If you could tell any story about the world, what would you say? If you could tell a story unique to your life, but universally understood, where would you start? If you could show the world your story, what would it look like?
These are the questions filmmakers ask themselves – almost daily. We navigate deeply personal stories. The personal stories might be theirs; it might be their best friend’s. The story might be society’s. Often these stories are burning to be shared, but a filmmaker has to know when and where that story should be received. This is the central point of the first filmmaking project this spring in CAPS Filmmaking: to find a story that is both personal and universal. Ultimately, each team must figure out how to tell the story in a way that immerses the audience completely.
CAPS Film is trying something new this semester. The filmmakers are engaged in the My World 360° program sponsored by Digital Promise and the United Nations. This program challenges young media makers to tell global stories through a local lens; then asks that the story be told in an immersive format. The CAPS filmmakers have selected to use 360 degree, VR technology.
The CAPS teams have selected a variety of topics based on the 17 Global Goals outlined by the UN. One team chose to discuss how the poverty gap is manifested in housing disparity. Using a 360 camera, they drove down 55th St in KC, MO to document the “Troost Divide.” This team didn’t stop at documenting the visual disparity. They spoke to Dr. Brent Never, a professor of public affairs at UMKC. With Dr. Never’s help, the team has exposed the eye-opening reality of housing disparity in their own back yard. Other teams are telling stories about education reform, teen driving safety, and human trafficking. Each of these stories are made more compelling by telling them through an immersive technology.
The My World 360 challenge is providing the CAPS Filmmakers many character and skill building opportunities. Of course, they are learning filmmaking skills that make them more marketable to high education institutions and future employers. These skills are good to have. However, the ultimate skill learned during this project: the ability to use filmmaking and media creation as a voice of action. By writing a story based on a targeted Global Goal, young filmmakers are looking outside their immediate, daily lives for compelling and meaningful stories. They are gaining research skills while building empathy for life experiences different than their own. They are learning to make media with a purpose, media that matters.
The My World 360 projects are entered into an international media competition. Chosen entries will be screened at the Global Festival of Action in Bonn, Germany in April 2020. Additional international screening potential exists.