As Jayisha Patel’s film, Notes To My Father, begins, you see a young girl, Ramadevi, “swinging her legs happily as she looks out across wide fields. The 360 degree view seems idyllic, but you soon realize the desperate poverty the family lives in once you pan the camera,” writes Sirin Kale. You also begin to comprehend just how vulnerable the people here are to sex traffickers and their promise of easy money.
“After Ramadevi’s father arranges a marriage intended to turn their fortunes around, Ramadevi gets on a train away from home and finds herself in a rain-soaked, filthy alleyway in front of a dark set of stairs,” says Kale.
Because this is a virtual reality film, by toggling up, down, left, or right in the YouTube viewer, one can see Ramadevi’s world just as she sees it, as she tells, in voiceover, how she played dead while men raped her, and how she eventually escaped and found her way back.
“As a filmmaker whose work has focused on gender violence and female empowerment, it was important for me to tell the story primarily through a survivor’s perspective,” Patel told Broadly.
“But I also wanted to acknowledge her father’s perspective, through their complex but loving relationship. This enabled me to create a film that showed their two perspectives, so as to invite men into the conversation about trafficking too.”