Monday, 31 October 2011

Twenty Tips to make your film a re-sounding success


Why are so many low-budget and community films let down by poor attention to sound? What do we need to do to make our films a resounding success?

The obvious answer is that we live in a world where the visual takes priority. We don't really listen to the sounds around us. In fact we often - without realizing - block out sounds that may be distracting. But when we play back a recording the wrong sounds leap out and obstruct the message.

Our golden rules and tips for success with sound are

  1. Accept that manufacturers of budget camcorders often cut costs by using a poor microphone device. A small investment of $150 will make a big difference to your recordings.
  2. Practise listening to the world around you. How many sounds can you hear? Traffic? The computer's fan? Birdsong? The rustle of your clothes? Your keyboard as you type? A chair creaking? Your breathing? Your heartbeat? (Try to count twenty environmental sounds as a listening exercise with your film crew.)
  3. Some background sounds are helpful in creating an atmosphere. But if some of your sounds begin to distract from the clarity of your speaker's voice, for instance, then urgent remedial action is required. Remember than you can add a track with background or atmospheric sounds - on top of the voice interview. This approach gives you far more control over your material.
  4. With artificial amplification the effects on our listening and hearing are easier to discern. Therefore I recommend that you invest in a good external microphone and learn how to use it. Practise listening to the world around you with a good quality microphone and headphones. Learn to notice how different the recording can be from 'normal' hearing.
  5. When making your film it is good practice to have one person with responsibility for recording and monitoring the sound. Attentive listening can also be a shared activity and is very strenuous and tiring as it demands a lot of concentration.
  6. Microphone position is also important. Again trial and error is essential. A boom pole, for example, allows you to place a microphone in an ideal position just above a speaker's head. With a shotgun microphone you can point at an object to be recorded. Clip microphone can also be effective for interviews.
  7. If you are doing an interview try to avoid the urge to speak over the interviewee; also avoid fidgeting, laughing, and vocally (dis)agreeing as the person speaks - off-screen sounds cannot be deleted.
  8. A lot of time is spent thinking about locations in visual terms. But it is also essential to think about the recording as a sound environment. Set up you camcorder or microphones underneath the air-conditioning system, for instance, is not a good idea. Some large rooms may have unpleasant echo and reverb effects. Unfurnished rooms lack warmth.
  9. A wind-jammer can be effective to cut down on noise caused by wind. You will find that cheap cameras are adversely affected even by a light breeze that begins to sound like a raging hurricane.
  10. Watch the recording levels on your camera or recording equipment. Set the Gain/Volume so that the louder noises do not push the recording levels into the red zone where the recording will sound distorted. Trial and error take planning and time. Don't cut corners.
  11. Timing: Don't start recording until everyone is ready. Don't stop until everyone has finished. It is good practice to record an extra minute of sound.
  12. Do not set the volume levels too low. You can increase them on playback but you will also be increasing the unwanted background noises.
  13. Remember that there is no remedy for badly distorted recordings at the film/sound edit stage.
  14. Pay attention to sound in your editing. Reject clips with bad sound just as you would dispose of clips that are out of focus.
  15. Consider investing in recorded music as part of your soundtrack. It really lifts a film and can also add continuity by linking section of the film thematically. Or maybe you can record a community choir or local band. Think local and DIY.
  16. Experiment with fading sounds in and out in your edit.
  17. Ensure that sound levels have been balanced and equalized across your film. It is annoying if we have to keep turning the sound up and down on a DVD.
  18. If you are using music in your film comply with legal requirements.
  19. Invest in, and insist on, excellent speakers and amplification when you screen / present your film to the public.
  20. Think Disability. Are subtitles and audio description appropriate and helpful? - and in your budget?
  21.  
    © Dr Ian McCormick. Please contact me if you would like to use this article
     in a newsletter or as a guest post on your blog.
 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Dummies, Donors and Dictators


Communities have things done to them; they are seldom in charge of their own destiny. Sometimes it's quite difficult to work out who is really pulling the strings. The sources of power are often hidden and far away.

The disparity between donor and beneficiary exists on many levels: North/South; urban/rural; male/female; black/white; bourgeois/worker; West/Oriental; Christian/Islamic and so on.

Ideally the funding programme will have been informed by research with the oppressed community in order to ascertain their needs, and their priorities for change.

The reality is more likely to be guided by the donors’ existing scheme of values. Their ways of doing things. Their priorities. When we enforce an alien doctrine we do more harm than good. We deal with the wrong priorities. Our efforts, perhaps well-meaning, are misguided.

A recurring issue in the field of education and development work which is insufficiently documented is how certain scenarios and pressures cause us to deviate from the empowerment and participation strategies which have been demonstrated to work effectively. The possibility of successful work is compromised on a variety of levels and at different stages of a project. On a more global scale, the encompassing strategy may be flawed in the process of research, planning and development. For the community development worker there will be experiential issues of conscience and compromise, of fear and frustration, that do not make it into the final evaluation which often ends up being as neutral as is neutered.

The most common problem is the disjunction between the aspirations of the funding bodies and their target groups; the preoccupations of distant charities and remote trustees often have a poor fit with the lived experience on the ground.

I often think of the ventriloquist and the dummy. While the dummy appears to lead, has the best lines, and a comic energy, behind the scenes the power balance belongs to the ventriloquist. The dummy appears to be the leading actor and occupies the stage, but when the curtain falls, dummy returns to his box and the ventriloquist is free and self-determined in his expression.

Note that I’m not saying that the oppressed are silenced; just that smooth operators are skilled at speaking on their behalf. There is a necessary communication deficit when we talk through someone, rather than being liberated to speak for ourselves.

(Let me know what you’re thinking if you’ve read Nick Couldry’s new book Why voice Matters: Culture and Politics after Neoliberalism  London: Sage Publications 2010).

One example which I cam across recently was female genital mutilation. It is an issue which is being widely and rightly addressed by campaigners, support workers, help groups, and development education programmes worldwide. But Dr Augustin Hatar, a theatre education researcher, discovered that amongst the Barbaig, a nomadic ethnic group in Northern Tanzania, female genital mutilation was not an identified issue or priority for change. Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) had been using the participatory theatre methodology to sensitize women about their rights. Dr Hatar noted that

“The central themes of these previous experiences centered around issues such as domestic violence, girl education, property inheritance for women, HIV/AIDS and women, early and forced marriages as well as girl education.”

Meanwhile, HAWOCODA (Hanaang Women’s Counseling and Development Association) formed in 1993 had by 1999 recorded 388 cases related to women’s problems, including 115 cases for rape and 87 cases for domestic violence.

But from the villager’s perspective the first issue was reclaiming their grazing rights; levels of poverty; men pocketing sales of goats and cows and squandering the money gained on alcohol; men frequenting bars and consorting with women; acquired sexually transmitted diseases.

The women noted violence against them but also complained of their grinding poverty and excessively hard work. As Dr Hatar noted, “wife beating was an expected phenomenon. Not that it was seen to be good, but that it was seen as an ordinary event.” (15-16)

Education of females also required special consideration when considered from within the local social context:

“With regard to girl education, the community said that they saw no value from the end products of such schooling as instead those who went through school brought them enormous embarrassment and shame when they took jobs of “ washing dishes” for rich people.”

When you’re speaking on behalf of someone, or working for the donor, there’s a danger that you’re not meeting the needs of the ‘beneficiaries.’ You’re putting words into their mouths.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Please don't exploit my participation



Participation is under attack. We are encouraged to take part but in the process part of us is commodified and sold off. How can people keep hold of the power that is their birthright? Why do I constantly get stuck in the net of someone's else's program(mme) ?

In the current exploitative model of participation, my contribution to the web and my use of emails, cell / mobile phones, apps etc chiefly supports global corporate power, because it

  • permits part of me/my world to be stolen for the use of corporate interests;

  • fragments the potential or full force of my personhood from acting on the world;

  • duplicates and replicates the status quo;

  • fuels the engine of consumer capitalism and hinders genuine emancipation;

  • allows components of my personal data to be used for the profit of others;

  • supports surveillance strategies of corporate and governmental agencies;

  • converts my work into free intellectual capital for the gain of others;

  • creates an illusory sense that my contribution makes a difference;

  • strengthens the authority of the most visible global powers;

  • fails to redistribute power and influence or strengthens inequalities;

  • conceals a circularity and tautology of ‘participating in participation’;

  • masks a weakening of informed consent;

  • promises a reward, gift, or return, that never arrives or materialises (myths of monetisation).

