“One of the most attractive aspects of this medium is the ability to immerse people in reality, in this case the plight of these persecuted minorities, so that we might be able connect with the issue at a deeper level”
– Zahra Rasool, Director
With this documentary, they focus on the plight and struggles of the Kutupalong refugee camp, which houses hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled from the violence perpetuated by Myanmar’s majority Buddhist population and government. In a report published last year by Amnesty International, they noted that security forces in Myanmar “were responsible for unlawful killings, random firing on civilians, rape and arbitrary arrests” targeting Rohingya citizenry. According to Human Rights Watch, the Burmese government has denied citizenship to any Rohingya persons who cannot prove their ancestors settled in the country before 1823.
I Am Rohingya takes a first-hand look at the refugee camp located in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh through the eyes of one of its refugees, a young Rohingya Muslim woman named Jamalida Begum. By filming it in 360 degrees, and thus making it uniquely viewable via VR, the film’s director Zahra Rasool hopes to make the viewing experience all the more direct and impactful. It joins other documentaries that have used VR as a means of immersing its audience into various different global conflicts and issues throughout the world, like Hong Kong Unrest and Clouds Over Sidra.
The project was shot using Nokia’s industry-leading professional VR camera solution, the OZO+, and was a collaboration between Contrast VR and Al Jazeera’s digital news network AJ+. The full documentary is debuting in film festivals and will be released on Facebook 360, YouTube 360, Samsung VR, Viveport, and the Oculus store later this year.
Photo Credit: Contrast VR