Global BrightLight Foundation Premieres Virtual Reality Film at Sundance

VR film will be screened at Sundance as part of the Oculus from Facebook 360 for Good program.

Washington, DC (January 12, 2017) — On Sunday January 22, the Global BrightLight Foundation (GBL) will premiere a new virtual reality film as part of the Oculus from Facebook 360 for Good Bootcamp for Filmmakers and Nonprofits (“360 for Good”).

The 360 for Good program is part of Oculus’ larger VR for Good program and brings together ten filmmakers and ten nonprofits to tell impactful stories through virtual reality. As part of this program, GBL worked with filmmaker Jessie Hughes to create a new virtual reality short film showcasing GBL’s efforts to tackle energy poverty in Latin America. GBL has already produced three short virtual reality films that highlight the need for affordable and practical solar energy solutions.

“We are honored and excited to be a part of Oculus’ VR for Good program,” said Benjamin Bunker, CEO of the Global BrightLight Foundation.

“This is an incredible opportunity for us to show how solar energy is changing lives. The video was filmed in a small community near the town of Tac Tic, Alta Verapaz in the northern highlands of Guatemala. Many people in this community do not have access to electricity and those that do are subject to constant blackouts. This makes it almost impossible to perform every day activities after dark like studying, cooking, or spending time with family. With virtual reality technology, viewers will be able to truly experience how solar energy transforms the lives of families living without electricity,” said Bunker.

Founded in 2011, GBL has worked in nine different countries and deployed over 74,000 lamps, impacting the lives of 359,000 people. GBL is currently focusing its efforts in Guatemala and Peru, working in alliance with local not-for-profit Amigos de la Aldea.

Energy poverty (lack of access to electricity) is an issue facing more than 1 billion people. These people, who often live in rural farming communities, rely on expensive and sometimes dangerous energy sources to access power. They light their homes with candles, kerosene, or batteries – all low-quality fuels that are expensive, dangerous, and polluting. To charge a cell phone, their only form of communication beyond their village, they must also travel many hours, or even days, and pay someone for electricity.

Solar lanterns and solar home systems provide clean, high-quality lighting and cell phone charging capabilities at an affordable price. These products significantly increase the quality of life for families living in rural areas and provide economic, health, educational, and time-saving benefits. Solar energy is also good for the environment because it does not produce emissions that contribute to global climate change.

Said Bunker, “My hope is that this new film brings the need for practical and affordable solar energy solutions to the forefront and captures the impact that we are having on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, one light at a time. We truly believe that a little bit of power makes a world of difference.”

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