• Jesus VR is an interactive film that depicts the last days of Christ
• It has been filmed with 360-degree 4K cameras
• Viewers will be able to turn their head in any direction and see from every angle
• It has been produced with a team of Hollywood alumni
• Will be available on all major VR platforms
Devout Christians believe they will meet Jesus in the next life, well now they will be able to see him in this life – using virtual reality.
Jesus VR – The Story of Christ is a movie that is viewed using a VR headset, it depicts key moments in the life of Jesus Christ.
Unlike traditional biblical movies, VR will give viewers the ability to look in any direction for a different perspective so you have the feeling of being a witness to the Bible story as it plays out in front of you.
The Jesus VR experience has been filmed using a bespoke head-mounted stand with seven Sony Alpha 7 4K cameras that capture 360-degree footage so viewers will be able to look in all directions. There is even one facing upwards for when viewers want to see the sky.
It was shot on location in the ancient Italian village of Matera, which actor-director Mel Gibson used when he filmed his epic version of the Bible story The Passion of the Christ. Filming wrapped in October 2015.
The executive producer, Enzo Sisti is no stranger to the story. He successfully worked in the same role for Gibson’s movie (which generated over $600 million gross) so he has already proven to understand the requirements. He said “its production values will absolutely set a new benchmark for virtual reality.”
Jesus VR portrays pivotal events from Jesus’ life and death including his baptism, the Sermon on the Mount, the Last Supper, the crucifixion and the resurrection.
The screenplay has been written by Andre van Heerden who also wrote biblical themed movies Judgment, Vanished and In the Name of God.
It’s been directed and produced by David Hansen who worked on Hellion and the religious tale about discovering faith, Beyond the Heavens. He said “The viewers truly feel they are there with Jesus and his disciples. This is the most powerful story of all time and virtual reality is the perfect way to tell it.”
Blue-eyed American actor Tim Fellingham plays Jesus.
“The viewers truly feel they are there with Jesus and his disciples. This is the most powerful story of all time and virtual reality is the perfect way to tell it.”
Mel Gibson’s movie was both criticised and praised for depicting the violence against Jesus as he was tortured and then crucified. It’s now widely regarded as the most authentic depiction of the latter Bible stories for bringing the Passion to life.
Jesus VR won’t have the production values of the Gibson film but it will have something far more powerful – the sense of presence, the feeling of actually being there. ‘See the crucifixion of Christ as if you were standing at the foot of the cross!’ This fictitious selling point might appear distasteful, but it is a logical extension of how movies have tried to bring the New Testament to life. VR has the potential to make Jesus seem more real to Christians than any other media has done before, be it the words in the Bible itself, church icons, stain-glassed windows, religious art, hymns or even movies.
This raises certain psychological questions for Christians; having seen Jesus stood in front of them and look at them will it make his sacrifice seem greater or less significant? Will it enhance Christians’ relationship with Jesus? When they see the Jews choose to free the murderer Barabbas over Jesus will it instigate feelings of blame, perhaps leading to anti-Semitic feelings in the real world? After seeing such horrific torture might it cause PTSD? Could it lead to survivor-guilt for seeing Jesus being tortured and not doing anything to help him? Ultimately much will be dependent on how well production company Autumn VR are able to meld this new field of technology with creative talent but this certainly appears to be the dawn of a new movie medium.
Whatever the reaction, this could be the start of a huge growth area for VR – interactive Bible experiences.
Jesus VR – The Story of Christ is 90 minutes long and will be released Christmas 2016 on all major VR platforms including PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear and Google Cardboard.