Docu-reality and Empathy in Bloodless (2017) A Manifesto for Transnational Virtual Reality Cinema
Entering the commercial mass market in 2016 following decades of anticipation, virtual reality filmmaking is undergoing a period of intense experimentation in Asia and across the globe. Early adopters are now using VR in a diverse array of narrative styles, eager to discover new aesthetic and experiential uses for this novel screen technology. Bloodless (2017) is a short VR film made with a transnational production and post-production team that is challenging conventional notions of screen storytelling with its stylised docu-drama approach. This chapter uses Bloodless and the manifesto behind it as a case study to explore how VR films are becoming a popular entertainment platform that is entrenched in broader social and cultural practices. It provides some much-needed historical context for the transformation of virtual reality and its intersections with other digital media. In so doing, the authors show how Bloodless expands our thinking about collaborative VR encounters, which are invigorating a coherent cultural voice in this aspirational space beyond its utopian promises.