A NEW World Bank-backed 360-degree Virtual Reality (VR) film, filmed in the remote south of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville is being exhibited in Papua New Guinea by the World

“The Price of Conflict, the Prospect of Peace” takes viewers to Konnou, in the far south of Bougainville Island to meet Elsie Konovai, a mother of three whose life was ripped apart by inter-community fighting, and Timothy Koluvai, a former militant who is now using cocoa farming as a way of sustaining peace between two villages previously in conflict.

The film, launched recently as part of global events to mark International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, was made in 360-degree Virtual Reality format, meaning viewers can see above, below and all around them, and feel as if they are there, with the people of Konnou in their community. The ‘VR’ format is fast becoming one of the most exciting new formats for storytelling, with Hollywood filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Alejandro González Iñárritu now producing films in the format, and global development organizations now using it to raise awareness of key issues.

The film was screened through customized headsets in Papua New Guinea as part of the 2016 PNG Human Rights Film Festival, with the film to be presented to audiences in Port Moresby in mid-October at the Port Moresby Arts Theatre and then the film will returned to Bougainville as part of the Film Festival’s roadshow in late October.

The film is one of three VR films produced by the World Bank in East Asia-Pacific in an effort to bring international attention to the issue of how communities recover from conflict, and the importance of ensuring that peace, when finally achieved, is sustained through positive community cooperation.

Stefanie Stallmeister, the World Bank’s Country Manager for Papua New Guinea said “The Price of Conflict, the Prospect of Peace” will take Papua New Guineans to the far south of remote Bougainville Island, to see how one community has moved beyond anger and distrust to work together for a common goal: growing cocoa.

“VR is a deeply-personal, immersive new format of storytelling, and we’re proud that the first VR film to be filmed in PNG is now able to be shown in its true, 360-degree format here in PNG,” said Ms Stallmeister.

“While The Price of Conflict, The Prospect of Peace’ demonstrates, in a way that only VR can, the deep shadow that conflict casts, it is also a story of forgiveness, hope and positivity that will resonate with many people. We hope that the film also inspires strong, continued commitment from the global community to projects that prevent communities returning to conflict.”

The Price of Conflict, The Prospect of Peace 360 VR films are now also available to view online at www.worldbank.org/priceofconflict following their presentation at various high-level World Bank meetings in Washington DC and throughout Asia-Pacific this year. The series has been produced by the World Bank in partnership with VR filmmakers S1T2 and photojournalist Alana Holmberg.