I’ve deliberately heightened the language here because we are seldom aware of the progressive, insidious, unnoticed and concealed diminution of our public and private identity. It is almost as though the notion of ‘going public’ necessitates and permits our self to be sold off. There is seldom an option knowingly to consent.

And let’s recall how far the dice is loaded against the protection of my self and your self, from manipulation and control. Compare, for instance, the global corporate advertising budget ($466,000,000,000) with the several million that support the global human rights movement. That is the true weighting of the Scales of Injustice.

Approached from another direction there is also the problematic of community participation. It sounds great, does it not? But how often does it mask power and authority under the guise of inclusion?


Here are some of the recurring problems that often beset or compromise community led participatory initiatives:

  • existing or trusted leaders speak on behalf of the community;

  • those best equipped for participation participate most;

  • community is homogenized, totalised, simplified;

  • differences are minoritized or relegated for the sake of group / collective voice;

  • radical or traditional perspectives must be accomodated to working compromises;

  • agreement is transitory and unsustainable;

  • community interests are in reality displaced by the larger priorities of donors / funders;

  • the underlying and unspoken terms of reference and methodolgy are not up debate;

  • the idea of community mythologises and romanticises;

  • community displaces and conceals larger differences of race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, faith, age, education, or caste

Cooke and Kothari (2001) outline the case for and against 'participation':

The ostensible aim of participatory approaches to development was to make ‘people’ central to development by encouraging beneficiary involvement in interventions that affect them and over which they previously had limited or no control or influence. […] This recognition and support for greater involvement of ‘local’ people’s perspectives, knowledge, priorities and skills presented an alternative to donor-driven and outsider-led development and was rapidly and widely adopted by individuals and organizations. Participatory approaches to development, then, are justified in terms of sustainability, relevance and empowerment. (5)

But the premise of their book is that

Participatory development’s tyrannical potential is systemic, and not merely a matter of how the practitioner operates or the specificities of the techniques and tools employed. (4)

They conclude

In sum, then, tyranny is the illegitimate and/or unjust exercise of power; this book is about how participatory development facilitates this. (4)

And why the image, above? It is Hobbes’s Leviathan in which the people participate in and through the person of the monarch. Is that the kind of freedom we're looking at?

Today, global institutions such as the IMF and World Bank are the new agents for and on behalf of the people. But are their methodologies just another form of tyranny? How far, in league with NGOs and business are we encountering new forms of power masked by the kind face or pseudo-participation.

Today, arguably, monarchs and tyrants are in decline. Participation is not.

The NGO movement is now a trillion dollar industry. But is it sufficiently accountable? What do you think?

Further Research:


Simon Bell (1994) “Methods and Mindsets: Towards and Understanding of the Tyranny of Methodology” Public Administration and Development, 14(4), 323-338.

Bill Cooke and Uma Kothari (2001) Participation: The New Tyranny (Zed Books Ltd)

Samuel Hickey (Editor), Giles Mohan (Editor) (2004) Participation: From Tyranny to Transformation? - Exploring New Approaches to Participation in Development (Zed Books Ltd)

Panel “Tyrannies of Participation” ISEA 2011; Friday, 16 September, 2011 - 09:00 - 10:30
Chair Person: Seeta Peña Gangadharan ; Presenters: Jon Leidecker ; Joshua Kit Clayton ; John Kim ; Anthony Tran ; Vasily Trubetskoy

What is Database Cinema?


When a digital film editor begins to put a film together he has a variety of clips or digital files to choose from. Think of these clips as a database; files of information waiting to be used.

These 'files' can be assembled in a logical sequence, or can be out of sequence. In a story the events are typically in chronological (time/event) order; in the narrative plot we may begin in the middle of thins (in media res) and then have flashbacks.

Dislocations of sequence add to suspense and keep the spectator intrigued. The plot becomes a kind of puzzle and the spectator may have to do more work. One result is a feeling of greater participation. Also it is possible to re-tell the story with a different outcome, if the components are re-arranged. An example is the film Run Lola Run.

In some cases clips or files that have been uploaded can be played back by the application in random order with the result that each viewing will be different from the one that came before.

Or clips uploaded can be run alongside an established film for irony, collision, similarity of difference. An example of database film as participatory engagement is Man With a Movie Camera: The Global Remake. As their website explains, the film is

“a participatory video shot by people around the world who are invited to record images interpreting the original script of Vertov’s Man With A Movie Camera and upload them to this site. Software developed specifically for this project archives, sequences and streams the submissions as a film. Anyone can upload footage. When the work streams your contribution becomes part of a worldwide montage, in Vertov’s terms the ‘decoding of life as it is’.”

When the material is linked thematically it is possible to preserve a degree of coherence in the material.

Alternatively, the material submitted can be curated, selected or composed by a Director or a team of editors. An example is the YouTube sensation Life in a Day.

A more radical step is to abandon storyline and allow free access to all of the footage, and to provide options for the reader to re-arrange it. Potentially, each participant creates his or her own film composition.

As the technology evolves we can anticipate more complex editing options and a great range of source material that can be used as 'free commons.'

The options currently available for print and text that Burroughs and B.S. Johnson experimented with fifty years ago with will soon be available to experimental film makers.

If you want to read more on this topic, see my blog


Collaboration, Art, and the Discourses of Participatory Film

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Forty PostFilm Perspectives




  1. PostFilm supplements and supplants the modernist project of Film - its heavy demands on capital; its specialisation and division of labour; its guild restrictions; its white male supremacy and its glossy media moguls.

  1. PostFilm is an interaction between the emerging vitality of the community and the enriching ambition offered by an artistic outlook. It is process and product.

  1. PostFilm embraces innovation and creativity but it also critically inhabits the life forces latent in tradition and ‘the past.’

  1. PostFilm overthrows the capitalist structures, metaphors, motivation, ego-laden late capitalist film processes and products.

  1. PostFilm is everyday. It is a cultural materialism more than a textual postmodernism. Kant’s logical tact, tricks of Homer’s Odysseus and untheorized ordinary life of Michel de Certeau.

  1. PostFilm shakes hands with visual studies, visual anthropology, and video ethnography; with participatory and community media. It’s the School and the University which fragments power, and polices disciplinary boundaries.

  1. PostFilm is Visual Plus because the visual cannot be isolated, bounded, commodified or self-contained without a necessary remainder. Let’s listen and look. Enact. (Trans-) Form temporary alliances, co-working relationships. Seek out the pool and unlock the skills of the oppressed. Their lifeworld is seldom a desert; just as a desert is never a desert. (Freire)

  1. PostFilm celebrates the multiple convergences between film, music sound worlds, games and other technological-driven opportunities. Transmutation is divine. Plunder and proliferate. Gifts are more powerful than gadgets.

  1. PostFilm is inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary. The PostFilmers play across the arts, across traditional disciplines; he or she inhabits multiple communities and life worlds. Voyagers and fence-breakers. the chink in the armour. The hole in the wall. Bottom’s drama and ‘sub-plots.’

  1. PostFilmers courageously challenge the single rooted individual; PostFilmers oppose tedious repetitions and the boredom that besets the excessive and cramped divisions of labour, established roles and settled hierarchies, the rigid machinery of certification and professionalised elites.

  1. PostFilm embraces the ‘individual’ who embraces the collectivity of  forces which are composing him or her. The PostFilm personality is enquiring and talkative. As Joyce said, Here Comes Everybody (H.C.E)

  1. PostFilm occupies three world or lifeworks: public services, the private sector and community-led activities (the Third Sector) and the Fourth Way. (Gurdjieff)

  1. PostFilm rejects the tyranny sometimes imposed by the geekmachines, technocracies and jargon-weavers; we celebrate those people and those sites which are helping us to decode and replace unnecessary technical jargon.

