• Shehani Fernando
  • United Kingdom
  • 2017
  • 7 min
  • Immersive, Digital
  • European Premiere
  • IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling, DocLab: Uncharted Rituals, DocLab Program

The growing influx of refugees into Europe faces a huge amount of criticism. In spite of the heartrending stories of many asylum seekers, there doesn’t seem to be a broad social understanding of their plight. What if we didn’t just hear their stories, but could actually experience them? This is the aim of the VR film Limbo: no talking heads or footage of wandering Africans, but a dive into the head of an asylum seeker. Your gaze roams a black-and-white ghost town to a house where other asylum seekers wait, seemingly forever, for their interview with the immigration officer. This interview is like a nightmare. Sound effects move the voice of the interviewer around you. His blurred form also moves around: first in front of you, then beside or behind. He's so close you have to look up to see him. It's intimidating and frustrating, and it allows you to get a sense of this suffocating powerlessness. 

This project can be viewed via Google Cardboard or Daydream, through the Guardian VR app.



  • 7 min
  • black and white
  • Spoken languages: English
Shehani Fernando
Francesca Panetta, Nicole Jackson
Anetta Jones for The Guardian, Francesca Panetta for The Guardian
Key collaborator
ScanLAB Projects
Executive producer
Nicole Jackson for The Guardian, Francesca Panetta for The Guardian

IDFA history

European Premiere
IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling
DocLab: Uncharted Rituals
DocLab Program

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IDFA history

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