Today, Across the Line, a virtual reality film that places viewers in the shoes of a patient entering a health center for a safe and legal abortion, will be recognized at the annual Media Impact Festival. The Festival celebrates the power of interactive technologies to deepen the relationship between news and documentary projects and their audiences. Across the Line is one of only five interactive projects selected, and the only virtual reality film to be featured.
Since the premiere of the immersive virtual reality experience Across the Line at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, thousands of viewers across the country and abroad have experienced what it’s like to be in the shoes of a patient entering a health center while enduring harassment by protesters opposed to safe and legal abortion. The film, co-created by Nonny de la Peña of Emblematic Group and Brad Lichtenstein and Jeff Fitzsimmons from 371 Productions/Custom Reality Services and executive produced by Planned Parenthood, uses real audio gathered at protests along with scripted scenes and documentary footage. It is the first film of its kind.
"We’re honored to be selected and we look forward to making Across the Line available to more audiences all across the country,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president and chief experience officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “This experience comes during a period of severe attacks on women’s reproductive health and rights. As we learned from yesterday’s Supreme Court decision, there’s never been a more important time to raise awareness about the very real experiences that some women face to access abortion in this country.”
New York magazine writes, “Across the Line asks you to consider the impact of our national abortion wars on individual people, as lived experience.” Since 2011, state lawmakers have passed 316 restrictions on safe, legal abortion, and have introduced 442 in the first six months of 2016 alone. More than half of American women of reproductive age now live in states where access to abortion is being restricted by their state legislatures. Just yesterday the Supreme Court recognized that these laws do not enhance patient safety -- rather, they further block patients’ access to safe abortion.
“Virtual reality is a unique platform that can create the sensation of being ‘on scene’ and Across the Line offered us an incredible opportunity to put the audience into the same scenario that young women across the country find themselves on a regular basis,” said Nonny de la Peña, CEO of Emblematic Group. “My entire team, who worked so hard to bring the piece to completion and cared so much about the content depicted, is absolutely thrilled to be honored.”
Across the Line is part of ongoing efforts by Planned Parenthood and other sexual and reproductive health organizations to reduce stigma and change the conversation around safe and legal abortion. The film has been screened at Sundance Film Festival, South By Southwest (SXSW), Ashland Independent Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, Chicago Feminist Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, International Documentary Association, Hot Docs Festival, the American Film Institute, and will be at Sheffield Doc/Fest and Netroots Nation this summer. It’s also available to download on Vrideo and can be viewed on virtual reality viewing devices such as the Google cardboard or Samsung Gear VR. You can learn more about how and where to see it here.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
June 28, 2016