  1. PostFilm is pragmatic. It shamelessly embraces any tool that comes to hand. Bricolage. Beg, borrow and steal.

  1. PostFilm is a mixed bag of tricks. But the magic is the community not the machine.

  1. PostFilm is post credit crunch; for PostFilmers’ enforced leisure, there is opportunity, innovation, and enterprise.

  1. PostFilm welcomes artists who see themselves as entrepreneurs. Labouring to enrich the community we require a solid understanding of risk and ambition. Immaterialism is another mode of decadence.

  1. PostFilm notes that there have never been so many opportunities to explore diversity and difference. And to identify, discuss and celebrate what we have in common.

  1. PostFilm is a sanctioned universal piracy. Honest theft. Enlightened Piracy rules. A Robin Hood reversal that adds to the Common Stock.

  1. PostFilm says Farewell to Stars; they have expired in terms that they define as success. Farewell to the starry firmament of globalized products, brands, icons.

  1. PostFilm is haunted by its own extinction, the impossibility of its future presence. PostFilm in parenthesis.

  1. PostFilm questions the obsession with the 90 minute product. PostFilms are momentary, discontinuous, un-terminated. (Peter Greenway’s suitcases)

  1. PostFilm welcomes opportunities for byproducts. PostFilm is gymnastic multimedia. Recycle, re-use. PostFilm embraces all ethical products and productions for the common good. Co-opportunity and sustainability (John Grant)

  1. PostFilm welcomes fans and followers, relationship management, public relations and an antagonistic but warm relation to its critics. Ho, ho, ho.

  1. PostFilm notes the Loss of  the Awesome, ‘He’s a film director’, ‘Hollywood’

  1. PostFilmers want more from the experience; they want the event. Let’s say that people want more than to watch content. They are coming together to discuss, participate, engage, co-create. Popcorn is not enough. Re-negotiate the Spectacle (Mikhail Bakhtin and Guy Debord)

  1. PostFilm finds opportunities in the lack of standardised structures and products for investors since that situation obstructs cross-colonisation. Pragmatic PostFilmers are tricksters who find a way to make their magic with the community, not against it.

  1. PostFilm retires from action the mobile army of grubby agents and the surplus of parasitic service providers and fees, the arts aristocracies and their bleating councils of denial and despair. (Nietzsche)

  1. PostFilm is the ultimate efficiency because it springs from the absolute commitments of its participants. (Marx)

  1. PostFilm brings joy to its participants rather than feathers for patrons and cash for investors.

  1. PostFilm is reciprocal, slippery, multi-faceted. PostFilm inhabits our life, we inhabit its lifeworlds. A renewal and encounter with Being. (Heidegger)

  1. PostFilm is a notion of experienced time that cannot be fully recovered: a less progressive, directional notion of time. Mediated subjects but not the immateriality of the inter-subjective. The trace of the other. (Derrida)

  1. PostFilm collectivizes and extends without limit the post-production phase “The process of editing film or video after acquiring the footage” Remix, mashup, wreckage. In the end is the beginning.

  1. PostFilm’s Progress is imperceptibly slow or fast, depending on your point of view. Fortunately, it lacks early visibility. It is constantly finding itself unfit. Major patrons have left the room. It is too small for government and too relevant for private backers. For the YouTubers it is exponential and omni-absent.

  1. The PostFilm Producer is a practice and a paradox.

  1. PostFilm Festivals are value-added. Festivals are more of an experience and less of a market. They are participant and community-led.

  1. PostFilm stops trying to be everything to everybody. A Global Commodity is not our objective. We say No! to the tyranny of the lowest common denominator; we always and everywhere affirm the validity of the remainder, the undigested, the uncompromised.

  1. PostFilm asks about the prehistory of film. Also the lost traditions. What can PostFilm rescue from the old studio system (‘a vast array of disciplines were brought together in the same place every day with the sole purpose of developing, making, and marketing films.’ Ted Hope) But we also note the criticism that "The studio assembly line smothered creativity."

  1. PostFilm democratizes the Grand Jury, but it does not abandon opportunities to make informed judgements. Cans not Cannes.

  1. PostFilm originated in Birmingham, West Midlands, UK, the home and source of Cultural Studies

Retrospective

"Let us exhibit it instead as a cruel denunciation, as a painful testimony to the level at which the peoples of the world have been forced to limit their artistic creativity. The future, without doubt, will be with folk art, but then there will be no need to call it that, because nobody and nothing will any longer be able to again paralyze the creative spirit of the people.
Art will not disappear into nothingness; it will disappear into everything." 

(Julio Garcia Espinosa) - Havana, December 7, 1969

“The alienation of the spectator to the profit of the contemplated object is expressed in the following way: the more he contemplates the less he lives; the more he accepts recognizing himself in the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own existence and his own desires. The externality of the spectacle in relation to the active man appears in the fact that his own gestures are no longer his but those of another who represents him” 
(Guy Debord)

Towards an Imperfect Cinema


Recently I have enjoyed reading Julio Garcia Espinosa's Jump Cut  essay "For an Imperfect Cinema." (Translated 1979 [1969]). 

Before considering the relevance and living force of his ideas for contemporary cinema of the people may I propose reading some short samples of his work that clearly express the appealing direction of his thought, his vision, and his relevance for us today?

"Nowadays, perfect cinema — technically and artistically masterful — is almost always reactionary cinema. The major temptation facing Cuban cinema at this time — when it is achieving its objective of becoming a cinema of quality, one which is culturally meaningful within the revolutionary process — is precisely that of transforming itself into a perfect cinema. [...]

What happens if the development of videotape solves the problem of inevitably limited laboratory capacity, if television systems with their potential for "projecting" independently of the central studio renders the ad infinitum construction of movie theaters suddenly superfluous? [...]

What happens then is not only an act of social justice — the possibility for everyone to make films — but also a fact of extreme importance for artistic culture: the possibility of recovering, without any kinds of complexes or guilt feelings, the true meaning of artistic activity.[...]

Imperfect cinema is an answer, but it is also a question which will discover its own answers in the course of its development. Imperfect cinema can make use of the documentary or the fictional mode, or both. It can use whatever genre, or all genres. It can use cinema as a pluralistic art form or as a specialized form of expression.[...]

"Imperfect cinema is no longer interested in quality or technique. It can be created equally well with a Mitchell or with an 8mm camera, in a studio or in a guerrilla camp in the middle of the jungle. Imperfect cinema is no longer interested in predetermined taste, and much less in "good taste." It is not quality which it seeks in an artist's work. The only thing it is interested in is how an artist responds to the following question: What are you doing in order to overcome the barrier of the "cultured" elite audience which up to now has conditioned the form of your work?"

May I also take this opportunity to recommend his work to all community film revolutionaries? You can read more of his essay here.


And a second recommendation.  

Take a look at the Plymouth-based collected called Imperfect Cinema

They've been reading Jacques Ranciere (which has to be a good sign). But I'll let them speak for themselves:

"The project takes inspiration from their shared backgrounds in DIY punk,  and seeks to activate key methodological techniques of this subculture to describe, position, interrogate and socialise a micro-cinema practice which directly addresses issues of sustainability & inequality existent within the mainstreams of contemporary film culture."

They were in Birmingham UK recently for the SuperSonic Festival and I'm told that they plan to make their footage available for remixing. A living database cinema has arrived. Long live free commons!

Time to revisit my forty-part anti-film manifesto that MySpace Forum banned? 

I'm not sure that I can improve on Espinosa. 

But I'd like to think that I'm following in his footsteps. With a torch. And a camera.



Thursday, 20 October 2011

Children, Climate Change and Collaboration



In the traditional classroom it's often the same children answering the questions. As a result many young people feel left out and they may become alienated from education altogether. They feel that their educational needs are lost in the large class environment. Their voices are drowned out. But children are our most precious resource. Like our fragile planet they need care, support and respect in order to thrive.

Let' be honest: teachers struggle too. Larger classes, less money. More bureaucracy, less creativity. Examinations not celebrations ...

Collaborative learning can be a very effective way to promote participation in lessons between children.

In collaborative learning projects the teacher provides supportive interventions, and acts as a guide or facilitator, rather than the discipline-obsessed dictator in the corner. I'm not suggesting that teacher abandons his or her role. But the emphasis shifts from teaching to learning; from a state of spoon feeding dependence to the young people doing their own digging.

