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RCYF's Spring Break Interview with MLK Film Writer

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

At the SXSW 2023 festival over Spring Break, RCYF students had the privilege to interview the talented and award-winning Andrina Smith, writer of the new groundbreaking VR documentary, MLK: Now is the Time.

MLK: Now is the Time is a 20-minute VR documentary that features hand-gesture based technology that allows a user to interact with key moments in history. For example, users are immersed into moments such as The March on Washington, and even a simulated experience being pulled over by police.

Andrina's latest work explores Dr. King's life and legacy in an entirely new and immersive way, and we couldn't be more excited to share our conversation with you all.

(responses have been edited for brevity and clarity)

Q: What inspired you to create a documentary about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in virtual reality format?

Andrina Smith (AS): I've always been fascinated by the life and work of Dr. King. His message of peace and unity is timeless, and I wanted to create a project that would bring his story to life in a fresh and engaging way. By using VR technology, we can truly immerse the audience in key moments from his life and help them experience the emotional weight of his speeches and actions firsthand.

Photo: Left to right: RCYF students posed with Andrina Smith, writer of the new VR documentary MLK: Now is the Time. Students immersed themselves in the stories of MLK.

Q: What challenges did you face while producing the documentary in VR?

AS: VR is still an evolving medium, and there were definitely some technical challenges in terms of filming and editing. The biggest challenge, though, was figuring out how to tell Dr. King's story effectively in this new format. We wanted to ensure the narrative was engaging and accessible, while also staying true to the historical context.

Q: Can you tell us about any memorable moments from the documentary?

AS: One of the most powerful moments for me was when we recreated Dr. King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech in VR. Being able to stand in the crowd and feel the energy and passion of his words was truly inspiring. It's an experience I'll never forget and one that I hope will touch the hearts of many viewers.

Q: How do you think VR can impact the way we learn about history and important figures like Dr. King?

AS: I believe VR has the potential to revolutionize education. By immersing students in historical events, it can make learning more engaging and help them build a deeper emotional connection to the subject matter. We learn best when we can truly experience something, and VR can make that possible for so many topics, including the life and legacy of Dr. King.

Andrina Smith's MLK documentary in VR format is an innovative and powerful way to experience history. Our RCYF students are eager to see how this medium will transform the way we learn about the past and engage with the stories of those who shaped our world.

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