Canadian Film Firm Launches App on Maasai Nomadic Life

A Canadian Film Company has released a virtual reality app chronicling the nomadic way of life among the Maasai people living in Southern Kenya. The Emmy Award-winning creator of live-action virtual reality experiences, Felix and Paul Studios sent its film crew to Maasailand where they chronicled every aspect of the Maasai's dying nomadic life.

The film presented in several cinematic VR experiences entitled "Nomads: Herders," "Nomads: Maasai," also includes a lengthy series on the Bajau people of South Asia, titled "Nomads: Sea Gypsies", whose lives revolve around fishing and spearfish hunting in the seas and oceans of South East Asia.

The "Nomads" experiences were created and directed by the studio's co-founders and creative directors Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël, and employed their studio's proprietary 360 camera to film a new kind of VR experience that transcends documentary making.

Without a narrator expressly providing direction, the viewer is left to examine their own feelings and beliefs about the Maasai culture.

The "Nomads" features three of Felix & Paul Studios' virtual reality pieces available for download on an App uploaded in the Oculus Store for the Samsung Gear VR headset, optimising the viewers experience by displaying pristine pictures available within the VR content.

The launch, at its Montreal-based offices, was covered by news website, using the film dubbed "Nomads" to portray the Maasai as a patriarchal society where young men become initiated as warriors, male elders make most decisions for the community and women milk the cows, cook, make beaded adornments and build the mud-walled and roofed manyattas, they said.


Cleverly, the film also tackles the Maasai community's struggle over the rights to their ancestral lands where many are now turning to alternative and supplemental means of income, including farming and tourism.

Maasailand is home to the world famous eighth wonder of the world, the annual wildebeest migration spectacle, across the Mara river attracting hundreds of tourists, filmmakers and conservationists from all over the world.

"The 'Nomads' series has been one of the most creatively challenging and rewarding projects for us.

"We are always looking to push the boundaries of virtual reality as a medium to create intensely personal experiences.

"VR allows us to learn about these nomadic cultures in a brand new way," said Mr Lajeunesse.

Mr Raphaël said that the "Nomads" App which was developed in-house at Felix & Paul Studios gave them the opportunity to set the stage for viewers who might be lured to visit Kenya to sample the lives of the Maasai people.

Felix & Paul Studios is a dedicated storyteller through cinematic virtual reality, based in Montreal, Canada.

Among their works include the "Nomads" and "Strangers", collaborating franchises for the "Jurassic World", Cirque du Soleil and "Wild" as well as documentaries for world-renowned personalities such as former US President Bill Clinton and professional American basketball player, LeBron James, of Cleveland Cavaliers.

By James Kariuki