Fun fact: this was also narrated by former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark.

Huh, neat.

Aid and development agency World Vision has partnered with Al Jazeera’s virtual reality studio Contrast VR to release today Dreaming In Za’atari: Stories after Syria, an immersive film exploring the hopes and dreams of three young people living in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp. After seven years of war, Syrian children living in refugee camps want to tell their stories and be heard.

Dreaming in Za’atari is narrated by actor Liam Cunningham, United Nations Ambassador Dr. Alaa Murabit and former head of the United Nations Development Programme and former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark.

On top of this, World Vision and Contrast VR are unveiling 7 Stories for 7 Years, seven short 360  written, shot and directed by child refugees to mark the seventh anniversary of the conflict in Syria. Using Samsung 360 cameras, Contrast VR producer Joi Lee trained the seven first-time filmmakers in immersive shooting.

Gotta say, that is pretty cool indeed. You can see all seven filmmakers below:

Eighteen-year-old wife and mother Marah, says: “When I first arrived to Za’atari, I didn’t care for anything. But after receiving photography and film training, it became my dream to become a professional filmmaker. I hope with this workshop in 360 video, I can film a great movie about life here in the camp. My message to every young woman in the world is, do not stop dreaming for any reason.”

Over the past seven years, more than 5.6 million people have fled Syria, seeking refuge in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and beyond. Millions more remain trapped inside Syria.

“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,” says Wynn Flaten, Director of World Vision’s Syria Response. “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.”

“When World Vision approached us, we saw an invaluable opportunity,” explains Contrast VR’s Joi Lee. “These young Syrians have grown up under constant news coverage of their plight, but rarely have they been given the opportunity to share their stories and shape news coverage. It was clear they had their own stories they wanted to share. By training a new group of young storytellers in VR filmmaking, we can see their perspectives come to life in an intimate and visceral medium.”

In any case, keen to see what it will look like. Further information can be found here.

Tom Ffiske
Twitter@TomFfiske
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