Escape to Shanghai

Doris Fogel / Illinois Holocaust Museum / East City Films / Charlotte Mikkelborg

Escape to Shanghai

As the firsthand accounts of Holocaust survivors become increasingly scarce, the urgency to preserve these narratives has never been greater.

Comissioned by Illinois Holocaust Museum and award-winning production company East City Films, Escape to Shanghai is a virtual reality experience that follows Doris Fogel’s epic journey from Nazi Germany to Shanghai, China, as her family made a temporary home and a new life cut off from the horrors playing out in German-occupied Europe.

Through 360 video technology alongside 3D environments, stylized animation, motion capture, and a spatial soundtrack, audiences are immersed in Doris Fogel’s story.

After witnessing Doris’ firsthand experience of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, audiences travel with Doris from Berlin, Germany to the Hongkew area of Shanghai, China, where she lived in a single room with five family members amongst 20,000 Jewish refugees.

Filmed on location in Shanghai, Chicago, and Berlin, Escape to Shanghai allows audiences to journey with Doris from 1930s Berlin to Shanghai in the Jewish ghetto, and their ultimate escape from the ghetto for a new sense of freedom in the United States.

East City Films came to us to develop a trilogy of VR documentaries for the Illinois Holocaust Museum, sharing the stories of Survivors Marion Deichmann, Rodi Glass and Doris Fogel, working with Darren Emerson, Mary Matheson and Charlotte Mikkelborg respectively on each film.

Built to be installed in the Illinois Holocaust Museum’s VR Cinema for the HTC Vive Pro, running on Nvidia RTX 4080’s and using Unity’s High-Definition Render Pipeline, the 3 films combine detailed and realistic 6-DOF 3D environments which blend seamlessly with 360° 5.5k stereoscopic film and third order ambisonic audio.


Charlotte Mikkelborg
Ashley Cowan
Micaela Blitz
Movement Director
Sarah Perry
VR Production
All Seeing Eye
Motion Capture

For All Seeing Eye

Art Director
Ollie Lindsey
Technical Director/Lead Technical Artist
Adam Child
Lead Developer
Robin North
Environment Artists
Jon Polti
Olly Skillman-Wilson
Meteor Pixel
Chris McKeeman
Character Designers
Storyboard London

For East City Films

Darren Emerson
Executive Producers
Illinois Holocaust Museum
360 Video Dop
Jon Boyce
Lighting Cameraman
Tom Allum
Camera Technician
Andrew Yardley
Drone Operator
Andrew Yardley
360 Rover Operator
Tom Allum
360 Video Post-Production
Conan Roberts
Conan Roberts
Lead Animator
Marco Sandeman
BTS Camera Op
Jem Talbot


Sam Gallacher
Rosie Bell
Wanda Cowan
Matthew Churcher
Betty Emerson
Helen Jenkinson
Tom Scurr