Virtual reality in the hospital

‘Film in Hospital’, instigated by JEF (Belgium) was launched internationally two years ago together with BUFF (Sweden) and Sedmi Kontinent (Croatia) as an online platform for film screenings and audience engagement, dedicated to children in hospitals, revalidation centres or recovering at home. 


(based on the Open Mic session at the ECFA AGM 2020)

Iris Verhoeven (Coordinator JEF): “It is easy to screen some films for children on an online platform, but how to intensify their engagement and offer them a sense of the Medialab installations we provide for our regular festival visitors? The solution is in VR, that allows you to virtually go ‘just anywhere’.” A call from the Flemish government for Innovative Partner Projects made it possible to develop a VR app. Partnering up with the Sandbox innovation hub and with a team of young animators (Hunsk) and VR developers (Soulmade) led to the creation of the ‘Wonderwater’ VR app that turns a hospital room into a fantastic underwater world.

Throughout the development process, the input of children guaranteed a true added value. Verhoeven: “Co-creation with the target audience really brought an extra dimension to the project. The animators spoke with the hospitalised kids, who shared their ideas about the kind of world they wanted us to build. They were asked to draw characters they would like to meet in this imaginary ‘world under the sea’ and came up with simple actions these creatures could perform.


Partnering hospitals were provided with cardboard VR glasses so children could easily use their own smartphones. Verhoeven: “They got actively involved through building their own virtual space and pimp their hospital rooms through augmented reality digital figures with the well-known CoSpaces app.

The Film in Hospital project meanwhile has caught international attention, with several European partners showing an interest. The app VR Wonderwater is free to download on iOs and android.


If you’re interested to join the project, please contact Iris Verhoeven,