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A Look at "The Last Goodbye"

Language: English

Executive Director Stephen D. Smith introduces our work in the area of virtual reality with a look at "The Last Goodbye," a VR short featuring Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter as he takes you on an intimate journey through the Majdanek concentration camp.

The Last Goodbye is an award-winning, virtual-reality film that transports viewers inside the Nazi death camp Majdanek in Poland with Pinchas Gutter, the only member of his family of four to survive the Holocaust.

Since its 2017 debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, this 17-minute film has achieved critical acclaim and received numerous prestigious awards including: two Webby Awards – for ‘Best Branded 360 Video’ and a ‘People’s Voice award for Best Narrative Experience’; and the ‘Creative Arts Award, VR – Documentary Jury Prize’ at the 2018 Lumiere Awards by The Advanced Imaging Society.

The precedent-setting, fully immersive experience enables viewers to virtually walk with Gutter as he travels in fully life-sized projections of the camp including through the railway car, gas chamber, shower room and barracks of Majdanek.

As the first VR film to take audiences through a concentration camp, The Last Goodbye offers a visceral experience at a time when humanity’s darkest hour is fading from collective memory. Capturing Gutter’s testimony on-site and ensuring it was incorporated into the film was itself a feat of innovation. Thousands of photos were stitched together by an expert at the Moving Picture Company to create three-dimensional images of the interiors to scale. Gutter’s video testimony, taken in the same spaces, was then incorporated into the film, providing a vivid environment in which he recounts his heartbreaking story of suffering, loss and survival. It ends as a testament to the strength of the human heart and the enduring power of hope and perseverance.

The Last Goodbye was created by award-winning filmmaker Gabo Arora and Ari Palitz, produced by Arora and Stephen Smith, the Finci-Viterbi 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 award-winning designer David Korins.

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