Yelena Rachitsky’s Search for Storytelling Treasure


Yelena Rachitsky’s Search for Storytelling Treasure
0:00 -10:00
Apr 21, 2019 - min read min read

The path to experimental storytelling was pretty much uncharted terrain, but that didn’t faze Yelena Rachitsky. Her quest to learn about interesting new forms of narrative eventually got her to Oculus, where she is now Executive Producer for Experiences. VRTL met with Yelena at her office in Los Angeles to hear the backstory behind integrating more participation and engagement with storytelling. Most recently, Yelena was part of the team behind Traveling While Black a powerful immersive project that looks at race in America through elements like proximity and multi-dimensional artistry.


Yelena is an Executive Producer of Experiences at Oculus, sourcing and producing content around entertainment, news, documentaries, and experiential work on the Oculus platform. Rachitsky is a consultant for the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier program.


Traveling While Black is a cinematic VR experience that immerses the viewer in the long history of restriction of movement for black Americans and the creation of safe spaces in our communities.

Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams and Emmy Award-winning Felix & Paul Studios’ film transports you to historic Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington DC. The viewer shares an intimate series of moments with several of the patrons of Ben’s as they reflect on their experiences of restricted movement and race relations in the U.S.

Confronting the way we understand and talk about race in America, Traveling While Black highlights the urgent need to not only remember the past but to learn from it, and facilitate a dialogue about the challenges minority travelers still face today.