Sponsored Project

Virtual War

Emily Cohen Ibañez
Emily Cohen Ibañez

In 2005, the Washington Post reported “the number of veterans receiving compensation for the disorder commonly called PTSD has grown nearly seven times as fast as the number receiving benefits for disabilities in general.” Since 2010, military R&D has markedly increased its focus on “psychological resilience,” investing billions of dollars in virtual therapeutics, where patients wear VR headsets and immerse themselves into traumatic scenes, and stress inoculation training, which involves live-action role playing on TV studio sets. Virtual War is set at the nexus of the Hollywood entertainment industry, the rapidly growing video game design world, and military training.

This nexus takes shape in the lives of two protagonists - war veterans Mike Farina and Jerry Della Salla - as they strive to give meaning to their war experiences after being diagnosed with PTSD. Along the way, they participate in different experimental treatments that involve virtual reality and live action role playing on TV studio sets. Oscillating between 360-degree animation, memories, and actual life, “Virtual War” immerses the viewer in the experience of US soldiers and veterans. Will immersive techniques and simulated reenactments help Mike and Jerry make sense of their trauma or resign them to re-living their worst memories indefinitely?