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When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I decided to record each step of my journey from diagnosis to recovery. I wanted to explore the myths and language of chronic illness and to confront what we can and what we can’t control when our bodies fail us. I set out to create an intimate and visceral portrait of cancer treatment and its transformative impact on the body and family life. Ultimately, I hope The Waiting Room VR will remind the audience of the person behind the diagnosis.
Victoria Mapplebeck, Director, to Docubase
The Waiting Room is a VR journey which tells the story of Victoria Mapplebeck’s breast cancer (as patient and director) from diagnosis through treatment to recovery. The lynchpin of this VR piece is a 9-minute durational 360° take, a reconstruction of Victoria’s last session of radiotherapy. The user finds themselves in an intimate and unexpected role of bystander.This experience is counter balanced by a CGI journey inside of the director’s body. Cancer cells, CT scans, mammograms and ultrasound provide a 3D portrait of Victoria’s body from the inside out. The Waiting Room begins with a personal journey, but as cancer affects one in two of people over the course of a lifetime, it also tells a very universal story. The Waiting Room premiered at the 76th Venice International Film Festival and was selected for Tribeca’s We Are One Film Festival. It also won The IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling in 2019.