Ram Devineni is a producer at Rattapallax, a nonprofit focused on documentary films, poetry, and transmedia storytelling.
What do you do?
I make documentary films, transmedia storytelling, and interactive comic books.
Tell us about your latest work or project in media literacy.
According to an article in The Conversation, disinformation on the coronavirus is mutating and spreading faster than the outbreak itself. The false information around the virus is creating an atmosphere of fear and speculation among citizens, making it harder to focus on the facts to fight the pandemic. In order to reach younger audiences, more creative methods need to be used. We created and launched a short digital comic book, “Priya’s Mask” featuring Priya — India’s first female superhero addressing topics around the pandemic in India and in the region. The last few pages of the comic book introduces Pakistan’s popular female superhero, Burka Avenger. Both characters emphasize that the virus easily flows between borders, and the problem needs to be tackled by everyone. Lastly, we created a powerful short animated film using the character Priya with the voices of prominent Hindi and English movie stars — Vidya Balan, Mrunal Thakur, Sairah Kabir and Rosanna Arquette — to draw maximum audiences. The comic book and film was launched on December 2, 2020, worldwide and was a huge global hit with millions of readers and viewers and thousands of news stories.
Why is media literacy important to you?
I was not aware of the importance of media literacy until I worked on “Priya’s Mask” to combat misinformation about the pandemic. Fear or purposely perpetuating fear is often the reason why conspiracies and mistrust spread, and with the internet, they spread like a wildfire. So, the only way to challenge fear is create compelling stories and authentic narratives.
What are you most excited about in the media literacy field?
The ability mix to storytelling with media to create exciting new ideas.
Why did you become a NAMLE member, what benefits do you see to membership, and how will it support your work?
I wanted to learn more about media literacy, especially for children and teenagers.
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