Collaborative learning requires its own skills of community and co-operation and these have to be learned and can be improved upon. But they are also key life skills that we need urgently to develop if we are to face the challenges of issues that require concerted global action such as poverty, inequality, environmental destruction, species loss and climate change.

What we are finding is that if we trust children or young people to work together on research and the presentation of their findings we will have successful outcomes together with pleasurable and sustainable learning. Collaboration works well because research and presentation exercises involve a process of acquisition and a process of revision. In both regards, collaborative work is ideally suited to an approach driven by process.

Before taking a look at a case-study it ought to be noted that collaboration can extend beyond the classroom to encompass children of different ages, in different schools, in different parts of the world.

And why stop there? What about active collaboration with parents and members of the 'adult' community? The collaborative approach works well when the issue to be explored is complex; when it is open to multiple interpretation and affects a wide range of people. Broad topics are a good starting point but that does not mean that you are banned from specialization at a later stage.

If you want to take a look at a recent success story consider the use of Google Docs & Spreadsheets
to explore strategies for combating global warming. In this flagship project Google partnered with Global SchoolNet to invite teachers and students to use collaborative software. Children of all ages from more than 80 schools around the world participated. Here are their results

  1. Include global warming/climate change in school curricula (as part of National Science Standards), so when the students are in charge they can make educated decisions.
  2. Increase availability of low-interest Energy Efficient Mortgages to support homeowners who increase the energy efficiency of their homes.
  3. Put light sensors in all office and school buildings so all lights go off when the rooms are empty.
  4. Require that all products contributing to global warming be marked with a specific color (e.g., chemical pesticides could be marked with a red sticker for being extremely dangerous to the environment).
  5. Use less paper; use the back of the paper to print on or write on; use recyled paper.
  6. Plant more trees to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  7. Teach recycling techniques in classes and school-wide programs.
  8. Make recycling mandatory in all public facilities, such as schools, parks and beaches.
  9. Do public service announcements on TV featuring celebrities promoting carpooling, walking, riding bikes, using public transportation, conserving electricity and recycling.
  10. Give grants and tax credits to companies that invest in alternative, sustainable, emission-free fuel technologies while ending such subsidies for fosssil fuel production.
  11. The media should conduct interviews of legislators to help the public become aware of their ability and willingness to help solve the problem.
  12. Replace incandescence light bulbs with fluorescence light bulbs.
  13. Restrict the use of chemical fertilizer in agriculture.
  14. Provide incentives and policies to encourage car makers to make more fuel efficient cars.
  15. Protect wetlands and preserve more open space.
  16. Provide tax incentives for regular recyclers and car poolers.
  17. Use solar panels in the construction of new homes and office buildings.
  18. Substitute local community transportation fleets with hybrid vehicles.
  19. Require that car dealers hand out fact sheets that inform car buyers about the pollution levels of different cars.
  20. Send scientists to talk about global warming in schools. They can bring hands-on activities so students feel more involved.
  21. Unplug all electronics from the wall when they're not in use.
  22. Have another Global Warming Student Speakout in one year - to see if any of these ideas have been implemented.
  23. Raise mandatory emissions standards for cars and other vehicles sold in the US.
  24. Use solar power in the day and use electricity at night when needed.
  25. Give tax rebates for using solar power.
  26. Congress should ratify the Kyoto Agreement.
  27. Establish off-shore wind farms - saves land space and produces reliable power.
  28. Levy higher taxes on companies that pollute the air.
  29. Wait until you have a lot of clothes to wash before using the washing machine.
  30. Provide tax incentives for companies that create Hybrid cars. That will reduce the need for oil.
  31. Schools and businesses should be fined for not having recycling bins available to the people on their premises.
  32. The media should tell us about what is really going on with global warming. We don't think that we have all the information we need.
  33. At the end of the weather forecast, report “CO2 emissions levels today…” or comparative average temperatures (i.e., this year's temperature as it compares to the past several years).
  34. Lead by example and convert 50% of government vehicles to environmentally friendly cars by the year 2020.
  35. Place recycling bins throughout the city wherever there is a trash can.
  36. Require companies to limit the amount of packaging an item can have and it must be recyclable.
  37. Block bills that cause more damage to the environment.
  38. Media could reduce advertising costs for alternative energy products to inform and increase sales in these areas.
  39. Keep your tires fully inflated to improve gas mileage.
  40. Replace old appliances with Energy Star appliances.
  41. Promote awareness of local recycling centers.
  42. Require college and high school students to take a global warming class.
  43. Give tax reductions to public transportation users.
  44. Protect our oceans - prevent plankton in the ocean from dying.
  45. People running for elections should use email, radio and other media to campaign and stop using so many paper signs and flyers that use up our natural resources and then get left out and become pollution.
  46. Reuse newspapers as wrapping paper for gifts.
  47. Enforce laws about littering.
  48. Use less electricity, turn off the TV, read books, walk, run, bike, surf, play tennis.
  49. Business should require employees to telecommute several days a week.
  50. Provide scientists appropriate resources to help them research the future of energy and the freedom to explore innovative ideas.
  51. Deploy images, diagrams, sound, music and video to strengthen your message and to make your learning more inclusive of different learning styles
  52. Collaborate: community work is often more efficient and more effective
I've taken the LIBERTY to add TWO ideas to the project as presented above and on the Google website for the project. 51 and 52 are my ADDITIONS. Now that we've collaborated there's one idea for every week of the year. A minor improvement, admittedly, but I do feel closer to it now as a participant.

And I'm going round the house now unplugging gadgets.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Public Speaking - How to Improve - Video



How to improve your confidence and effectiveness as a public speaker.

Newspapers and Press Conferences - Top tips

This video was produced in order to support the work of community groups, charities, nonprofits and voluntary organizations.

Appearing on the TV - top tips video

This video was produced in order to support the work of community groups, charities, nonprofits and voluntary organizations.

Portrait of the Lord Mayor of Birmingham in 2008-9

My Life: A Portrait .

The life of Muslim community leader Cllr. Chauhdry A Rashid, who has served as a Justice of the Peace and the Lord Mayor of Birmingham (2008), in the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

He was born in Kashmir, Pakistan, but has lived most of his life in Birmingham and Workington.

He has been a leading campaigner on diversity and equality issues and has been an inspiration to many in his community. In this film he talks about the importance of education and what he loves about living in the City of Birmingham.

International Community Film Festival Archive 2008



--- ARCHIVE ---

The International Community Film Festival 2008
Patron: Baroness Falkner of Margravine 

The second International Community Film Festival was held at The University of Northampton 11th September – 12th October 2008. The festival featured a selection from over 100 films sent to us from twenty countries. Several films included in the opening night presented issues of conflict, peace and violence. They remind us of an ongoing cycle of terror, aggression and dogma that 9/11 is an occasion to commemorate.

But the stories selected by our film-makers were primarily concerned with the people behind the headlines, and by the work that they are undertaking to improve their community-life. The directors find ugliness and beauty; a sense of visual poetry often reminds us of compassionate and redeeming human qualities. A sense of hope, based in collective action, comes through more powerfully than the familiar portraits of tragic situations and political deadlock.

We find evidence that individuals and community groups are taking up the camera rather than the gun as the best tool to fight for a better world. One example of new media being used to reflect and reform the world is the Network of Community Video Units in India:

“We will show our lanes, our slums and our issues. We will not show our problems, we will show our struggles and our victories … You will get information about our slums. It will have your words, your voices, which we will present through Hamari Awaaz (Our Voice).”

