“On the Morning You Wake (to the End of the World),” a new virtual reality documentary from Archer’s Mark and Atlas V, the award-winning creators of Notes on Blindness VR, has been released for public screenings and home viewing on Meta Quest 2.
The full three-part documentary is currently screening in Austin, Texas as an official selection of the 2022 SXSW Film Festival. “Chapter 2: The Doomsday Machine” and “Chapter 3: Kuleana” premiered at SXSW on March 13. “Chapter 1: Take Cover” previously premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival in January.
Through a 38-minute VR experience, “On the Morning You Wake” recreates the experiences of people in Hawai’i, who spent 38 excruciating minutes preparing for a possible nuclear attack when a false missile alert was sent on January 13th, 2018. The film takes audiences on a journey exploring the risks and consequences of a world held hostage by nuclear weapons, and reflecting on how the mere existence of these weapons impacts our concepts of home, safety and security.
The film’s wide release on Meta Quest 2 amplifies the conversation about nuclear disarmament and abolition at a critical moment in the public’s awareness of nuclear threat. “Right now, people all over the world are confronting the reality of the volatile world of systemic nuclear risk we live in,” said Cynthia Lazaroff, a disarmament activist, impact fellow supporting “On the Morning You Wake,” and resident of Hawai’i whose experience is featured in the film. “Now is the time to educate, advocate, and take concrete action toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.”
The film is at the center of a long-term impact campaign to inspire the global public to take action to shape the future of nuclear weapons policy. “One of the goals of ‘On the Morning You Wake’ is to build additional support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which bans nuclear weapons,” said Ray Acheson, an impact fellow, visiting researcher at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, and part of the steering group of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) that helped create the landmark treaty. “There are meaningful ways that we can all support the TPNW and work together to encourage all countries to join this treaty — and eliminate nuclear weapons once and for all.”
The impact campaign includes a number of public screenings and events, as well as educational resources that promote a deeper understanding of nuclear risk. Executive producer Games for Change is creating educational resources and curriculum in collaboration with N Square, which will support screenings at schools, universities and museums around the world.
The first museum and education activations will take place at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, which will host public screenings, conversations and field trips for high school students in June. Plans are also underway for a public event and activation in New York City in May, in collaboration with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
“The Nobel Peace Center is proud to join the impact campaign surrounding ‘On the Morning You Wake.’ The Nobel Peace Prize has a long tradition of honoring people and organizations working towards nuclear disarmament. Since 1959, twelve laureates have received the prize for their efforts regarding this issue,” said Kjersti Fløgstad, Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Center. “‘On the Morning You Wake’ presents a powerful opportunity to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.”
The impact campaign is endorsed by a number of leading organizations and activists in the nuclear disarmament movement, including executive producer Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, and impact campaign partners Global Zero, ICAN, Ploughshares Fund, N Square, Carnegie Corporation and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Impact Fellows leading the film’s public awareness campaign include Ray Acheson, director of disarmament at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and steering group member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize; Cynthia Lazaroff, a leader in U.S.-Russian exchange initiatives since the early 1980s and founder of Women Transforming Our Nuclear Legacy and NuclearWakeUpCall.Earth; and Lovely Umayam, founder of Bombshelltoe Policy and Arts Collective, a winner of the U.S. Department of State’s Innovation in Arms Control Challenge.
The “On the Morning You Wake” creative team includes Mike Brett and Steve Jamison of Archer’s Mark, Pierre Zandrowicz and Arnaud Colinart of Atlas V, producer Jo-Jo Ellison and co-producer Kurban Kassam, who collaborated with technology studio Novelab. The script was developed by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison in collaboration with Dr. Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio (pictured above), whose spoken word poem inspired the film’s title and provides a lyrical framework for each chapter of the experience. Original music is composed by Bobby Krlic (The Haxan Cloak), the award-winning musician behind Ari Aster’s Midsommar soundtrack.
Development, production and platform partners include the BFI (awarding funds from the National Lottery), ARTE France and Meta Quest’s VR for Good program. Lizzie Francke executive produces for the BFI, with Marianne Lévy-Leblond and Lili Blumers executive producing for ARTE France. Executive producers for Meta Quest are Colum Slevin, Yelena Rachitsky and Amy Seidenwurm.
Executive producers Alexander Glaser and Tamara Patton from Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security advise on nuclear arms control and disarmament policy, drawing on extensive expertise in nuclear security issues. Executive producer Susanna Pollack at nonprofit Games for Change advances the project’s social impact campaign through their XR for Change initiative. The project was developed with initial support from the MacArthur Foundation.