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Post-Production Company of the Year: The Mill

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Virtual Reality

Silver Winner

Entrant: The Mill, London
The Guardian - "6x9: a Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement"

Corporate Name of Client: The Guardian

The Guardian Project Creators Director : Francesca Panetta/Lindsay Poulton

The Guardian Project Creators Executive Producer: Aron Pilhofer/Xaquin G.V.

The Guardian Project Creators Creative Technologist: Andrew Mason

The Guardian Project Creators Sound Engineer: Peregrine Andrews

Creative Director: Carl Addy

Executive Producer: Stephen Venning

Producer: Jarrad Vladich

Designers: Alex Thursby-Pelham/Charles Bigeast

Concept Design: Aurelien Ronceray/Jiyoung Lee

Editing Facility: The Mill

Editor: Hugo Vaughan-Hughes

Creative Director/Original Concept Team: Rama Allen

Lead Creative Technologist: Kevin Young

3D Lead/Original Concept Team : Justin Diamond/Tim Kim/Raymond Leung/Wyatt Savarese/
    Olivier Varteressian

3D Lead Artist: Justin Diamond/Tim Kim/Raymond Leung/Wyatt Savarese/
    Olivier Varteressian

3D Lead Artist: Ed Thomas

3D Modeller: Will Burdett/Marta Carbonell

Motion Graphics: Jessica Tan/Diogo Pinheiro

Description of the Project:
The creative idea behind this project was to produce an immersive journalism piece using VR, encouraging users to physically experience some of the effects of long term solitary confinement. The idea was to place a viewer inside a prison solitary confinement unit with little more than a cot and a toilet. While actual inmates speak to you directly, the film begins to emulate the kind of psychological effects — blurred vision, hallucinations, a sense of floating — that may occur after long-term sensory deprivation. The journey is designed to build empathy through a physical experience.
The Guardian’s credibility as a news broadcaster brings authenticity to the experience as a non biased piece of immersive journalism. 6x9 has been created to engage with as wide an audience as possible so as to raise a global awareness around the issue of solitary confinement. The project ensures that the journalistic approach provides ample audience engagement with both the experience and the cultural relevance of the story. It was made for Google Cardboard, making it both accessible and cheap for the audiences that engage with it. Upon release, readers of the Guardian were given the opportunity to receive a free Google Cardboard headset upon which to view the project. The film is available across additional platforms including 360 videos, linear videos, an app and podcasts with extended interviews with former inmates along with writing and reporting investigations.
With approximately 100,000 people in solitary confinement in the US, and with some spending 22-24 hours a day in a cell with little to no human contact for days or even decades, the Guardian’s latest project looks to raise awareness and generate discussion around the prevalence of extended solitary confinement, in the form of a unique immersive virtual reality experience. Designed to raise awareness and generate discussion around the prevalence of extended solitary confinement (which the UN Rapporteur Juan Mendez has deemed a form of torture), the resulting experience is a compelling case for the use of virtual reality as a tool for empathy, emotionally connecting the viewer to the cause. The objective was to further spread the concern about the ongoing psychological effects caused by solitary confinement. Created over seven months, the project broke boundaries, bringing documentary style viewing and interaction and blending it with the VR world.