We hope you enjoyed the films presented at the ICFF 2008 launch event. (Prof Ian McCormick)

Race and Diversity/ War and Conflict

1pm – 4 pm on Thurs 25th Sept; The Avenue Cinema

13:00
Red Terror
Joel Jonsson
Sweden
15:00
13:15
Lights
Reem Al Ghazzi
Syria
4:00
13:19
Tuesday at the Grand
Chris Taylor
UK
10:00
13:30
Little Babel
Idhebor Kagho Crowther
Nigeria
11:00
13:42
Te Whare
Richard Green
Aotearoa (NZ)
31:00
14:15
Survivor
Nicole Volavka
UK
14:00
14:30
Something Invisible
Ryuichi Hiraishi
Japan
37:00
15:08
Perceptions
Ali M. Ali
Nigeria
10:24
15:19
Furrows -  The Pain of Memory
Nawafeth Youth Forum/zaLa
Palestine and Italy
24:30


13:00
Red Terror
Joel Jonsson
Sweden
15:00


Red Terror tells the story of an Ethiopian family in the 1975 revolution. During the time of the Red Terror the Ethiopian army forced every first born male to join the battle against the rebellious liberation front. Scared of the ruthless dictatorship Mahari sends his son Alemu away to hide from the military forces. But when the army arrives and finds the son gone, they take Mahari instead; leaving behind his wife and his younger son Tatek.
Unable to bear this burden, Alemu trades himself for his father and joins the army while Mahari reunites with his family. In a twist of fate the army returns to the village presenting the dead body of Alemu to the village, to make clear how they handle disobedience. This leaves Mahari with a tough decision to make.
http://www.mandy.com/1/film3.cfm?id=11007

13:15
Lights
Reem Al Ghazzi
Syria
4:00


It’s about a place without its basic needs of living,
But it’s also about People with hope and courage.
A whole community live in a hard condition, and get used to it,
But what about their future; their children?

It’s about a place where there is no electricity but it is full of Lights …
It has its own kind of Light.

13:19
Tuesday at the Grand
Chris Taylor
UK
10:00


'Tuesday at the Grand' illustrates the personal traumas and struggles faced by young asylum-seekers in and around the complex of a successful hotel.

This setting infused the film with a familiarity that provided a framework to then explore issues that may be alien to British citizens.

By contrasting the comfort of the British workers with the issues faced by the young people 'Tuesday at the Grand' is able to subtly help its audience to recognise that these troubles are encountered on their own doorstep and not simply in the headlines.

13:30
Little Babel
Idhebor Kagho Crowther
Nigeria
11:00


Hot spot social drama about 4 young and easy living Southerners who find themselves in the cultural melting pot, Jos in the middle of 2001. Not familiar with the local dialect (Hausa) they get mixed up in a fight with a local suya seller, which stemmed from a controversial pun on halla. Confusing the word to mean a derogatory attack on his faith, the suya seller takes offence and moves in for the kill, fanning the flames for an ethnic/religious conflict. The film gives an insight of what can easily give birth to ethnic crises in this part of the world and it is due to these little misunderstandings, which can easily be avoided, if we give way to peace to prevail.

13:42
Te Whare
Richard Green
Aotearoa (NZ)
31:00


This parable explores the relationship of Tangata Whenua (people of the land - Maori) and Europeans who signed The Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 confirming Maori Tino Rangatiratanga (Sovereignty) and Crown Governance. Te Whare sees Hone opening his home to his friend Richard who has just broken up with his girlfriend and need a place to stay. Initially the relationship is positive, but slowly Richard invites his own friends to come to the house and by film's end Hone finds himself on the couch - a guest in his own home. The film parallels the experience of Maori and many other indigenous peoples who have experienced the devastation of colonization.

14:15
Survivor
Nicole Volavka
UK
14:00


What happens when a Rwandan genocide survivor meets a young man from Darfur? This is a tale of a friendship made on fragile emotional grounds. A subtle treatment of a complex subject, set in the world of London’s night cleaners. Survivor is based upon the Director’s experiences living in Rwanda whilst working on the feature film Shooting Dogs

14:30
Something Invisible
Ryuichi Hiraishi
Japan
37:00


About 4 months before the atomic bomb, there was the last ground battle between Japan and the US/UK. It was the battle of Okinawa. Yomitan village in Okinawa was where the US soldiers first landed for the battle. In this village there is a cave called Chibi-chili-Gama. 143 civilians were in the cave to protect them from the bombing. For a long time after the war, the survivors had been silent about what happened in the cave. It had been a taboo in this community. This document tells the story of what happened in the cave, how it happened, and why it happened.

15:08
Perceptions
Ali M. Ali
Nigeria
10:24


Nigeria, a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society has three major ethnic groups; Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. These three ethnic groups characterize the three major regions of the country (North, East and West), thus defining the behaviours and outlooks of the life of the people. The diversities of these three languages has made it possible for each to have its own perceptions about the others thereby creating a mixture of perceptions that is very important in defining the picture and story of the Nigerian nationhood and the struggle of its people to understand their differences for better co-existence and respect for each other.

15:19
Furrows -  The Pain of Memory
Nawafeth Youth Forum/zaLa
Palestine and Italy
24:30


Furrows on an old people’s face. Furrows on the fields.
Wounds. Maybe fertile.
Or maybe just carrying the weight of memory – that is, in Palestine, sometime oppressive. Memory that shapes a public, sometimes obsessive, victim’s identity.
We’ve searched for a different way to listen.
We were looking for histories, not History.
In a village in which nearly the entire population is formed by refugees, a community film crew’s job is to listen, to save, to challenge collective memory.
In a country in which memory is a soldier in the conflict, sharing memories can be a step in a path toward peace.

 


Thursday 2nd October 2008

16.00-17.42 @ The Avenue Cinema

16:00
Brad: One More Night on the Barricades
Miguel Castro
Brazil
55:00
Boardroom
16:00
Trouble Sleeping
Robert Rae
UK
1:42:00



16:00
Brad: One More Night on the Barricades
Miguel Castro
Brazil
55:00
Boardroom


When Mexican paramilitary forces shot Brad Will in the chest (27th October 2006), killing him, his camera fell from his hands. But it didn't stop recording. It continued moving from hand to hand, telling Brad's story, as well as the story of the movement of movements that he was a part of. From the squats of New York to the forests of Oregon, from the anti-globalization protests in Seattle, Prague, Quebec to the popular uprising in Oaxaca, Brad's camera paints us a picture of what his life was about, and what so many of his friends continue to struggle for.


16:00
Trouble Sleeping
Robert Rae
UK
1:42.00

Trouble Sleeping was the brainchild of Robert Rae, artistic director of the Edinburgh Theatre Workshop. ‘It was an opportunity to tell a story from their perspective,’ he said. ‘For refugees escaping political persecution, the fact they are political makes them committed to where they come from. To go into a strange world and a strange culture is tough.’ Rae hand-picked a team of writers with direct experience of the issues facing refugees in Scotland’s capital, including Edinburgh-based Palestinian playwright Ghazi Hussein. ‘We listened to each other’s stories and made them into a fairly coherent, complex narrative,’ Rae explained.
One character has been refused asylum so turns to a woman friend for help - although if she does help him her own life will be ruined. It also features an Iranian who poses as a gay man in order to claim refugee status while disguising the fact from his Iranian friends that he really is a homosexual. ‘Although it is fictionalised, everything is true and the individual refugees are often playing their own stories,’ says Rae. ‘You can have a legitimate claim to asylum but through lack of communication skills you can find yourself being deported. ‘Security forces say on their websites that in many situations if they can’t deport someone because they have no evidence then they will do it on the basis of non-compliance. ‘So people coming here are faced with a really complex legal challenge in a different language and documents written with a different script. And they have to try to represent what happened to them. I hope people see the film and look at the world through their eyes.’
Producer Eddie Dick believes Trouble Sleeping is a wake-up call to people who are hostile towards asylum seekers and to politicians seeking to grant longer detention powers to the police. ‘How can we sleep soundly unless we treat these people equitably and fairly?’ he asked. ‘It is something urgent for us to deal with on a human level, not in terms of extending detention to 42 days or charging people when they are not even allowed to know the charge against them.’
Rae persuaded professional actors Gary Lewis, Alia Alzuogbi, Alison Peebles and Nabil Shaban to work alongside the amateurs, but there is no question of who the real stars are. However, some of the refugees involved wish to keep a low profile, fearing that their families might be persecuted in their home countries. One of the few actors willing to speak was Waseem Uboaklain, 38, who worked as an aircraft engineer in Palestine but now runs a cafe in Edinburgh: ‘Scottish people are generally very welcoming, but only after they know you. Perhaps a film like this will give more people an idea of who asylum seekers are.’


