3. Spotlight: Women in VR - Eliza McNitt
By Alice Bonasio
Eliza McNitt is a writer and director whose work explores the cosmic collision of science and art. From astronauts to astrophysicists, McNitt works alongside scientists to tell stories about the human connection to the cosmos. She found filmmaking through science, as her first film was inspired by a desire to communicate the devastating impact of vanishing honeybees. Her honeybee research received the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering’s Gerber Medal–the state’s highest award for student science research–as well as special awards from The Harvard-Smithsonian Observatory, MIT-Lincoln Lab, the Audubon Society, CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research), the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, Pfizer, the United States Armed Forces, the United States Air Force, and Connecticut Governor Jody Rell.
She is the creator of Fistful of Stars a VR experience following the journey of The Hubble Telescope through the cosmos that drew an audience of over 6,000 people at BRIC! Celebrate Brooklyn and was the world’s largest communal virtual reality experience to date.
McNitt then went on to create the acclaimed SPHERES, an episodic journey featuring Jessica Chastain and Millie Bobby Brown, and singer-songwriter Patti Smith as the voices of the cosmos. The piece was the first VR experience to debut at the Telluride Film Festival and was world's first-ever acquisition of a VR experience out of the Sundance Film Festival, and was awarded the Grand Prize in Virtual Reality at The Venice Film Festival.
She's also a very active voice for equality in the industry, recently directing “Drip Drop,” a powerful piece which features stories of four people who didn’t “see themselves” in the creative industry, and yet took action to great effect. The experience begins in a mysterious void where digitized versions of four people, including Eliza herself, are seemingly floating in water. When viewers stare at one of these figures and blink, the person comes to life.
Every Tuesday we'll shine a spotlight on the female trailblazers making their mark in immersive tech and their work. If you have a story you think we should feature, just hit reply to this email or tweet me @alicebonasio.