With EMPIRE OF OIL, I started a substantial inquiry into this most decisive resource by filming in the two contrary countries of Norway and Iraq with a 360°-camera on-site in Stavanger, Bergen, Kristiansand, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk and Mosul. The Scandinavian nation is a most vital supplier of oil and gas to Germany, while Northern Iraq – in turmoil over attempts of Kurdish independence – is a base for the German Forces and other allied troops to fight ISIS/DAESH and also contains one of the largest oil fields in the region. Does the powerful resource entail the potential for a social welfare utopia like Norway or does it lead to a never-ending war like in Iraq? What are the experiences of oil producers and oil workers and the people in their local context? After a 360°-video-installation, a media- and a dance-performance, I would now wish to develop a virtual reality film out oft he 360°-footage and as a final step a full feature film. Out of the around 25 interviews I would like to choose Sinni Saarela, a Finnish Greenpeace activist and Hana Qader, a Kurdish-Turkman academic and fixer, as the main protagonist of the film that immerses the viewer in between documentation and abstraction with the aim to shorten the geographical and emotional distance to the research locations and their respective citizens. By combining the pressing, environmental issues of climate change addressed by Sinni in Norway with the ongoing conflict situation in Northern Iraq around Mosul and Erbil portrayed by Hana that stands in strong relation to the so-called refugee crisis through the topic of oil that stakeholders in both regions try to get a grasp on, I aim to allow a glance into the future of even more growing political challenges through virtual reality.
Participant: Felix Meyer-Christian - Germany