the godmother of VR” and is a pioneer in the virtual reality storytelling space; award-winning filmmaker Alex Rivera, writer and former co-executive producer of television series Empire, Wendy Calhoun and former The Daily Show producer, Jamie Wong.  Ava DuVernay, director of Selma, is a consulting producer.

Who are the partners?

Partners include: The Dream Corps, Carnegie Hall, Race + Justice, a conference by The Atlantic.

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