In honor of International Women’s Day, we wanted to highlight four amazing Virtual Reality films directed by women available on SIMA Classroom.
Despite women accounting for over half of movie goers, only 8% of the 100 top grossing films of 2017 were directed by women.
We here at SIMA Classroom celebrate filmmakers that defy the cinematic norm and bring us stories that inspire us and challenge our expectations of media and representation. We receive hundreds of film submissions every year and 48% of them are directed by women.
Dubbed the ‘ultimate empathy machine’, VR films immediately immerse the viewer into the film, providing direct insight into worlds that might not otherwise have been accessible. These four films not only illustrate how powerful VR is in representing subjects and encouraging empathy, but also the importance of backing female led filmmaking and teaching students about the importance of representation in all aspects of media production.
Still from SONGS OF THE VINE
Director: Maria Clancy
Shot over the span of two months, this VR film puts you in directly in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, giving you a direct look into the intricacies of the Shipibo culture. By highlighting the focus of healing, cosmovision, and the alternative medicinal practices of this indigenous group, SONGS OF THE VINE illustrates the historical and increasingly relevant tie between nature and human existence.
Still from TRACES
Director: Gabriela Arp
Set as a retroactive look back at the life of 88 year old women Willie White, TRACES provides a unique look into rural Tennessee. Weaving in and out of Willie’s memories, the viewer is brought through intimate aspects of her childhood: an old farmhouse, her morning ritual with her mother, her Sunday morning routine. TRACES provides a vibrant look at memory, illustrating the implications of Alzheimer’s on our understanding of the past.
Still from BEHIND THE FENCE
Director: Lindsay Branham
Putting the viewers right in the middle of the 5x5 square mile prison camp that holds the Rohingya Muslim minority of Myanmar, BEHIND THE FENCEgives it’s viewers a unfiltered look into the realities of these people, now considered the most persecuted people on earth. With a focus both on a family who lives in these conditions and a Buddhist leader who is championing for even more restrictive laws, this VR experience gives frightening insight into the struggle the Rohingya people face as they fight against a genocide lead by their own government.
Still from TESTIMONY
Director: Zohar Kfir
Equal part virtual reality documentary and advocacy platform TESTIMONYshares five stories of sexual assault survivors journey towards healing. With new incidents of sexual assault constantly appearing in the media TESTIMONY takes a look into all the struggles and nuances behind sexual assault victims telling their stories. This interactive investigation serves as both a heartbreaking honest look into the culture around sexual assault, and a platform for change for those who have previously be silenced.