21.15-22.00 The Film Lab @ The Picturedrome

Selection of films from Community Video Units in India and from local film makers in Northampon UK.

 


Health, Education, Arts

16.00-18.30 pmThursday 9th October 2008

16:00
Tanvir’s Travelogue
Ranjan Kamath
India
78:00
Boardroom
16:30
Securing Livelihoods: Fighting HIV and AIDS
VSO
UK & Mozambique
3:41
17:18
1000 Journals
Andrea Kreuzhage
USA 
88:00
Boardroom
16:34
Penye Nia Pana Njia
Derek Thorne
Tanzania
18:17
16:52
My Life as a Carer
Jay Robinson
UK
29:00
17:30
Turnabout: The Story of the Yale Puppeteers
Dan Bessie
USA
58:00
17:30
My Time My Space
Philippa Forsey
UK
5:30 Foyer
17:36
Fit for Life
Philippa Forsey
UK
5:30 Foyer



17:30
My Time My Space
Philippa Forsey
UK
Foyer
17:36
Fit for Life
Philippa Forsey
UK
Foyer


My time My Space highlights NESA’s creative work with women experiencing post-natal depression, enabling their journey towards recovery. This project enables women to increase their self-confidence and self-esteem using the creative arts as an inspirational tool. Participants are able to determine their own artistic outcomes and encouraged to develop their own interests and skills. The project shows the progression of individuals on their creative path.

Fit for Life highlights NESA’s creative work with school children emphasizing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Norton Radstock has some of the highest levels of obesity in Bath and the North East Somerset and the range of creative activities on offer encouraged physical and creative engagement in exploring healthy lifestyles.

16:00
Tanvir’s Travelogue
Ranjan Kamath
India
78:00
Boardroom


Tanvir Ka Safarnama is the enthralling theatrical journey that happens when a pipe-smoking urban sophisticate like Habib Tanvir travels via Europe to return to his homeland - in Chhattisgarh - to create an essentially Indian theatre. Working with unschooled, uneducated villagers, living together as a family over 50 years, Tanvir has ploughed a lonely furrow to produce theatrical masterpieces. His adaptations of Shakespeare, Brecht and Indian Sanskrit classics have regaled audiences around the world with humour and humanism. This film joins the joys, trials and tribulations of Habib Tanvir and Naya Theatre on the road over two years.

16:30
Securing Livelihoods: Fighting HIV and AIDS
VSO
UK & Mozambique
3:41


Many communities in Mozambique struggle to feed themselves. The problem isn’t purely a lack of food: lack of access to markets, seasonal variations and underlying poverty contributes to what is termed ‘food insecurity’. At the same time, 14.5% of the population in Mozambique is HIV positive. Life expectancy is expected to drop to 35 years by 2010. Already vulnerable, the people have no guarantee they will be able to feed themselves over time – in other words they are food insecure – because their crops are periodically destroyed by drought and flooding.

This has created a cycle of poverty that two VSO volunteers, Maryrose Ikumi from
Kenya and Rosemarie Obana from The Philippines, are trying to break, working with the Association of Agriculture and Livestock Technicians to tackle the issues together. Maryrose, who specializes in HIV & AIDS says:
“In rural areas, when you want to do an HIV project, it is difficult to talk to people about HIV, as their main problem is that there is no rain or food. So we approach food security and HIV together, giving people seeds to grow their own food and explaining the importance of growing nutritious food.
We take community educators to our centre and they stay there for five days while we train them on HIV & AIDS, micro-enterprise and nutritional issues. Then when they come back to the community, they disseminate the information. That way we are building up knowledge, and increasing the possibility of open discussions on HIV & AIDS issues.”
Rosemarie, an agricultural small business adviser says, “As part of my job, I go out to the fields to check the plants that the communities are growing, to see if we can improve the way they plant the crop and make production better.” Such has been their success that both Maryrose and Rosemarie have extended their placements beyond the original two years they started in 2002. Maryrose says: “I’ve seen a change in the community – people can talk about condoms now, though it was taboo before, especially in front of a crowd. When people have educators within their own community, they know them and listen to them. That’s why we believe in training people in the community so people don’t depend on us.”
The presence of the volunteers has reaped other social changes too. “When I arrived in 2002, most of my colleagues were surprised to see that I was brown and a woman. They thought women were supposed to sit and say nothing, but now the women express themselves more and their suggestions are considered,” says Rosemarie. 
17:18
1000 Journals
Andrea Kreuzhage
USA 
88:00
Boardroom


The 1000 Journals Project is an ongoing collaborative experiment attempting to follow 1000 journals throughout their travels. The goal is to provide a method for interaction and shared creativity among friends and strangers.
How it Works: Those who find the journals add something to them. A story, drawing, photograph, anything really. Then they pass the journal along, to a friend or stranger, and the adventure continues. Unfortunately, you've got a better chance of winning the lottery, then of getting a hold of a journal. That's the problem when there are only 1000 of them. Now, you're best bet is to check out 1001 Journals where you can sign up for a journal, or launch your own traveling, location, or personal journals. You can also check out the new book, which contains entries from journals around the world. It looks just like a journal, has these crazy stitched pages inside.


16:34
Penye Nia Pana Njia
Derek Thorne
Tanzania
18:17


Written and filmed by six young people at the FolkDevelopmentCollege in Iringa, which is a vocational training college.

Penye Nia Pana Njia translates as ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’. This drama follows the story of two young people, one boy and one girl, as they try to make money and get ahead in life. The boy finds he can’t get a good job without the necessary education certificate; but where can he find the money to get more education? Meanwhile, the girl works in a bar and wonders whether her terrible working conditions are worth putting up with.


16:52
My Life as a Carer
Jay Robinson
UK
29:00


My Life as a carer is a moving and uplifting film that features carers and young carers speaking about what their role means for them, the impact on their lives of caring for a relative with a long term illness or disability and the strength and support to be found from other people in the same position.

17:30
Turnabout: The Story of the Yale Puppeteers
Dan Bessie
USA
58:00


“This is a brilliantly, sweet film that offers a slice of history not easily accessible to most. Written and produced by the Yale Puppeteers' nephew, the viewer has a chance to witness, thanks to this film, the puppeteers passions, work and lives in the context of a time that just wasn't ready for them. A bit eccentric, certainly off beat and creative, the puppeteers and their story - as well as their place in history - is meticulously documented and tugs at the heartstrings. Politics, love, a despicable era in US history, theater, music, creativity and two unusual personalities shape this film in an wondrous way. I love it. It's one understated film that stays in your head for myriad reasons.” (Internet Movie Database)

Films about the Environment

Friday 10th Oct 2pm-8.30 pm @ The Avenue Cinema

14:00
Polis Is This
Henry Ferrini
US
56:48
14:57
Crafta Webb
Adrian Lambert
UK
40:00
15:37
Organic Farming
AWFT
Zimbabwe
10:16
15:48
Bike2OZ
Paul O’Connor
Ireland
34:00
16:17
Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea
Chris Metzler & Jeff Springer
USA
58:10
17:20
The Rising Wave
Yask Desai/Shweta Kishore
Australia
65:00
18:25
We are the City
Jam Vafai
USA
18:00
18:43
Garbage In
Pithon G. Muchoki
Kenya
13:26
18:56
The Source
Martin Maracek
CzechRepublic
75:00


Further Information:

14:00
Polis Is This
Henry Ferrini
US
56:48


Polis is This wrestles with the six foot eight inch 275lb colossus of poetry. Charles Olson, in the squared circle of understanding. Through never before seen footage and interviews actor John Malkovich leads an all-star unit in a search and explore mission.
Olson, the "big fire source" for a restless generation of poets known as The Beats stands more revealed than ever before. Through Ferrini's poetry-in-motion lens, viewers can now see Olson's landscapes through the fresh eyes of America's Archaeologist of Morning.
"Sublime...simply stunning" says Author Jim Harrison. "An invaluable contribution to our literature" notes Russell Banks.
Charles Olson the "original aboriginal" fights to save his town from so-called progress as the bullzoder of change rumbles down Main Street USA.
His challenge to us? We must either rediscover the earth or leave it. Have we all become estranged from that which is most familiar? See Polis Is This before the cultural wetlands are completely drained and maybe you can save the place where you live.


