August 10, 2017

Powerful Holocaust VR Documentary to Showcase at Venice Film Festival

Technicolor’s MPC VR created a 16-minute room scale documentary experience, The Last Goodbye, to show how VR can be used to deliver powerful first-person testimony through immersive storytelling.

  • The Last Goodbye is the first Holocaust testimonial enabling viewers to walk alongside a living survivor in virtual reality.
  • This is the Venice Film Festival’s first VR-focused category in official competition, signaling the growing influence of immersive experiences.

The Last Goodbye, a VR experience that immortalizes the testimony of a living Holocaust survivor, has been accepted into the prestigious Venice Film Festival. This is the first year VR is eligible in official competition, and acceptance of The Last Goodbye follows its April debut at the Tribeca Film Festival. The groundbreaking collaboration was co-produced by Technicolor’s MPC VR – whose developers, photogrammetry artists, and engineers brought the VR experience to immersive life with Here Be Dragons’ Gabo Arora and Ari Palitz, for USC Shoah Foundation and its executive director Stephen Smith.

In The Last Goodbye, viewers accompany Pinchas Gutter on his final return to the Majdanek concentration camp in Poland, where he was sent with his family at the age of eleven. Through immersive storytelling techniques, room-scale VR, 360 video, and a walk-around photo-real experience, viewers feel like they are there in the camp, connecting with a real survivor who has come, as he says, “to convey the truth of what actually happened” – and preserve these stories for future generations.

"Our ambition has been to create an entirely new grammar for what's possible within a narrative and room-scale mix, in a documentary format,” said Tim Dillon, Head of VR & Immersive Content at MPC. “We've faithfully recreated the rooms of the Majdanek camp so you can inhabit them with Pinchas; you can feel his story by being there with him, eye to eye."

The 74th annual Venice International Film Festival – one of the "big three" along with Cannes and the Berlin International Film Festival – will be held August 30 through September 9, 2017. For the first time, the competition will award prizes for Best VR Film, Grand VR Jury Prize, and Best VR Creativity Award.

Walk with survivor Pinchas Gutter in the moving trailer for The Last Goodbye.

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