A virtual reality film aims to help raise funds for survivors of April's earthquake in Nepal by giving viewers a first-hand experience of the disaster's aftermath.
Los Angeles-based company RYOT – which produces news stories for audiences to act on – shot the footage in the days following the 7.8 magnitude quake which struck the impoverished nation on 25 April, killing more than 8,000 people.
"Virtual reality is this incredible technology with a lot of potential to bring people there and immerse them in a total different experience. And when you're standing on the streets of Katmandu and you see the scale of devastation, I think it really gives people compassion and empathy to be involved, to understand the magnitude of it, and hopefully make some donations that can really help people," said RYOT co-founder Bryn Mooser.
The four minute film, which is narrated by actress Susan Sarandon, attempts to transport people to the Himalayan nation to be fully immersed amongst the destruction and understand the plight of survivors. When seen in this medium, viewers will feel like they are standing in the rubble and living through the experiences of the survivors who have lost their families, homes and livelihoods.
"We just launched the film last week and have already raised several thousand dollars," said co-founder David Darg. "The funds are being used to support some incredible organizations working on the ground, some international non-profits that have gone over to help, but also some local organisations that helped rebuild. Right now they're still in a critical phase. Funds are being used for basics: water, shelter, food. But the funds that we're raising with the film are going to recovery projects, too, reconstruction of homes and that type of thing."
Aid agencies say the international community's response to the disaster has slowed in recent weeks, even though at least two million people are in need of food, water, shelter and proper sanitation facilities.