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Harnessing the Transformative Power of Virtual Reality: "Stay Alive My Son" and Its Impact on Empathy, Compassion, and Global Policy

Oct 25

15:00 - 15:40

Description

In this captivating abstract, visionary director Victoria Bousis will delve into the profound impact of virtual reality (VR) as a catalyst for empathetic engagement and compassionate policymaking. Bousis's latest creation, "Stay Alive My Son," a groundbreaking, immersive and interactive VR experience, recounts the powerful journey of Yathay Pin, a survivor of the Cambodian genocide who made the heart-wrenching decision to leave his young son behind for a chance at survival. Recently, “Stay Alive My Son,” won the Producers’ Guild Association Innovation Award for making movie history as a full-length and interactive VR narrative, by allowing audiences to become the protagonist and experience their story first-handedly.

Through the medium of VR, Bousis effectively conveys the emotions of ambiguous loss, regret, guilt, and unwavering hope for justice and reunion by allowing audiences to step into the shoes of a father and experience these emotions for themselves. As ordinary citizens and policymakers, by truly experiencing versus passively watching these emotions, they become vested personally, thereby humanizing the legal barriers and issues with a mission to change global policy for good.

Bousis's talk will extend beyond the immersive storytelling aspect, outlining the broader implications of "Stay Alive My Son" in mobilizing bottom up “community-driven initiatives” and top-down movements leading up to the United Nations’ Global Refugee Summit in Geneva in December. Her advocacy, combined with the emotive power of the VR experience, seeks to expedite family reunification processes in accordance with the United Nations' pledge to limit legal formalities to a 5-year cap, safeguarding the human right to family unity.

Having premiered in over 21 global festivals, including Venice, Cannes, and SXSW, and receiving countless awards, "Stay Alive My Son" has already proved its mettle. This session will offer an opportunity for Bousis to share insights into the adaptation process, technological advancements in digital humans, interactive spatial and game design used for interactive narratives, the intended impact of the project, and its future potential to inspire change.

Attendees can anticipate an inspiring discussion on leveraging technology for social change, highlighting the potential of VR to shape policies through deeply personal, human-centered storytelling, while also exploring its potential in illuminating untold stories for furthering social change.

Speakers

Founder, Creative Director , UME Studios

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