Meet real women and have a genuine conversation about their decision to terminate a pregnancy.
The Choice is a series of interactive VR experiences where women talk about their choice to have an abortion.
Director Joanne Popinska is a Polish-Canadian. She was deeply moved by her home country’s actions that resulted in a near-total abortion ban in Poland in 2020. The Constitutional Court ruled that abortion in cases of severe fetal abnormalities was unconstitutional. Observing attempts aiming to revoke Roe v. Wade in the United States and the new Supermajority in the U.S. Supreme Court, she interviewed Canadian and American people about their abortion experiences and the obstacles they faced.
The Choice blends techniques from traditional documentary storytelling, personal conversation, and animation, using virtual reality and interactivity to redefine not only how we tell the stories, but how the audience experiences them and connects with the subject on a deep, emotional level.
In this series of interactive VR experiences, women talk about their choice to have an abortion.
The young Native American woman sitting opposite you in the first episode is Kristen from Texas. As you talk to her about her experience, the initially empty space around you gradually fills with animated line drawings that reinforce the story which is already so poignant.
She talks about her and her husband’s longing for a child, their joy when she became pregnant, and the immense sadness when after 20 weeks it turned out that their unborn child had serious physical abnormalities. She also talks about the almost inhumanely obstructive attitudes she faced in the Texas health care system when making what was already such a difficult decision.
The title thus has a double meaning—it is about the actual choice that women make, as well as the freedom of choice that they are denied in far too many parts of the world.
WORLD PREMIERE AT IDFA
The Choice will have its World Premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) this November.
With its unique focus on politically-committed programs and social themes, premiering at IDFA is an incredible honour and a great way to introduce The Choice to a global audience.
The Choice utilizes the presence and embodiment of the VR space. But most important is the story it tells and how the audience becomes a part of the conversation.
The invitation from IDFA to participate in this year’s festival underlines the importance of our approach to narration in documentary film.
Designed for Oculus Quest