Reeducated is an Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary that takes viewers inside a detention camp in Xinjiang, China, exposing what is likely the largest internment of ethnic and religious minorities since the Second World War.
Over the past four years, Chinese authorities have turned Xinjiang, the largest region in the country, into one of the most advanced police states in the world. In the spring of 2017, officials in Xinjiang began imprisoning thousands of Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other predominantly Muslim minorities in secret extrajudicial detention camps.
Developed by Ben Mauk and Sam Wolson, this first-ever virtual-reality New Yorker documentary is guided by three men who were imprisoned together at the same facility. Their recollections reveal the secret world of these camps, where detainees spend ten hours a day in classrooms — studying Chinese or taking classes focussed on political indoctrination and the dangers of Islam — and often endure torture and stints in solitary confinement.
Drawn from firsthand testimony, satellite images, and survivor sketches, Reeducated uses pen and brush animation to reconstruct the men’s shared experiences in an immersive three-dimensional space.
The companion piece to “Inside Xinjiang’s Prison State,” an interactive feature investigation, Reeducated premiered at SXSW 2021, where the film won the Special Jury Recognition for Immersive Journalism.
Reeducated won the 2022 Emmy Award for Outstanding Interactive Media and the Peabody Award in the Immersive & Interactive category. They are the first-ever Emmy and Peabody awards won by The New Yorker.
The film has screened in more than 30 film festivals around the world, receiving the grand prize at VRHAM! Virtual Reality & Arts Festival in Hamburg and the Special Jury Prize at NewImages Festival in Paris. Reeducated was a Best of VR selection of the Venice Biennale and was selected for the 2022 Horizons VR exhibition at the PHI Centre in Montreal.
Қазақ тілінде көріңіз (тек Қазақстанда)
Reviews & Praise
Peabody Awards: "Under the highest journalistic standards, the Reeducated team immerses viewers into the extreme anxiety, fear, and suffering that over a million people—and counting—continue to endure. For co-creating powerful immersive evidence of life inside mass internment camps and bearing witness to the profound resolve of survivors in defense of their personal and collective humanity, Reeducated wins a Peabody."
Foreign Policy: "It's impossible to look away."
IndieWire: "a haunting, lyrical representation"
SXSW Virtual Cinema Judges: "Reeducated offers a glimpse into a horrifying world obscured from public view. ... It’s a striking piece of 360 cinema that makes a clear argument for the unique affordances of immersive formats for telling stories.”
Online News Awards Judges: "What a powerhouse of a piece. This is new and uses all types of immersive techniques to tell this compelling story. The combination of illustrations merges with 360 images, tiny planets, VR and parallax storytelling sets a new, high bar."
XRMagazine: "This is a work of true journalism -- the kind of journalism that can make a difference and change you at your core. ... It is also a beautiful piece of art."
Oregon Artswatch: "The project that will stick with me [from the Venice Biennale's VR programming] is Reeducated ... It’s one thing to read an article about prison camps in Xinjiang, but bearing virtual witness to their experience is more visceral, more affecting, and therefore more effective ..."
The New Yorker Radio Hour with Ben Mauk and Raffi Khatchadourian
The Postscript: Stories That Matter with Ben Mauk
Human Rights Film Festival (Berlin) Podcast
A Good Refugee Podcast with Ben Mauk and Mehmet Tohti
Quan Arribin Els Marcians [TV interview in Catalan]
Project Developed by
Research and Reporting
Lead Animator and Technical Supervisor
Additional Title Designer
M. J. Steele
English-Language Recording Engineer
English-Language Voice-Over Artists
Kazakh-Language Recording Engineer
Transcription and Translations
Map Locations of Detention Centers
Australian Strategic Policy Institute
Linnea Feldman Emison
The Xinjiang Victims Database