Engaging Culture

Planned Parenthood Is Already Producing Virtual Reality Media Projects

With the creation of the YouVersion Bible App, Christians were once again at the forefront of technology.  As a result, the extraordinary Bible app is closing in on 250 million downloads, and makes the Bible available in 927 languages and 1,277 versions.  Millions of people around the world are now reading the Bible from their mobile devices.  But in so many cases, when it comes to media and technology, we leave it to other organizations to take the lead.  World Magazine reports that’s exactly what’s happened with a new documentary produced in Virtual Reality by Planned Parenthood:

Mindy Belz writes:

360-Degree Activism
Activist groups are turning to virtual reality as a way for audiences to experience an issue in the first person, and perhaps feel empathy as a result. Such projects at the Tribeca [Film Festival] depicted a confrontation with police, solitary confinement, and a woman going to get an abortion.  Planned Parenthood funded the abortion project, titled Across the Line, which the group showed on smartphone viewers outside the U.S. Supreme Court the day of the Texas abortion case arguments this year.

The filmmakers used documentary footage of a pregnant woman going to an abortion center with her friend: The two drive past a large group of pro-life protesters with signs outside and roll down the window to ask a man where to park. The man turns out to be a sidewalk counselor and tries to encourage the woman to seek help at a pregnancy center down the road—he says she would be making a “dignified choice.” The friend retorts that the woman is making a dignified choice by having an abortion. Inside the abortion center, the woman is upset, and the abortionist comforts her and offers support. This particular VR experience didn’t feel markedly immersive or different from a documentary.  —Emily Belz

The interesting thing about being one of the first in media and technology is that whether the project is well produced or not, it creates enormous media buzz, which means viewers, and very often, social change.  That’s why we need more Christian investors and donors willing to step up to fund these types of projects.  And we need Christian filmmakers willing to subdue their own dreams of Hollywood glory and produce the kinds of bold media that makes a statement about positive social change.

Without that partnership, we’ll continue to leave it to the rest of the world to define who the Christian community is, what it stands for, and how to deal with the most challenging issues of our day.  Never forget:

If we don’t tell our story, we’ll spend our lives at the mercy of other people who will.

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3 Comments

  1. In 100% agreement. I find it embarassing how far behind Christians typically are. We are the children of the most creative God and we are to reflect that intelligence and creativity. Sadly our focus is hatred on social media, and complaining instead of taking that energy to make real changes in society. I pray I am able to do something like that in my life and am currently taking steps to do so!

  2. One possibility: We often lack the right combination – time, money, team etc. which needs to all come together to be truly proactive. Not an excuse, just the street Christians live on as we feed our “normal” day to day projects.

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