Bristol University virtual reality film showcased at Venice Film Festival

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By Teddy Coward, Investigations Editor

The Waiting Room documents Victoria Mapplebeck’s fight against breast cancer, as both patient and director.

Mappleback’s film was originally shot on an iPhone X, with every step of her diagnosis, treatment and recovery made into a short documentary for The Guardian.

A VR project accompanied the documentary, which involves a 9-minute reconstruction of Mappleback’s last radiotherapy session. This was commissioned by Virtual Realities – a collaborative research project by the University of Bristol, UWE and the University of Bath that investigates the production and user experience of the emerging 360° medium.

Professor Kirsten Cater is the Principal Investigator at Virtual Realities; she is a Reader in Computer Science at the University of Bristol, specialising in Human Computer Interaction.

The film is currently being shown at Venice Film Festival – the world’s oldest film festival – where it is nominated for a prize in the ‘linear’ category.

Speaking about her work, Mappleback explained: ‘during my cancer treatment I gained access to my tumor samples. Looking through the microscope wasn’t terrifying, instead I found the experience strangely cathartic.’

The Waiting Room aims to explore illness and mortality from a patient’s point of view, putting under the microscope what we can and what we can’t control when our bodies fail us.'

Featured Image credit: Unsplash / Ramon Salinero


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