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Film & Advertising Industries Come Together to Battle Alzheimer's with VR

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Thomas Thomas Films, MPC, Grey London, 750mph and The Quarry join forces to kickstart The WAYBACK project

Film & Advertising Industries Come Together to Battle Alzheimer's with VR

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia and the biggest health challenge this country faces, year on year costing more lives than cancer or heart disease. A recent study, from the Alzheimer’s Society, showed 225,000 people in the UK will develop dementia this year alone, that’s 1 every 3 minutes.

The WAYBACK project is seeking crowdfunding on Kickstarter to create a series of freely available, virtual reality films that faithfully recreate popular, positive moments from our collective past. The films will take the viewer back to a familiar past moment in time and immerse them fully in the historic scene. The aim is to help trigger happy memories and most importantly, open up new conversations and connections with loved ones and carers.

Dan Cole, creative at Grey London and Co-Founder, The WAYBACK, commented: "As the disease robs people of the ability to remember and communicate, conversations with your loved one sadly become more and more difficult. We believe that The WAYBACK can help start new conversations by transporting a person back to another era for a few moments, triggering their own memories of that time to share."


The idea now needs to raise £35k to make the pilot episode. This opening episode will transport viewers back to a moment firmly planted in the UK’s national conscience; the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. An iconic event which evokes fond memories for those alive at that time. The WAYBACK will recreate a Coronation street party in exact detail; from the location to the costumes, props and atmosphere. The viewer will be able to fully explore the scene, overhearing conversations and music from the time — making the VR experience as enjoyable and realistic as possible.

A number of care professionals believe that triggering happy memories from the past can improve physical well-being and bring comfort to those suffering with the disease. For some, reconnecting with these memories can help reinforce a sense of identity and a feeling of self-worth. Progressive care homes currently use props from the past to help try and trigger memories which stimulate conversations therefore creating an atmosphere of positive connections. The WAYBACK project sees VR as an extension to this approach.

Dr David Sheard, founder of Dementia Care Matters and consultant on Channel 4’s award-winning series ‘Dementiaville’, has helped the project to ask the right questions along the way and introduced the project to the residents and staff at Huntington House, a progressive care home for those living with Dementia. Sheard commented: “Recalling the past is one of the ways we can create new positive moments for people living with dementia. THE WAYBACK PROJECT is special because it will help connect people to the past — using the wonders of new technology today. Anything in dementia care that offers the opportunity to connect and be reached is strongly welcomed.”

The independent project, which will be freely available to view, is being launched by a group of friends in the film and advertising industries after seeing their own loved ones affected by the disease and watching their memories slip away.

Executive Producer, Emma Fasson said, "It’s incredible the people and companies that are donating their time & expertise to make this happen — but it shows the passion & genuine belief that this idea can make a difference for those living with Alzheimer’s."

The WAYBACK team already includes award winning director Kevin Thomas at Thomas Thomas Films, together with MPC London the visual effects company behind blockbuster movies such as The Jungle Book, alongside Grey London, 750mph sound studio and The Quarry Editors.

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Categories: Health, Corporate, Social and PSAs

Grey, Fri, 27 Jan 2017 15:52:55 GMT