14:57
Crafta Webb
Adrian Lambert
UK
40:00


When 11-year old Anna finds herself dumped in the English countryside to start a new life, it’s one she’s sure she never asked for or ever really wanted. Alone and isolated, she wanders the empty lanes until a chance meeting creates an unlikely friendship that reveals the story of Crafta Webb. Three Herefordshire villages embarked in this ambitious community film project with the Rural Media Company to attempt to discover the story of Crafta Webb and its legacy. The result is a powerful new drama devised and performed by the local community that captures the spirit of this mythical village.

15:37
Organic Farming
AWFT
Zimbabwe
10:16


Africa Women Filmmakers Trust (AWFT) was launched in 1992 by a group of young Zimbabwean women who were moved by a desire for a more inclusive and democratic audio-visual landscape. See ‘Participatory Video’ screening on 11th September for more information.

15:48
Bike2OZ
Paul O’Connor
Ireland
34:00


Bike2Oz is the the epic adventure of a young school teacher and a train worker in Oxford. After teaching her pupils about global warming, Lowanna decided she couldn't risk damaging the climate by flying home to Australia. With her partner Kevin, the couple travel the 12,000km to Sydney using only sustainable transport- the train, bicycle and cargo ship.Pedalling through 16 countries over 485 days, the couple joined in Car Free day in Italy, escaped arrest in Iran, got groped in Pakistan and fell ill in India.
Their journey brought them through storm ravaged forests in
France, torrential downpours in the Mediterranean and severe drought in Iran.
The effects of Climate Change could be seen everywhere they went.

16:17
Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea
Chris Metzler & Jeff Springer
USA
58:10


“Fabulously offbeat and refreshingly upbeat, this lovable film gets friendly with the natives of the Salton Sea, an inland ocean of massive fish kills, rotting resorts, and 120 degree nights located just minutes from urban Southern California. This award-winning film from directors Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer details the rise and fall of the Salton Sea, from its heyday as the "California Riviera" where boaters and Beach Boys mingled in paradise to its present state as a decaying, forgotten ecological disaster. From wonderland to wasteland, PLAGUES & PLEASURES ON THE SALTON SEA captures a place far more interesting than the shopping malls and parking lots of suburban America, a wacky world where a beer-swilling Hungarian Revolutionary, a geriatric nudist, and a religious zealot building a monument to God all find solace and community. Crisply and hilariously narrated by oddball auteur John Waters, and featuring music by desert lounge rockers Friends of Dean Martinez, PLAGUES & PLEASURES ON THE SALTON SEA melds high camp with stark realism, offering both a sobering message about the consequences of tampering with nature and a heart-warming tale of individualism.”

17:20
The Rising Wave
Yask Desai/Shweta Kishore
Australia
65:00


In India water has a deep spiritual and functional significance. The Rising Wave explores water, both as a sacred element and as a common resource essential for survival and generating livlihoods. The film eloquently presents a culture built on water being shared, used and managed in ways unchanged for centuries. Richly filmed in three different states of India, The Rising Wave uncovers groups that have been dependant on their local natural water resource for generations as they fish and farm for livelihood. In the rapidly transforming economy of India, corporations now lay claim to control and determine access to this natural resource.  A contrasting picture emerges; a contrast between the two divergent views of water; water as a billion dollar industry against water as a sacred natural gift for all humankind. This spells conflict for the future. Renowned ecologist Vandana Shiva interprets the current situation.

18:25
We are the City
Jam Vafai
USA
18:00


We Are the City: Voices from the West Side was one of the four documentaries screened as part of Channels - Stories from the Niagara Frontier, a new community based documentary production program of SqueakyWheelMediaArtsCenter. The four documentaries demonstrated a unique and affirmatively strong perspective of the city to its residents like Kevin. "We are the city", the voices from West Side can be applied to the whole city of Buffalo facing confusions towards future development, as one of the community worker interviewed in the documentary said, "We want to make residents believe that they should do something for their own neighbourhood, instead of waiting for people to fix the problems, because it will take forever for other people to fix the problems, maybe never." Looking at the four groups of people already doing it, the message was clear to the audience. As Kevin said after the screening, "Now I feel the urge to really get involved into my neighbourhood activities."


18:43
Garbage In
Pithon G. Muchoki
Kenya
13:26


A documentary highlighting littering as a social menace that is threatening to harm the environment and also cause harm to the Embu. The documentary showcases those responsible for keeping the environment clean and how at it is in the end the Embu locals who will ensure a clean environment and good littering habits.


18:56
The Source
Martin Maracek
CzechRepublic
75:00


Documentary filmmaker Martin Marecek´s and activist Martin Skalský´s film opens with an animated sequence that illustrates in shorthand the road from the mining fields of Baku to the full fuel tank, to the real price of oil. Contemporary Azerbaijan is implicitly undemocratic, with a strong presidential system and clan mentality, exploited by Western corporations.
Looking at the broader context, the film explores the project of oil pipelines supported by the World Bank. The documentary is the first filmic output of the extensive social project Auto*Mat, which confronts various forms of human mobility.
While the power of the heir to the presidential throne Ilham Alyiev is satirized by the straightforward image of the matrushka dolls, each concealing another one (concealing, too, wilful arrests and torture of local opposition), one of the key motifs of the film is – aside from the portrayal of the irony of the symbols of power floating over the disconsolate social landscape, or tokens of civic resistance – to unmask the use of language, where the idioms of the Communist apparatchiks are used to convey the message of globalization.
The authoritarian use of language defending the benefits of global corporations anticipates the control of a certain territory by ownership without context, where there is no responsibility towards the borders of local culture, which is often also the border of local language. In an unknown and unspecified language of the new power, there thus merge the residue of communist totalitarianism and the imperial ambitions of expanding capital, non-concrete and non-committant, which aptly reminds us of the waning power of individual countries to decide their fate.
The oil stain thus mirrors a new, updated version of capitalism, a neo-liberal challenge that is the driving power of rapid social, political and economic changes. But what to do with those who don't want things that way? Entertain them to death, or throw them in jail.
Auteur documentary by Martin Marecek and Martin Skalský. Baku in Azerbaijan, the site of the world’s first oil well, is once again becoming a focus for foreign investors eager to exploit the country’s vast oil riches. “Source” traces the pipeline from our commuter highways back to this surreal and sinister landscape on which our way of life depends, where cows graze on polluted land and children play in toxic gunge. With three quarters of the population living under the poverty line, the country’s post-Soviet government is promising oil will turn Azerbaijan into a ‘real country’, a prosperous and flourishing ‘New Kuwait’.


 
People and Places

Sunday 12th October 2008, 1-5:15 pm @ The Avenue Cinema

13:00
“600”
James Z. Feng
Chinese- American
7:19
13:08
Unity day
Kenneth Yates
UK
13:50
13:22
One Day in Northampton
Rob Farmer
UK
30:00
13:52
Four Stories
Derek Thorne
Tanzania
19:04
14:22
Common Thread
Akira I Thompson
US
7:20
14:30
Photographing Shenzhen
Yu Tiangqi
China
25:00
14:55
Building the Future Together
AWFT
Zimbabwe
14:42
15:20
A Journey of Faith
Rebecca Ohene-Asah
Ghana
35:00
16:00
Before Nine
Hana Abdul
Canada
26:00
16:26
Freedom Ain’t Free
Chocolate Films / FLM
UK
9:24
16:36
Lil’ Red
NDCS/FLM
UK
5:21
17:00
Uswazi
Derek Thorne
Tanzania
14:05


Further Information

13:00
“600”
James Z. Feng
Chinese- American
7:19


Winner of 2 awards at Shanghai Short Film Festival: Best Actor + 2nd Best Film. James Z. Feng's movie about life in a new country after a few years. Questioning life decisions and soul searching. James Z. Feng is a new Asian-American filmmaker talent and this is his first film. This film is currently sent out to many festivals(17), many are Asian-American film festivals all across USA

13:08
Unity day
Kenneth Yates
UK
13:50


Unity Day is an annual event held on Hyde Park Leeds, planned, organised, and staged by the local community of the Leeds 6 Area. After a devastating riot in 1996 the community united with the aim of providing a focal point top showcase the skills and talent of local people. This film features interviews volunteers involved and footage of the whole fun day.

