A WALK THROUGH HISTORY
Child of Empire is an animated VR documentary which puts you inside the shoes of a 7 year old child during the largest forced migration in human history, the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan.
An interactive experience built for Oculus Quest, the film navigates sectarianism, colonialism and identity at a time of deep political crisis.
Throughout the experience, you are guided by a 7 year old child (The Child of Empire), whose story is a kaleidoscope of three real life witness recounts. The viewer, as an imaginary friend to the Child, witnesses key moments in the migration journey. You could be hiding from a violent mob in the backroom of a shop with Ishar Das Arora, a Punjabi farmer boy from Attock; accidentally glimpsing a truck piled with dead bodies when arriving in Pakistan with Zarina Akram, a Mohajir girl who fled her home in Delhi on the day of Eid, and rejoicing at the eventual independence of the subcontinent with Tarapada De in a refugee camp in Bengal.
Interspersed throughout the journey are historical flashbacks, built with archive content, which educate the viewer about this critical moment in history.
A TIMELESS JOURNEY IN NEW MEDIA
Interactivity is intended to ground the viewer into the story and to develop the bond between you and the Child. For instance, one of our witnesses, Ishar Das, fondly recalled playing a game called gilli danda as a child. At the beginning of the experience, we are invited to join him in a match, where he teases you to hit the gilli as far as you can. There are more subtle instances of interactivity populated interpreted throughout the scenes, such as throwing colour in a Holi festival.
A UNIQUE EDUCATIONAL TOOL
South Asia and its diaspora are a huge untapped market for Virtual Reality. And much like WW2 in the West, the Partition is a foundational story close to the hearts of billions of people worldwide.
While the themes in Child of Empireare universally relevant, we believe our film will particularly benefit:
– South Asian and diaspora youth between 15-30, especially students
– Museum-goers around the world
– Arts and Culture enthusiasts
– Young people from Commonwealth countries/former British colonies