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Date: December 9, 2016
Client: World Vision
Posted by: Jason Mascheri
Koncept VR was approached by World Vision to create an emotional immersive 360 story about their work in Honduras. Fatal gang related violence, lack of opportunities to provide the sole necessities for their loved ones and poor conditions in the cities drive men, women, and children to take a long and treacherous journey on a network of freight trains crossing Mexico towards the US border. Nicknamed “La Bestia” (the beast), as many as half a million Central Americans annually hop aboard the life threatening freight trains to reach safer areas and to earn money for their families. World Vision aims to prevent this journey by providing programs such as child sponsorships and educating farmers and communities.
Koncept VR’s VR documentary of La Bestia is guided by the voice of 9-year-old Edwin from Honduras, a sponsored boy benefiting from World Vision’s aid. Opening with rare 360 footage capturing scenes of the dangerous train hopping proved to be an interesting challenge for the team. Safety was of utmost importance to World Vision while shooting the piece, but that did not prevent director, Joergen Geerds from getting on one of the freight trains and capturing the ride.
For a while the team lost track of Joergen as the train continued non-stop through Mexico, but finally they reconnected through GPS pins once he safely exited the train. A very different image greeted the crew in Honduras with Edwin’s peaceful village and the lush farm of his grandfather. Here, cameras and gear ‘only’ had to survive high humidity and bumpy roads.
This documentary style 360 film was created to support fundraising efforts by World Vision to keep supporting aid programs such as child sponsorship in Central America. These programs strive to prevent men, women and children from taking a journey aboard “La Bestia” – risking the possibility of getting kidnapped by bandits along the way for labor camps – by creating safe conditions and opportunities in their home country. The VR documentary shows the impact of successful, ongoing support. With this optimistic outlook presented to potential donors via headsets World Vision was already able to observe a remarkable increase in engagement.