A virtual reality film ‘My Africa’, narrated by Oscar-winning film star Lupita Nyong’o and supported by The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, is among the winners of the annual Jackson Hole Science Media Awards.
The nine-minute film won top honors in the Virtual Reality/360° Storytelling category for “effectively using 360 technology and resources to advance an appreciation or understanding of a scientific discipline, discovery or principle.”
The film which was commissioned by Global environmental organization Conservation International which supports community-led wildlife conservation in Northern Kenya —is available in 7 languages including English, French, Mandarin, Portuguese, Samburu, Spanish and Swahili.
Directed by David Allen, the project was captured with virtual reality cameras in the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy in Samburu County of northern Kenya at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, the first elephant orphanage in Africa owned and operated by the local community. In a region where conservation has traditionally been pursued by outsiders, Reteti — and the surrounding conservancy organization, Northern Rangelands Trust — offer a model grounded in local leadership and traditional knowledge, explains Creative Planet Network.
At the center of the film is Naltwasha Leripe, a young woman from the Samburu community who lets us into the community's daily life of tending livestock, digging "singing" wells deep into dry riverbanks and rescuing an orphaned baby elephant.
Lupita Nyong’o narrates the film from the perspective of Naltwasha, emphasizing the inter-relationships of the people living in Samburu County with the land, water and wildlife. .
The conservation efforts in the community-owned Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy have become a first line of defense against the bloody poaching syndicates that previously decimated Kenya’s wildlife populations. Today the community has become staunch allies of the wildlife seeing them as invaluable assets and profiting from the proceeds that come from ecotourism.
"My Africa" was produced for Conservation International by Passion Planet in association with Vision3 while distribution support was provided by glassy baby. Here is the short documentary in its entirety.
In September AOC touched base with Doutzen Kroes and her project #Knot On My Planet, supported by The Tiffany Foundation
Our June article on luxury camping in northern Kenya addressed the community-based animal conservation programs addressed in the ‘My Africa’ video. Land ownership and lease relationships with luxury hotel companies for safari camps are also a key innovation in how local communities can prosper from luxury travel without abandoning their traditional roots and evolving lifestyles by selling off tribal lands.