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_Project Syria

Project Syria uses new virtual reality technologies to put the audience “on scene” and experience the plight of Syrian children at the civil war, in a truly visceral way.

2014 Nonny de la Peña
EN Visit the project

The World Economic Forum initially commissioned Project Syria, an immersive journalism piece that conveys the plight of the child refugees in Syria. It has also been selected for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Project Syria uses virtual reality technologies to put the audience “on scene,” enabling people to feel as if they are truly witnesses to the violent events in Syria. This piece was requested to be displayed at the World Economic Forum by the Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab, in Davos January 21, with the idea of compelling world leaders to act on this crucial issue.

Nonny de la Peña, Author.


According to a joint statement issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNICEF last August, one million children have already been forced to flee Syria since the start of the country’s civil war. Some news reports indicate that children are actually being specifically targeted in the violence. Initially commissioned by Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab of The World Economic Forum, Project Syria uses new virtual reality technologies to put the audience “on scene” and experience the plight of these children in a truly visceral way.

The first scene replicates a moment on a busy street corner in the Aleppo district of Syria. In the middle of song, a rocket hits and dust and debris fly everywhere. The second scene dissolves to a refugee camp in which the viewer experiences being in the center of a camp as it grows exponentially in a representation that parallels the real story of how the extraordinary number of refugees from Syria fleeing their homeland have had to take refuge in camps. All elements are drawn from actual audio, video and photographs taken on scene.

Utilizing the real time graphics of the Unity game engine and sense of presence evoked through high resolution virtual reality goggles and compelling audio, Project Syria takes the audience to the real events as they transpire.

Project at a Glance :

Language : EN
Country : United States
Year : 2014
Author : Nonny de la Peña
Producer : Michael Licht,MxR Studio,Nonny de la Peña,USC School of Cinematic Arts,Vangelis Lympouridis,World Economic Forum
Team : Adam Jones David Krum,Allison Aptaker,Arno Hartholt,Bradley Hiebert,David Nelson,Evan Suma,Faisal Attrache,Gingger Shankar,Heidi Hathaway,James Bowie-Wilson,James Hanes,Joe Yip,Julie Young,Logan Ver Hoef,Mahdi Azmandian,Matt Liewer,Megan Reid,Michael Licht,MxR Lab,Namak Khoshnaw,Nicholas Palmer Kelly,Nonny de la Peña,Paisley Smith,Rhys Yahata,Ryan Spicer,Shelbi Jay,Steven Brown,Thai Phan,Tracy Mc,USC Institute for Creative Technologies,Vangelis Lympouridis,Yehjean Kim
Developers : Bradley Newman,Cognito Comics,Evan Stern,Fotos Frangoudes,Shiraz Akmal
Designers : Alexa Bona Kim,Axyz Design,Metal Rabbit Games,Michael Murdock,Mikkel Rasch Nielson
Budget Range : $285k
Funders AND Incubators : Emblematic Group,MxR Studio,USC School of Cinematic Arts,World Economic Forum
Trailer :

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