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If watching a movie is like seeing another world, then his latest film is like teleporting to one.

He went from rap videos to the cutting edge of immersive filmmaking. And what he's doing with it is absolutely wonderful.

If watching a movie is like seeing another world, then his latest film is like teleporting to one.

Chris Milk went into film because he sees its world-changing potential.

Milk is a photographer, designer, a bit of a techy, and a filmmaker. His career picked up steam through his mind-blowing media collaborations with some of the most prominent names in music, like Green Day, Arcade Fire, and Kanye West.


His hype video for Kanye West's "Touch the Sky" landed him in the middle of a lawsuit with his boyhood hero, Evel Knievel. (It was settled amicably.)

But Milk believes in order to get the most out of film, not only do the ideas have to evolve, but so does the medium itself.

"Film, it's an incredible medium, but essentially, it's the same now as it was then. It's a group of rectangles that are played in a sequence. ... I started thinking about, is there a way that I can use modern and developing technologies to tell stories in different ways and tell different kinds of stories that maybe I couldn't tell using the traditional tools of filmmaking that we've been using for 100 years? ... What I was trying to do was to build the ultimate empathy machine."
— Chris Milk

Enter: VIRTUAL REALITY!

Milk says watching traditional film is like looking through a window into another world. But he wanted to put people in that other world. The solution: virtual reality (VR).

He and his tech team built this 360-degree 3D camera and mic gizmo to shoot films that would allow people to not just see but experience another world through VR.


He didn't shoot more Kanye videos with that 3D camera. He started with Syria.

Syrians have become one of the largest refugee populations in the world. Milk wanted to tell that story.

His first virtual reality film, "Clouds Over Sidra," is about a little Syrian girl whose family fled the violent civil war in their country and now live in a refugee camp in Jordan.

When you see the film in VR, you can physically look around and see everything the camera saw. But here's some sample footage stretched out into a traditional film rectangle:



"When you're inside of the headset. you're not seeing it like this. You're looking around through this world. You'll notice you see full 360 degrees, in all directions. ... You're not watching it through a television screen. You're not watching it through a window. You're sitting there with her. When you look down, you're sitting on the same ground that she's sitting on. And because of that, you feel her humanity in a deeper way. You empathize with her in a deeper way."
— Chris Milk

Then he took the film to some people whose jobs it is to make change possible.

After Milk finished his film in Syria, he and his team took their film — and a gang of VR headsets — to the World Economic Forum and showed it to people who could make decisions that would improve the situation for those refugees.

The film was a hit. Maybe not in the same way as "Transformers," but it affected the group enough to catch the attention of the United Nations.

Changing the world, according to Milk, means you have to change people's minds.

Now, Milk is shooting a series of films around the world that will take policymakers out of their armchairs and put them virtually on the ground in places where global aid is sorely needed.

Learn more about how he's expanding his project around the world:

Personally, I'm excited for a chance to experience these films. Meanwhile, here's hoping that Milk is right about what they could do for global empathy and positive change.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

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The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.