Letters from Drancy

Marion Deichmann / Illinois Holocaust Museum / East City Films / Darren Emerson

Letters from Drancy

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, Letters from Drancy is a poignant virtual reality experience that illuminates the power of an unbreakable bond between a mother and her daughter during the Holocaust.

Filmed on location in Paris and Normandy in France, Letters from Drancy allows audiences to accompany Marion Deichmann on her daring childhood journey across the borders of Northern Europe, her heartbreaking separation from her mother, her escape with help from the French Resistance in Paris, and her vivid memories of the D-Day bombings in Normandy. Marion’s story is full of loss and longing, but also of the persevering love that endures throughout her life. It is a profound story of courage from those who selflessly offer humanity in the face of hatred.

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.

For excellence in mixing showing and telling aspects of spatial storytelling, I was moved the most by this piece. Lots of interesting mixtures of styles and forms ground in 360 video, but adding in layers of projection mapping techniques, animation all to have a great balance between showing and telling this story that really sticks the landing in the end.


Darren Emerson
Ashley Cowan
Micaela Blitz
Movement Director
Sarah Perry
VR Production
All Seeing Eye
Motion Capture
Sound Design
16.18 Digital

For All Seeing Eye

Art Director & Environment Artist
Ollie Lindsey
Technical Director & Lead Technical Artist
Adam Child
Lead Developer
Robin North
Chris McKeeman

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

We are honoured to have Letters from Drancy premiering at the Venice International Film Festival. I’m so proud of the Museum, East City Films, and most importantly Marion Deichmann for sharing her story which brought the film to life.