Royal Institution to Host Beyond the Milky Way U.K. Premiere


The Royal Institution is set to host the U.K. and European premiere of White Spark Pictures’ VR film Beyond the Milky Way on July 24.

The film, narrated by professor Brian Cox (Universe), tells the story of the SKA Observatory and the global effort to build two of the world’s largest radio telescopes to see far out into the universe and potentially learn how the universe came to be.

The 30-minute film was made with specialized 360-degree cameras and shot in the quiet Western Australian outback, where the SKA-Low Telescope is being constructed. It takes audiences on a tour of Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, the CSIRO Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory and out into the universe, guided by the astronomers, scientists and engineers building the telescopes.

Beyond the Milky Way will run at the Royal Institution from July 24 through August 19.

The White Spark Pictures production received investment from Screen Australia in association with Screenwest and Lotterywest. It was also financed with support from the Department of Industry, Science and Resources; the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR); CSIRO—Australia’s national science agency; the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre; Scitech and Inspiring Australia; SKA Observatory; ASTRO 3D—the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions; and WA Museum.

Wild Thring Media represents the film internationally.

Katherine Mathieson, director of the Royal Institution, says: “As a place of world-shaping scientific exploration and discovery for over 200 years, we are delighted to be the first major venue outside of Australia to host Beyond the Milky Way. Our purpose is to connect scientists and the public, and we have a reputation for finding innovative and imaginative ways to do it. Not only is this film about a historic and groundbreaking scientific endeavor, it also uses the very latest VR technology to engage our audiences. We’re looking forward to a summer of immersive shared experiences of science at the Ri, that just aren’t possible anywhere outside of Australia at the moment.”

Briege Whitehead, founded of White Spark Pictures, added: “We are thrilled that Beyond the Milky Way’s first major international run is taking place at such a prestigious and well-loved venue as the Royal Institution. If our experience in Australia is anything to go by, it will prove an excellent draw for people looking for a unique experience and will be a big hit with young and old alike who will get the opportunity to visit both the stunning remote outback and outer space without leaving London. And for the RI, and indeed any other interested venues, it’s an exciting time to be at the forefront of new mass audience VR cinema experiences, especially as our proprietary ‘plug and play’ distribution method is totally scalable, can be delivered quickly, with minimal set-up and investment.”