Breaking News
More () »

Virtual reality documentary series offers 360-degree view of 2020 unrest

As people worldwide demanded justice for George Floyd, some filmmakers used virtual reality technology to document the historic time.

MINNEAPOLIS — "In Protest," a new virtual reality documentary series, allows viewers to put on a headset and enter the world of Rose McGee.

"I'm in the kitchen with Rose McGee right now," one viewer described while watching the series. "She's baking the Comfort Pie, the sweet potato pie."

During the immersive experience, McGee explains how her pies bring people together for healing and conversation around racial justice. 

"Sweet potato pie spoke to me," she says. "It's the connection to the Earth and definitely is a form of protest."

McGee is one of several people featured in the four-part, four-city series made by her filmmaker son, Adam Davis-McGee.

"'In Protest' puts a spotlight on some of the unsung heroes that stepped up during the 2020 unrest," Davis-McGee said.

While covering the unrest in the Twin Cities, Atlanta, DC, and LA, Davis-McGee noticed that some people were using 360 cameras to document their journeys

"We started to gather different people's footage and license that footage and then we started to build on top of that," Davis-McGee said. "The very few people that had 360 cameras in this moment in time, I think those individuals knew they were capturing history in a very unique way."

He and his team traveled the country, interviewing them.

"These headsets, to us, up to this point really haven't had a lot of representation from people of color, from storytellers of color," Davis-McGee said.

Now complete, "In Protest" is part of the 2021 Twin Cities Film Fest. This is the first year the festival has included virtual reality as a category.

"One of the biggest challenges that we had going into making this was, how do we authentically and with integrity place people into this traumatic moment in time and how do you place people into moments of trauma without it being too triggering or without it being a sense of cultural appropriation? We were going to learn, we were going to fail, we were going to take some risks but we just wanted to make sure that the piece that we were creating was not a sympathy piece about Black people," Davis-McGee said. "We wanted to make sure that In Protest was highlighting and showcasing Black excellence. We wanted to make sure that we were highlighting and showcasing Black courage."

But what better way to process the experience than with sweet potato pie? Davis-McGee says once viewers remove their headsets, they're offered a slice of McGee's Comfort Pie and a chance to reflect with the filmmakers. The pod where the series is shown also features artwork donated by Save the Boards.

"In Protest" is available for viewing Wed., Oct. 27 between 6:30 and 10 p.m. at the REM5 Virtual Reality Laboratory in St. Louis Park. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out