INNER SELFIE FEAT. HIS HOLINESS THE 14TH DALAI LAMA
A VR CITY & STATELESS STUDIOS ORIGINAL for HULU & DALAI LAMA CENTRE FOR COMPASSION
A spellbinding and meditative experience giving viewers a one-on-one with the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala and Oxford University.
Dir: Dominic Dowbekin & Babak Zand

 
 
“We set out to use contemporary technical wizardry to revitalise these ancient and kind teachings in a way that is relevant and attention-grabbing today — because smiling, friendship and togetherness remain as important as ever. Thus we give thanks for the technical wizards who have, along the way, helped us realise this dream and hence we implore all those who feel the good vibes to spread them far and wide.”
— Babak Zand Godarzi & Dominic Dowbekin - Directors, Stateless Studios
 
 

A Radical VR Experience

Inner Selfie is a radical new VR series that combines sophisticated filmmaking techniques and immersive technologies to conjure an extraordinary, intimate encounter with the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet and Nobel Laureate for Peace. In a magical, dream-like experience, the viewer drifts from the present moment into a liminal space where His Holiness himself bestows positive guidance, venerating the value of smiling and beseeching friendship and togetherness. Inner Selfie frames his message in a fresh and compelling way, seeking new minds to inspire with this ancient wisdom.

Karma

Admirers of virtual technology’s ability to manifest astonishing, transformative experiences, Babak Zand Goodarzi, Dominic Dowbekin and Ashley Cowan began to investigate how this rapidly developing medium could be beneficially engaged in motivating qualities like empathy, compassion and altruism across large swathes of society. While searching for suitable subjects to develop into such works, fate—or perhaps karma—led to several meetings with Tenzin Gyatso, the current and 14th Dalai Lama. First at the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala, India and later at Rhodes House in Oxford, UK.

 
 
“Our mission at the Centre is to advance individuals’ and society’s understanding of compassion and related values. We are very excited about INNER SELFIE’S potential to contribute to this mission and to demonstrate the indispensability of compassion to happiness among communities that traditional approaches struggle to reach. We would like to thank all involved in creating and supporting this extraordinary initiative.”
— Alexander Norman, Director, Dalai Lama Centre For Compassion
 
 

Dalai Lama Centre For Compassion

Produced by VR City and Stateless Studios, and with support from the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion at Oxford University, the filmmakers were able to capture His Holiness in 360° video. Thus generating the first and only such footage of any Dalai Lama to date. Post-production was conducted at our studios in Shoreditch with our expert team of editors, VFX artists and digital technicians to animate and enliven the surroundings. Sound design by composer Henry Bennett, fusing bells, chimes and chants from near and afar, enriches the atmosphere further.

 
 
We were delighted to have the opportunity to explore the power of isolation that VR has, to give people a meditative experience with The Dalai Lama. In the age of second screens, click bait and endless social media, Inner Selfie is a welcome new addition to the VR landscape.
— Ashley Cowan, Producer & CEO, East City
 
 

Inspire

The hope is for Inner Seflie to dissipate distractions, if only for a moment. For this virtual experience to elicit a meditative, calm and focused state in the real world, both within and without, that then extends beyond the duration of the piece itself. The hope is for its message of goodwill to inspire and to encourage real smiles, friendship and happiness in those who encounter it.

Hulu

The pilot episode of Inner Selfie is currently only available on Hulu VR. Episodes 2 to 6 are currently in the works. If you want to know more then get in touch with Ash on hello@vr-city.com.

 
 

Conceived and Directed by Babak Zand Goodarzi & Dominic Dowbekin | Produced by Ashley Cowan | Editor Conan Roberts | VFX Supervisor Andy Overton | Assistant Editor Yiorgos Tsivranidis | Sound Recordist Justin Smith | Audio Mix by Rich Evans | Sound Design by Henry Bennett | Special thanks to His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama, Alexander Norman, Keith Abel, Ralph Weir and all at the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion at Oxford University | A Stateless Studios & VR City production shot on location at the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala, India and Rhodes House at Oxford University, UK