This DocTalk session is a part of the Feelings of Reality, a program that has been held by Forum Film Dokumenter since 2018. In 2019, a total of eight documentaries incorporating virtual reality (VR) technology were produced by fellow filmmakers and the disabled community in four areas with the theme: “Expanding the Empathy”. This year, the program distribution got halted due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, the fact that an online-based platform is being built, instead created the opportunity of cross-medium meeting, from VR documentaries to interactive websites. This DocTalk session aims to arouse discourses about how technology, humans, and documentary films are connected to and impacted by one another.
This discussion focuses on the new corpus in documentaries, which is VR documentary. The development of VR documentaries is implied on the new form of aesthetics and technology politics in the context and effect on conventional documentary tradition. VR is also a powerful medium for impact campaigns, as it enables filmmakers to deliberately augment the reality of the struggles confronted by the film’s subject, through the 360 degree cinematic. It is as if the very reality appears to the audience without any limitations. Moreover, the pandemic that restricts human gathering opens a new distribution opportunity that is inclusive and participatory, through an interactive website. In addition to inviting professionals and academicians across mediums, this session will also present the perspectives of activists and researchers on disability to explore the question about how a medium can create an experience that increases awareness about disability issues. Furthermore, the audience— who will have been asked to access the interactive website—will be actively participating in this discussion to see how impactful this work is to the wider public.
Slamet Thohari is a lecturer in the Department of Sociology and was a secretary of Centre for Disability Studies and Services, Universitas Brawijaya for 7 years. He is also the Indonesian chair of AIDRAN (Australia Indonesia Disability and Advocacy Network. He finished his study at the Department of Philosophy at Universitas Gadjah Mada and Department of Sociology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Slamet’s research interests are: Disability Studies, Intersectionality, Sociology of Health, Gender, and Islam in Indonesia.
Zulhichar has been a freelance videographer and documentarian since 2011. He has been involved in creative and social projects in collaboration with institutions in Indonesia, such as Yayasan Kelola, Rifka Annisa, and Indonesian Creative Economy Agency. He is now pursuing a master’s degree in Ohio University, the United States, focusing on media as an engine of change.
M. Ismail is a deaf person who has been campaigning disability issues for a long time since he was involved in disabled communities. He frequently worked with the media to produce films with disability themes. His films Curhat Sang Tuna Rungu and Pencari Keadilan have been shown in free screenings in various occasions. At the moment, he is collaborating with several filmmakers to develop a new documentary film.
Feelings of Reality Program Coordinator, Forum Film Documenter.