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New York, NY-- The virtual reality film Across the Line won the Future of Storytelling Prize People’s Choice Award and $10,000 from Time Warner at the 2016 Future of Storytelling Festival as the most exceptional interactive and immersive storytelling project of the year. One of over 300 entries, a panel of FoST judges narrowed down this year's selection to 20 amazing finalists on view at the FoST Playground exhibition space and Two Bit Circus VR Theater. Viewers then selected Across the Line for the Grand Prize. The film was also recognized at the annual Media Impact Festival earlier this year.

Across the Line places viewers in the shoes of a patient who encounters protesters while entering a health center for a safe and legal abortion. This film is the first project of its kind, using the newest technology to bring people inside the experience of navigating vicious protests in order to access abortion. 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, Across the Line uses real audio gathered at protests along with scripted scenes and documentary footage.

"We’re thrilled to be awarded this prestigious prize and to share this important story that’s been reality for far too many people,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president and chief experience officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Virtual reality can help challenge stigma and change the conversation about abortion.  In order to ensure abortion remains safe and legal for future generations, we must replace misinformation with the facts and start having honest conversations about abortion in America today.”  

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. By putting the audience in the shoes of someone who is trying to access a safe and legal abortion, virtual reality offers a new and immersive experience that can help people better understand what thousands of women face when they seek health care. In the past five years, states have enacted over 300 abortion restrictions, and Congress voted 19 times in 2015 to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care.

"My team and I at Emblematic are incredibly proud of this project,” said Nonny de la Peña, CEO of Emblematic Group. “Using virtual reality to put people on scene and help them understand the story of what young women face across the nation is more important than ever.”

The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January and has since been screened at 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, Sheffield Doc/Fest and Netroots Nation. 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 Across the Line 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.


The Future of StoryTelling (FoST) is a passionate community of visionaries from the worlds of media, technology, and communications who are exploring how storytelling is evolving in the digital age. In addition to an annual invitation-only Summit (now entering its fifth year), FoST also produces a wide range of content and programming, such as curated exhibitions, including Sensory Stories, which showcased an array of new narrative experiences and attracted more than 45,000 visitors to New York’s Museum of the Moving Image and Montreal’s Phi Centre last year and this year; an annual series of short films, with upward of three million views to date, highlighting the people and big ideas shaping the storytelling landscape; regular influencer salons, tech tastings, and storytelling workshops designed to strengthen and inspire content producers and distributors in marketing and communications; and a popular blog and other social media content aimed at FoST’s network of over half a million enthusiastic followers.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433


October 11, 2016