Creating Kanju: The 10-part Series (Introduction)

The Making of the VR documentary “Kanju”

Inspired by Dayo Olopade’s book “The Bright Continent,” The Nantucket Project (TNP) and Harbers Studios aimed to bring the story of African entreprenurialism, ingenuity, and passion to the world in a meaningful way. They wanted to connect people with a new, hopeful story of Africa rising. Rather than just sending a film crew to capture, they also wanted to film in 360. That’s where I came in.

“Kanju”, a Yoruba word meaning “creativity born of struggle”, embraces the concepts of doing more with less or hustling. The making of this piece was itself a form of kanju – from solving technical issues on the fly to navigating cultural barriers to being invited to film President Barack Obama in 360. The resulting VR film is an uplifting experience that also moves the conversation of storytelling in VR forward in a unique and powerful way.

“Kanju”, the VR documentary, will premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival’s virtual arcade. For each of the 10 days leading up to the premiere on April 18th, I’ll post a piece of the journey.

This 10-part series is part tech review, part cultural exploration, part how-to make the impossible possible… exploring the struggles and triumphs of trying, and sometimes wildly succeeding, in filming in 360 across Africa. I hope it will inspire VR content creators and cultural explorers alike. And I look forward to hearing your thoughts and questions along the way…

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