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“Deprogrammed is a meditative virtual walk through the mental worlds of a former member of the Unification Church, a skinhead and a jihadist.”
Mia Donovan, Author
Deprogrammed is an interactive web documentary that is based on the spoken testimonies of three former cult and extremist group followers. As the user journeys through deserted landscapes, s/he listens to the experiences of a former member of the Unification Church, a skinhead, and an Islamist extremist. The user can move forward by using keyboard buttons, and look around with the help of the mouse. The minimalism of the user interaction accentuates the audio further, making visible the parallels between the experiences of three individuals — such as the universal need for belonging and the fear that arises from its lack.
Deprogrammed has a VR iteration which was awarded the 2016 IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling. Mia Donovan also directed a feature documentary with the same name which explores the rise of Ted ‘Black Lightning’ Patrick’s deprogramming technique and anti-cult crusade.