A Virtual Journey at Happyland slum in the Philippines

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Because of our tight schedule, we often neglect the things we already have or how blessed we are not until we get to see the reality, the other side of the world we live in. Now that there's such a thing like Virtual-Reality Documentary, this will surely make our eyes wide open about what goes on and explore the world of the Happyland slum.

Vitaly Nechaev, who is a Documentary Creator and runs his own virtual company called VostokVR, started the Happyland360 which focuses on how these five people care about the Happyland slum. But before that, let's get to know more about "Happyland". Happyland started as a toxic landfill called Hapilan, or "smelly garbage" in the local dialect, and was renamed by the locals in hope of better times. It's located about 20 minutes away from the capital city of Manila in the Philippines and photography is usually prohibited.

Vitaly Nechaev got inspired by the video he saw of Syrian refugees and a Russian girl singing a tagalog (Filipino language) song Anak which is sung by Freddie Aguilar. 

According to Nechaev, "When I watched the video of Anak, 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," For him, he achieved two of his passion: VR technology and educating people
 about life in the slum.

With the help of another Singapore-based VR Company V3RA, and a manufacturer Carl Zeiss whom he convinced as a sponsor, he spend a little money in making the documentary. He filmed the Happyland360 using six GoPro Black action camera linked together. Nechaev contacted Anna Rabtsun who sung the original Anak video he saw before and arranged a concert for the residents of Happyland.

After Happyland, Vitaly Nechaev plans to create more original documentaries which focuses on the modern challenges and struggles faced by people in Asia.

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