The United Nations has collaborated with filmmaker Chris Milk to make its first virtual reality film.
Clouds Over Sidra brings viewers closer to the Syrian conflict by transporting them into the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan – currently home to 84,000 refugees.
Created by UN adviser Gabo Arora and filmmaker Chris Milk, the film follows a day in the life of 12-year old Sidra, who has been living in the Za’atari refugee camp for 18 months. The immersive virtual reality experience takes viewers to Sidra’s school, a playground and her makeshift home, while she tells the story of everyday life in Za’atari from the perspective of a young girl.
Clouds Over Sidra marks the United Nation’s first foray into virtual reality filmmaking. The film was launched at the Davos World Economic Forum in January to support the UN’s campaign to highlight the plight of vulnerable communities.
“The idea is to help generate empathy toward the 3.5 million Syrian refugees living outside Syria,” producer Socrates Kakoulides told TechCrunch, adding that he hopes the film will prompt an increased global response to the ongoing conflict.
The film can be experienced on Oculus Rift or via the virtual reality mobile app Within, which operates in conjunction with a simple viewer, like this cardboard one by Google. You can also download the app and watch it on a phone, without the full immersive experience.
Words: Pamela Peter-Agbia
For more on VR try: Technology as a storytelling tool, Mixing reality, Art and the Rift – Entering virtual reality and A new artistic approach to virtual reality.