72-year-old Ruth Vickers, a former client of the Drop-In Centre Jill Croteau
A group of Calgary filmmakers and creative artists are experimenting with virtual reality, a one of a kind, 360-degree view of the world. The goal is to take audiences through an immersive experience of homelessness in the hopes it will trigger empathy in a way nothing else can.
“You can put people in places they’ve never been to or will ever be able to go to.”
Founder of Mammoth VR Matt Wright says the film, being showcased by the Calgary Drop-In Centre, is intended to give the viewers a very raw look at homelessness.
Even Wright himself was moved by the project from start to finish.
“It changed my perspective of homelessness,” Wright said. “When I look at someone homeless, I think about their story and it rewired my brain to have more empathy.”
The audio portion of the film is written and voiced by Talia Hume. The visuals in the piece were drawn by Mandy Stobo. A Calgary artist known for her “Bad Portraits,” she created all her paintings within the virtual reality world.
“I’m a 2D artist who works on paper so when you’re in there you’re in the headset and in the matrix and there’s this endless white amazing room,” Stobo said.
She’s grateful to have been a part of it.
“Virtual reality is such high technology and it can create such empathy – it’s magic.”
The Calgary Drop-In Centre’s clients have been asked to watch it and experience the film. Former client Ruth Vickers said it resonated with her own journey.
WATCH ABOVE: It’s designed to take you places you’ve never been before. Virtual Reality. The Drop-In Centre partnered with a virtual reality artist to create an experience of homelessness. Jill Croteau reports.
“I hope it (the film) makes people think: ‘What are these people and what are they there for? And what can I do to stop this misery?” Vickers said. “It’s not something we talk about, but this is where misery lives.”
Jazmine Lintner, 27, is a university student who works with seniors at the Drop-In Centre and watched the film for the first time Tuesday.
“I didn’t even consider before: this is their home but there is no quiet place surrounded by people,” Litner said. “You have 1,200 roommates; I have one and it’s tough. I can’t imagine.”