A Virtual Reality Film from the Warm Heart of Africa

In 2022, Orant wrote, produced, and filmed its first ever Virtual Reality film. In Yankho, a Malawian mother’s dreams for her daughter are altered by the challenges of rural poverty. 

In January 2023, we were featured in the Denton Black Film Festival. People from all over Texas and North America got to experience Yankho – and Malawi itself – in virtual reality. A big thank you to DBFF for such a great time!

We were also featured in the Denton Record-Chronicle. Click here to read it!

Students viewing the film Yankho in virtual reality at the Denton Black Film Festival. Photo credit Juan Betancourt/DRC.

Why virtual reality?

While Orant is based in Malawi, its supporters are global.

Our decision to work with 360 degree, virtual reality film was based on its storytelling capacity. Nothing immerses you quite like VR. You are surrounded by the sights and sounds of the story. With Yankho, we wanted to transport the viewer into our community and show them firsthand what life is like for the people we serve in Malawi.

Who was involved in the film?

Like all of Orant’s work, Yankho was created in collaboration. Orant’s US staff worked with Praise Padambo, Orant’s Malawian Marketing Officer, to write the script and produce the film. Praise cast the acting team with members from Orant’s community. They are both the staff behind our programs and the beneficiaries of them. 

Colletar, who played the role of Nankhoma, says, “For me, it has not been acting as much as living my daily life.”

Is the film documentary or fiction?

Docu-fiction! The story of Yankho is fictionalized based on the real lives of Malawian women. But the setting is straight from reality. Matchondo village in the film is Matchondo village in real life. Colettar invited us to use her home for the scenes in the village. The well is the well she uses daily. The women at the well are not actors, just humans, collecting water before sunrise as they do every day.

How can someone watch Yankho?

We are currently still in the film festival circuit and applying for international festivals! Check back soon for a way to watch Yankho online.

The Orant Journal