Narrative VR experience focuses on Rotary International’s work to eradicate polio

Don’t Panic has teamed up with Rotary International, the global network of leaders dedicated to humanitarian issues, to create a new immersive VR experience, named One Small Act.

As one of the first examples of narrative storytelling in VR, the experience highlights the impact rotary International is making around the world, focusing on its work to eradicate polio.

One Small Act will act as collateral to increase donations to worthy causes. It was created in partnership with Google.

It depicts a young girl growing up in Bosnia. Initial calm and familiar scenes of rural family life become disrupted as the country descends into war. The girl struggles through the fracas with her teddy bear in tow, who she dotes on lovingly throughout. She is shown compassion from numerous characters, from the nurse who administers her polio vaccination, an enemy soldier who shares his water with her and a fellow refugee who offers a bandage to repair her teddy bear’s arm.

The final scenes show her in later life, as an empowered female doctor, administering a polio vaccination to another young girl with a teddy bear. The fruits of her kindness and caring nature – as well as that of Rotary International members who made the vaccination possible and others who showed compassion in testing times – come full circle.

Shot in Romania using both mono and stereoscopic techniques, the viewer observes the entire scene in a forward looking 360° arc and, at poignant moments switches to the view of the teddy bear in 180°, offering an intimate look at the difference small acts of kindness make on the little girl, and an up-close insight into her personal journey.

Joe Wade,  Managing Director at Don’t Panic said: “VR is a powerful empathy machine but at its heart it is a storytelling tool. It was important as a start point to forget the tech and focus on the narrative. We conceived a story that would work if you were reading it in a book or watching it on a black and white TV and then looked at ways we can use the tech to really bring it to the next level”.

“The story is emotionally charged. To ensure viewers really feel the power of their contributions, we focus in on poignant moments of juxtaposing compassion and commotion. Our story arc – from chaos to peace – shows the progress that Rotarians are making, and that donations will continue to make possible.”


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