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Oculus Rift Used to Bring Cuban Refugees Home

Virtual reality (VR) has been used to bring audiences to places that they will never visit in real life, simply because they don’t exist. But what about exploring real world countries and environments that they can’t go to simply because they aren’t allowed anymore? That’s what filmmakers Julian Yuri Rodriguez and Andres Rivera are looking into with Paisajes de mi Abuela (My Grandmother’s Landscapes), a 3D film that uses the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) to take audiences to Cuba.

As Motherboard reports, the piece was thought up by Rodriguez, who’s grandmother fled Cuba in 1958 due to the political climate with the rise of Fidel Castro. When he was younger Rodriquez was forbidden from visiting Cuba, but recently travelled to the country to visit Havana with his friend and cinematographer Rivera. There they used a rig mounted with numerous cameras to create a 360 degree 3D movie that visits a good number of Rodriguez’s grandmother’s memories including the church in which she was married, the street in which she lived and the beach she visited as a child.

The pair have showcased to film to more than just their families, also showing it to other Cuban-Americans living in exile in Miami these past years, provoking emotional reactions from those that watch the footage. It will also be on display at the upcoming Borscht Film Festival in Miami this month. It’s the first time the pair has worked with 3D technology too. Combined with the difficulties of entering Cuba, it’s proved to be a challenging project for the flimmakers, though no doubt just as rewarding. A brief look at the project can be seen below.

In the future the pair hope to expand on the project, revisiting the memories of other refugees. Just how and when this work might be released to the public isn’t yet clear, however. VRFocus will continue to follow any and all work in VR movies, reporting back with the latest updates.

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