Feb 07, 2017

Filmmaker Anand Gandhi launches VR-based filmmaking channel

BYPankaj Mishra

Memesys Culture Labs, founded by filmmaker Anand Gandhi, the director of the critically acclaimed film Ship of Theseus, has launched ElseVR channel, which uses virtual reality (VR) to let the audience have an entry ‘into’ the story. ElseVR is described as a VR journalism and documentary platform.
With three VR documentaries launching in the first issue, ElseVR channel is the latest venture by Memesys Culture Labs. “The ability and the desire to transmit know how, intention, and insight to others around us have co-evolved with humanity itself,” Gandhi said.
“Mixed reality is a huge milestone in that human project of record keeping, perspective sharing, empathising, and merging with the ‘other’, a project that began with the first cave painting, or even earlier.” Khushboo Ranka, co-director of the acclaimed political drama, An Insignificant Man, is the Editor-in-Chief and Shubhangi Swarup, a journalist, is the Executive Editor of ElseVR channel. Published online, each story is an in-depth collaboration between filmmakers, writers and designers to amplify the power of narrative. The first issue features stories by acclaimed filmmakers and writers – Anand  Patwardhan, Khushboo Ranka, Faiza Khan, Aruna Chandrasekhar, Swarup, Naomi Shah and Nishtha Jain.
“VR expands the canvas to placing another world around you. But as practitioners and first movers, we are literally inventing the language with every shot, every cut, every choice we make in constructing these films,” said Ranka. Talking about the stories, Swarup said: “The stories in our inaugural issue make it possible for the viewer to stand at the edge of a coal mine and experience the umbilical attachment an Adivasi feels towards her land.” “Another story allows us to join a group of female activists as they try, persistently, to exercise their legal right to enter a temple. Yet another one lets us witness the spontaneous uprising that occurred in Gujarat, to protest against the violence of ‘gau rakshaks’. The complexity of each story is reflected in our use of various mediums, but the courage of each subject comes through effortlessly,” she added.

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Pankaj Mishra is a writer of FactorDaily.