|John Woodrow Cox,Seth Blanchard,Suzette Moyer
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“We are continuously experimenting with new ways to bring stories to life for our readers. Virtual reality completely divorces the user from their reality and engulfs them in any given story. With the advancements made to this technology, there are now far more users who will be able to experience this type of storytelling.”
Jeremy Gilbert, Director of Strategic Initiatives at The Washington Post
“12 seconds of gunfire: The true story of a school shooting” is a virtual reality experience produced by The Washington Post and directed by Washington Post design editor Suzette Moyer and senior developer Seth Blanchard that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2019. The experience is based on an front-page article by 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist John Woodrow Cox, and the story is illustrated in an immersive 360-degree film by award-winning animator Wesley Allsbrook from an original script and audio from The Post’s team.
The illustrations in the piece take viewers into the world of Jacob Hall and Ava Olsen, who were first-graders at Townville Elementary School in South Carolina when a 14-year-old boy opened fire on their school playground at recess. The movie follows Ava as she struggles to deal with the aftermath of the shooting — from her friend Jacob’s funeral to the anguished letter she sends to President Donald Trump asking him to keep kids safe from guns. Throughout the film, users are guided through Ava’s rural South Carolina community with visual cues and audio narration.