Happyland 360 — Explore the sad reality of Manila slums with Virtual Reality
On January 17, VR Philippines will be organizing a special screening for the first ever 360 documentary shot here in the Philippines — Happyland 360. The documentary, shot by Vitaly Nechaev of Vostok VR together with V3RA, focuses on five people who is familiar with the Happyland slum. Happyland started as a toxic landfill called Hapilan, or “smelly garbage” in Visayan dialect, and was renamed by the locals in hope of better times.
Nechaev was inspired after watching a music video of a Russian girl singing a tagalog song, Anak. “When I watched the video, I saw more than just the slums, more than a dump site, I saw a lot of beautiful smiling faces. I was surprised, and something changed inside of me. I wanted to bring this experience from flat 2D to 360 VR”.
The documentary showcases how the applications of Virtual Reality are not just in entertainment, but also for rallying a cause. With Virtual Reality, audiences are immersed in the reality of what is happening on the less fortunate side of the world. Feeling like you’re actually there instead of watching on a 2d monitor raises the sense of empathy from viewers.
The full documentary is already available online, but for the best viewing experience, it should be watched using a Virtual Reality headset such as the Zeiss VR One, Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR. Since access to such devices are still limited, VR Philippines will be setting up a local premiere.
Anna Rabtsun, the singer featured in the documentary, will be presenting it at the second day of the Manila Vive Jam, a weekend-long event dedicated to Virtual Reality. It will be screened on several Virtual Reality headsets and will be available to be watched by attendees of the event. For those interested in experiencing the 360 documentary, free tickets will be open for registration by January 11 at this link.