Thin Places: Iceland

Thin places are those rare locales where the distance between heaven and Earth collapses; where the veil between the spiritual and the physical is thin. Some natural; some imitated by human hands.

(This project is available in both 16:9 conventional format and VR/360 with identical structure and sound design. This project page is for the conventional version.)

  • Michael Jackson Chaney
  • Michael Jackson Chaney
  • Michael Jackson Chaney
  • Michael Jackson Chaney
    Director of Photography
  • Matthew Akers
  • Miguel Alvarez
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short, Virtual Reality
  • Genres:
    Environmental, Spiritual, Experimental, travel
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 45 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 25, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    7,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
  • Shooting Format:
    Canon EOS C300, Insta360 Pro
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9, VR-360
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Michael Jackson Chaney

Michael Chaney is a professor of Film and Television at SCAD. His films and time based media projects have been exhibited internationally. As an educator and specialist in short film form he has been working with emerging story telling platforms such as virtual reality (VR) cinema and interactive social media. He challenges his students with the task of developing their own unique voice with emerging cinematic practices and has mentored young filmmakers searching for focused creative direction.
He's also an Episcopal priest with a track record of working for social justice through spirituality and the arts, including issues of LGBT equality, anti-oppression, and anti-racism. His homilies can be found on Medium.

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Director Statement

This project was conceived to explore the similarities and differences in conventional and VR filmmaking. I’ve long been enamored of the transcendent effect of cinema. Is cinema a “thin space” itself, transporting us to another realm between the physical and the divinity of creative works? As immersive VR filmmaking develops does it present us with new possibilities for thin place experiences?
I’m curious about the immersive nature of both VR filmmaking and conventional cinema, hence the production of two films identical in structure and sound yet different in presentation. Conventional cinema offers an opportunity to share a collective experience while VR is solitary. Can they both be immersive and collective experiences?
I’ve been fascinated with Iceland for some time; the people, food, sensibilities. The Celtic influences on Iceland are evident in the mystical expressions of the culture that include aesthetics and theology. I hope to continue to explore the relationship of thin places and culture in other countries through film using similar techniques.