Cheesy or Epic? New Virtual Reality Film to Feature Native Americans

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown June 21st, 2015 Last Updated on: June 21st, 2015


When you hear the words Virtual Reality (VR), you most likely think of someone wearing a futuristic headset and playing video games. But there is a whole new group of filmmakers that are using Virtual Reality technology to create a unique cinematic experience for audiences. In fact, the New Frontier exhibition at the Sundance Film Festival was taken over this year by VR experiences.

Cinemersia is just one of a handful of entertainment companies out that that are producing innovative VR films. They recently finished the world's first live-action VR film and have their eyes locked on their next project, Arapaho.

“I wanted to do something epic this time, on a grand scale visually and experientially,” said Arapaho‘s writer and director, David Marlett. “Imagine Dances with Wolves, only you are out there, with them, not sitting in a theater.”

“For Arapaho, we're partnering with tech/camera innovators to create a large, spherical, cinema camera rig to be suspended below a helicopter,” said the CTO of Cinemersia, Cameron Ayres. “David's story design will take you right into the heart of the tribe, alongside them as they hunt buffalo,” added Joy Slate, Director of Operations. “No matter where you look, it will appear you're alone with them on the prairie. It's going to be breath taking.”

So I am intrigued for sure. Here's a brief synopsis of what you can expect from this movie:

In 1852, on the Great Northern Plains of America, Black Eagle rouses his Arapaho hunters, plays with his children, and eats smoked venison strips as his sister paints his face for the hunt. When finished, he pauses to lift prayers to the Spirits. It will be three days before he and the buffalo party return, hopefully with the success he now prays for. But all know his other prayer, what weights his heart and fills his thoughts. His wife, Sun Bird, was kidnapped by a Pawnee raiding party over two moons prior and remains lost. Every ride out, every hunt, is a chance for Black Eagle to search new ground, to seek any sign of her. Today he feels she is near.



Now we all know Hollywood and Native Americans have not always been the best of friends. How will real Natives be involved in the project? In today's press release Cinemersia says they plan on working closely with the Native American community. I really hope the right cultural advisors are hired for the job. I'd rather see this film go in the direction of epic and not cheesy or offensive!


For more information about Cinemersia and to keep updated on production of Arapaho, please visit http://www.cinemersia.com/.

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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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David Marlett

Thanks for this. I am very sensitive to getting ARAPAHO right. Will be epic, beautiful, and historically correct. That is where I begin with this project, not an after thought. We are currently reaching out to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, as it is important that we have involvement of the Native American community early on. Open to ideas, suggestions, recommendations, introductions. David Marlett [email protected]

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