I was delighted to chair a session at Sheffield Doc Fest’s Alternative Realities Summit with three talented female filmmakers who are using 360 Video to make work the articulates the experience of people from different backgrounds. In Converging Sensibilities: Considering Creative Practice, I spoke to Sadah Espii Proctor, Maria Belen Poncio, Nyasha Kadandara.
- Proctor is the director of Girl Icon. This 360 video shows you Rani’s journey to gain an education for herself and the other girls in her community. Inspired by Malala Yousafzai’s programme to change the lives of the 130 million girls who miss out on school. I like the way Proctor immersed the audience in all aspects of these girl’s lives through split screen techniques.
- Poncio is the creator of 4 Feet: Blind Date. It is the story of Juana, an 18-year-old woman in a wheelchair who wants to explore her sexuality. She overcomes her fears, doubts, and an inaccessible city to meet ‘Felipe’ for a blind date. Together they discover how their bodies feel. This 360 degree video was so powerful because you see the world from height and perspective of a woman in wheelchair with no use of her lower limbs. Very tight and close up camera angles provide an intimacy I’ve never seen before.
- Kadandara is director of Le Lac. This film tells the story of climate change from a new perspective. Depended on by millions, Lake Chad has shrunk to a tenth of her former self. A journey through change and rupture, as told by the poetic voice of the lake herself.
All three artists are using 360 video to give new perspective to people and issues we do not hear much about. It is clear that we are in still in the experimentation stage of 360 video – each of the creators spoke about drawing on traditional documentary film and theatre languages to make their work, but acknowledged that a new visual language is developing that is specific to immersive films.