Institute News

“The Last Goodbye” VR Film to Compete at Venice Film Festival

The Last Goodbye, the virtual reality film about Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter produced in partnership with USC Shoah Foundation, will have its European premiere at the 74th Venice International Film Festival, August 30 – September 9, 2017.

The film will be exhibited as part of the festival’s first-ever competition for films made in virtual reality. It will compete against 21 other VR films from all over the world for jury prizes for Best VR, Best VR Experience (for interactive content), and Best VR Story (for linear content). The members of the International Jury of the Venice Virtual Reality section are American director John Landis, French screenwriter and director Celine Sciamma, and Italian actor and director Ricky Tognazzi.

In The Last Goodbye, powerful testimony of the tragedy of the Holocaust is preserved for the first time in poignant, room-scale VR, as survivor Pinchas Gutter takes audiences with him on his final visit to Majdanek Concentration Camp where his parents and sister were murdered during World War II.

The Last Goodbye was created by award-winning filmmaker Gabo Arora and Ari Palitz, produced by Arora and Stephen Smith, the executive director of USC Shoah Foundation, and co-produced by Here Be Dragons, MPC VR and Otoy, in partnership with LightShed and USC Shoah Foundation. It features an original soundtrack by Dražen Bošnjak of Q Department and Installation Experience by David Korins.

The team traveled with Gutter to Poland this summer to capture tens of thousands of photos and hours of 3D video on site, to create an experience that enables viewers to virtually walk with Gutter as he tours the railway car, gas chamber, shower room and barracks of Majdanek.

The photoreal experience presents a new way of capturing truth for the future, encouraging viewers to explore the spaces it brings to life. Gutter stands inside each vivid environment recounting his heartbreaking story of suffering and loss, which ends as a testament to the strength of the human heart and the enduring twin powers of hope and perseverance.

The Last Goodbye had its world premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, where it earned rave reviews.