A unique partnership between Thomas Thomas Films, MPC, 750pmh, The Quarry and Grey London have launched a crowdfunded virtual reality film series, designed to help those living with Alzheimer’s and their carers called The Wayback.
The pilot episode immerses viewers in a series of moments on June 2nd, 1953, the Queen’s Coronation: from watching the event on TV, to the street party, games and sing-a-longs that followed. The film aims help those living with the effects of Alzheimer’s by fully immersing the viewer in the sights and sounds of a positive moment from the past, to help them recall their own precious memories.
The film was shot over two days on a North London street with special detail paid to anything that might be recognisable – the clothes, the food and even the conversations from the day.
The project began with a crowd-funding push on Kickstarter, raising £35,000 in 35 days with nearly 250 backers. It was produced by Emma Fasson and Trent Simpson and written & directed by Kevin Thomas of Thomas Thomas Films, with VFX by MPC, editing by The Quarry and sound design by 750mph.
Developing the project, the team consulted with care professionals and Dr David Sheard, a leading expert in dementia care and reminiscence methods.
He said: ‘The Wayback virtual reality film offers those living with dementia the opportunity to live in the moment, to go back in time and to just ' BE ' again. People don't just remember their past memories they feel the emotions that went with them. The Wayback enable families to see the person is not lost to dementia but able to still experience and feel being who they were – and share those memories with them’.
The experience can be viewed here;
Once production was finalized, the team visited Hunting House and Langham Court carehome to see how residents responded to the virtual reality. Charlie Hoare, Managing Director at the care home residents had a significant positive reaction when watching the film - ‘When we shared it with the residents for the first time, you could visibly tell that they were being flooded by emotion; smiling and laughing at happy memories of familiar times. Dementia can leave you feeling unsure about every situation you find yourself in, but being immersed in familiar moments when the dementia didn’t exist, such as watching the Coronation on a black and white TV, seemed to instil a feeling of certainty and security.’
The experience was shared with residents of a Surrey based care home and can be seen here;
Dan Cole, a creative from Grey London on the project, added: ‘For those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s & Dementia, sometimes the only way forward is to go way back. As a group of friends who have watched our own loved ones live with Alzheimer’s & dementia, The Wayback is simply a tool we wished we’d had at the time. Thanks to everyone on Kickstarter and our generous and talented partners, that wish is now a reality for others.’
‘The Wayback’ is available FREE on the App Store (and shortly on Android) for anyone to download and share with their loved one at home. It is also available for care homes to use freely as a reminiscence tool.
Creative Team: Dan Cole, Andy Garnett, Howard Green
Writer & Director: Kevin Thomas
Production Company: Thomas Thomas Films
Executive Producer: Emma Fasson
Executive Producer: Trent Simpson
Executive Producer: Philippa Thomas
VFX – Executive Producer: Dafydd Upsdell
Edit: The Quarry
Editor: Jim Robinson
Strategy: Elisa Chami-Castaldi
Website: John-Patrick Racle, Richard Hau
App Development: Perry Nightingale
Production Manager: Matt Bulaitis
DOP: Bob Pender-Hughes
Production Designer: Ashling Johnson
Costume Designer: Lorraine Kinman
Hair & Make Up Designer: Freddie Stopler
Casting Director: Belinda Norcliffe Casting
VR: M7 Virtual