Journey Through An Accra Dreamscape In This Virtual Reality Short Film From Ghana

A new virtual reality short film from Ghana follows a young woman as she journeys through a dreamscape of Accra.

PANDORA – A 360 Degree VR Short Film (Photo via Afrocyberpunk)

NubianVR, a new virtual reality production company rooted in Accra's underground art scene, is on a mission to transform the way we create and share multimedia experiences.

First presented at the 2015 Chale Wote Street Art Festival, the company's 360-degree short film Pandora was recently spotlighted on Shadow and Act. As described by co-directors and producers Jonathan Dotse and Kabiru Seidu—NubianVR's co-foundersthe film follows Pandora as she journeys through the dreamscape of virtual Accra, where the ancient Greek myth is re-imagined in an African context and retold through the looking-glass of virtual reality.

Actress Doris Mamley Djangmah stars in the title role as the lone character.

"Working with virtual reality has been one of my lifelong dreams which is finally metamorphosing into reality," Dotse wrote on his Afrocyberpunk blog. "I’ve been designing VR headsets since I was a kid, but I only started building real (as in working) models in November last year when I first discovered the joys of Google Cardboard."

The filmmakers recorded the interactive film in one weekend using a dual Kodak SP360 camera rig and stitched the final together together during the editing stage.

Viewers of Pandora are in for an immersive treat. Although the film only lasts four minutes, this fleeting experience is a revealing introduction to what many industry experts are predicting will soon be the dominant art form.

To experience the 360-degree effect on a desktop, use either the navigation icon in the upper left hand corner or click-and-drag your mouse on the video. 

(h/t Shadow and Act)

**Editor's Note: The owner of the Afrocyberpunk blog was incorrectly listed as Kabiru Seidu. Jonathan Dotse is the owner.


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This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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