For the first time in some considerable time welcome to Life in 360° Extra. An extremely occasional companion piece to our thrice weekly look at 360 degree video, Life In 360°. And it is indeed a rarity. I honestly couldn’t tell you by memory the last time we had one. Today we’re going back to something that we featured as part of Friday’s Li360 – 7 Stories for 7 Years.
The 360 degree short film is a collection of stories collated by the aid and development organisation World Vision in partnership with broadcaster Al Jazeera’s own immersive content studio Contrast VR – but with the twist that the content itself was written and filmed by seven inhabitants of the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. Refugees from the war still continuing in Syria, they have grown up in the camp and have as a result seen many things change in their outlook. Some look back at those changes, others look forward whilst others still profile those who are trying to bring a sense of normality to the situation and forge for themselves a new future within the camp.
“For millions of children, life as a refugee is all they know. Syria is a place their parents talk about and they hear of in the news,” explained the Director of World Vision’s Syria Response, Wynn Flaten. “Children aren’t mere victims, though, they bring a perspective and insight to crises that can shock and inspire decision-makers and adults around the world. That’s why this project matters to us, and them.”
The seven teenagers were trained in the use of 360 degree cameras (Samsung 360s in this case) by Contrast VR’s Joi Lee as part an ongoing initiative to train young, diverse filmmakers to produce VR stories within their communities. On Friday we brought you but one vignette, that of the then 17 year-old Marah a young wife and mother who has big dreams beyond that to take what she has learned in the filming process and continue it as a career at some point in the future.
All the films can be viewed across World Vision’s social media channels, and on Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Arabic, AJ+, Contrast VR and Samsung’s social media channels with the full-length film also now released – and you can see it, narrated by Game of Thrones’ Liam Cunningham below. The images you can see in this piece are also behind the scenes snaps provided by Al Jazeera.
VRFocus will be back on Monday with more Life In 360° and we’ll no doubt bring you more from the ongoing My People, Our Stories initiative down the line.