Gorilla Trek Receives Lumiere Award

Posted Date

April 10, 2023


In The News

Immotion Group, a leading provider of location-based VR edutainment, and creator of the Milwaukee County Zoo’s Gorilla Trek Experience has won the 2023 Lumiere Award in the Best Use of VR category. Immotion’s President (LBE) Rod Findley, Writer/Producer/Director Ken Musen, and Editor/Writer Howard Vu accepted the award in February at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Advanced Imaging Society’s Lumiere Award honors distinguished creative and technical achievement in film and TV. This his year’s other winners included James Cameron, Baz Luhrmann, and Damien Chazelle.

For Immotion, this achievement highlights its successful collaboration with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. Led by the Fossey Fund’s CEO and Chief Science Officer, Dr. Tara Stoinski, Immotion’s VR team spent six months planning the two-week excursion into the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda. There, they visited daily with a family of mountain gorillas, documenting their intricate social and family dynamics.

Opening in July 2022, the Milwaukee County Zoo was the first zoo in the country to unveil this Experience – a 360-degree live-action virtual reality documentary film with motion platform seating, to present an unprecedented look at mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

“With Virtual Reality, viewers are magically transported to exotic locations that normally they would never visit on their own and interact with animals that they would normally never get to see,” said Musen upon accepting the award. “It’s why VR is the perfect tool to spotlight conservation issues around the world.”

Last summer Zoo guests who participated in the Gorilla Trek Experience shared their reactions with Zoo staff after exiting the VR Theater:

  • “It was SO COOL. I felt like I was there. I wanted to reach out and touch the mammals!”
  • “The virtual reality gorilla exhibit was AMAZING. It was really cool to get really close and personal with these animals that I probably will never interact with. So, it was awesome.”
  • “My favorite part was where that little gorilla walks up, reaches out, and it’s almost like it’s touching your face. And I thought that was really cool.”
  • “I’d give it a big thumbs-up!”


Immotion’s mission is to spread the gospel of conservation by placing multi-seat VR theaters into zoos and aquariums and is currently in over 30 locations worldwide. “Gorilla Trek is the crown jewel in our zoo offering and we are honored to be recognized by the AIS,” said Rod Findley, President (LBE), Immotion. “We look forward to sharing this amazing experience with new zoo partners around the world.”

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is dedicated to the conservation, protection and study of gorillas and their African habitats, and Dr. Stoinski and the Fossey Fund team work tirelessly to protect the gorillas of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Fossey Fund’s integrated approach to conservation includes close collaboration with local governments and communities as well as with partners from around the world.

Immotion also partnered with Habitat XR for production services and logistical help in Africa, as they provided state-of-the-art VR cameras to create the 3D, 360 VR experience.

Take part in the Gorilla Trek Virtual Reality Experience in the Otto Borchert Family Special Exhibits Building, behind Macaque Island. The price for the Experience is $6 after regular Zoo admission, with a $1 discount for Zoo Pass members. Tickets can be purchased on-site or in advance here.

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