13:22
One Day in Northampton
Rob Farmer
UK
30:00


Celebrates the work of a group of ethically minded volunteers who organised the 2007 Umbrella Fair Festival in Abington park, Northampton. The purpose of the festival was to promote the issues of environmental awareness, economic sustainability and the local community in Northampton, and the festival featured music, poetry, storytelling, art and crafts from local people, all of whom gave their time for free in order to support the event. The film begins in the early hours of the morning of the festival, with the arrival of first people on site, and goes on to document the work of the volunteers throughout the day and into the evening as they strive to make the event a success.

13:52
Four Stories
Derek Thorne
Tanzania
19:04


Written and filmed by four young deaf people who work at Neema Crafts in Iringa. Neema Crafts is an organisation set up by the Anglican Church which provides employment for people who are deaf and people with disabilities.

The film features four young deaf people – Godfrey, Eliza, Modestus and Zawadi – telling their life stories in Swahili sign language. They talk about childhood, education, employment, and how they have worked to earn the respect of those around them.


14:22
Common Thread
Akira I Thompson
US
7:20


A young boy travels from his village to a large city market, where he discovers a world he didn’t know. Upon his return to attempts to share what he has discovered and create change, but will the older generation accept these new ideas?

14:30
Photographing Shenzhen
Yu Tiangqi
China
25:00


This documentary has been awarded the Grand Jury Prize and the Best Documentary at Screentest 2008-UK’s national student film festival. It has also been broadcast by Discovery Network Asia.
The film is a journey through time and space, chronicling her father, an established Chinese social photographer, Yu Haibo, as for more than two decades he has been capturing the social transformation of Shenzhen, the fast developing young city built up by migrants in three decades and among the first cities open to the world in modern China. It is also a personal journey of her own as she has herself migrated to Shenzhen with her family at the age of 9.


14:55
Building the Future Together
AWFT
Zimbabwe
14:42


Africa Women Filmmakers Trust (AWFT) was launched in 1992 by a group of young Zimbabwean women who were moved by a desire for a more inclusive and democratic audio-visual landscape. See ‘Participatory Video’ screening on 11th September for more information.


15:20
A Journey of Faith
Rebecca Ohene-Asah
Ghana
35:00


The true story of Janet Obobigu, born in a poor Navarongo community, upper-East Ghana. Unable to go to school due to the difficult economic conditions, Janet joins the dangerous head-potter business, where young girls carry loads throughout the day for a little fee. Quite often these girls are abused by clients or street boys. With hard work and determination she goes through basic education, establishes a business, employs and trains the youth in various aspects of textile designing. She is recognised internationally. The film was produced by a four – member crew in Ghana for the ILO.

16:00
Before Nine
Hana Abdul
Canada
26:00


Before Nine is a short fiction that explores issues of identity among Canadians who are subject to racism, alienation and gentrification. It is also a story about friendship and the ways in which sexual and ethnic differences can serve to bind people together in hostile environments - such can be the Canadian urban landscape. Award-winning filmmaker Hana Abdul is a Torontonian writer/director/producer. Her short films have screened in festivals across the country as well as in the US, UK, Spain and South Africa. Hana is currently working on her second television documentary.


16:26
Freedom Ain’t Free
Chocolate Films / FLM
UK
9:24


Influence by the work of artists Jennifer and Kevin McCoy a group of 16 to 18-year-olds created this powerful docu-drama focusing on individuals’ troubling stories as their worlds collide when ordering food in a chicken restaurant. From near-fatal stabbings and mistaken arrests to parents being deported the young people share their pretty harrowing tales with the camera.

16:50
Lil’ Red
NDCS/FLM
UK
5:21


Lil’ Red is a group of eight 13-18 yr old contemporary version of the classic fairytale Little Red Riding hood. Punctuated with imagery and words from the original story Lil’ Red brings together a world of internet chat rooms and teenage relationships to create a modern day morality tale with a dark twist of an ending.

16:56
Uswazi
Derek Thorne
Tanzania
14:05



Written and filmed by six young people from the Makolongoni ward of Iringa.

This is a visual dictionary of Tanzanian slang, in which five young people select five popular slang words and explain their meanings by using drama and interviews. There’s a word for gossip, words for boys and girls who like to party, and even a word for someone who likes to ‘get full by using cunning’.


Programme for the Opening Night – 11 September 2008

18:00
Crack
Reem Al Ghazzi
Syria
4:13
18:05
Under The Same Roof
Nawafeth Youth Forum/zaLa
Palestine & Italy
19:17
18:25
The Wiener Library
The Media Trust
UK
4:00
18:29
Participatory Video

AWFT
Zimbabwe
6:16
18:35
The Forgiveness Project
The Media Trust
UK
4:00
18:41
Children Need Playgrounds
Samvad/ Community Video Unit
Gujarat
India
6:00
18:47
Harmony
Sakshi Media/ Community Video Unit, Gujarat
India
6:00



 
Further Information

18:00
Crack
Reem Al Ghazzi
Syria
4:13


A man separated from his life by a closed shop door, and his son, by a prison door.
In a City
Where there could be millions of doors …
Millions of stories … and possibilities …
The closure of one small laundry shop says it all.
Where  a man closes the door that earns him money …
When a Self stands behind a door …
On the borderline of need and desire:
          “secrets and losses become familiar friends”
When the eyes tell it all and the music fills the soul,
Then it’s a crack …
                   In the soul
                   In the door,
                   In the self,
                   & in the City.

18:05
Under The Same Roof
Nawafeth Youth Forum/zaLa
Palestine and Italy
19:17


“Mohamed and Taghreed live in Biddu, a village which is soon going to be enclosed by a wall. Mohamed spends his days on the streets and playing pool. He left school, and no longer believes in a possible future since a roof is the only missing element to definitively close his people in a cage. Taghreed stays at home: she can’t continue her studies because she doesn’t have a permit to cross the wall. Conflict emerges both in their daily life and in their stories. The film was produced thanks to a co-operative effort focussed on opening windows through the wall. It is the first story that comes out of the window. The film won the Pieve Corto Concorso Festival  and was selected for Sole Luna Festival (Italy) and Inventario (Spain).”
“The author of these films is an independent, youth-led, grassroots youth centre. His name is Nawafeth, which in Arabic means openings. And to open windows in the Wall is the main goal for the centre. It runs English, music, photography and painting courses; it also runs afternoon lectures for students preparing exams for secondary school, and it animates a project on human rights.”

 

18:25
The Wiener Library
The Media Trust
UK
4:00


 “If we don’t save our history it will perish”
“The Wiener Library is one of the world’s leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust and Nazi era. Formed in 1933, the Library’s unique collection of over one million items includes published and unpublished works, press cuttings, photographs and eyewitness testimony.

18:29
Participatory Video

AWFT
Zimbabwe
6:16

Africa Women Filmmakers Trust (AWFT) was launched in 1992 by a group of young Zimbabwean women who were moved by a desire for a more inclusive and democratic audio-visual landscape. The founder members, among them, Tendai Munawa, Rebecca Kapenzi and Chido Matewa had no experience of using participatory video. There was also no institution in the country or region to their knowledge using it, hence no point of reference. The founder members were exposed to propaganda mobile films by the then Ministry of Information during the colonial era. They had therefore witnessed how the tool had been effective in maintaining the status quo (Cruz, 1999). Africa Women Filmmakers Trust founders, based on their experiences, looked at ways the same media could be used for the empowerment of the marginalised rural communities. Inspired and encouraged by the late Reverend Stephen Matewa who was also an educationist and development activist, Africa Women Filmmakers Trust was launched. The project therefore believed in an ecumenism, which sought to combine the spiritual and material to develop a whole person in the target groups. Such a philosophy it was believed, would contribute immensely to the emphasis of development as an enterprise in favour of the poor. This firmly anchored on its concerns in the political, social and economic circumstances under which AWFT found itself (AWFT Project Document, Undated:3). The founder members observed that Media Women were greatly marginalised and lacked the means to produce programmes highlighting issues of concern to women. The 'Trust' therefore hoped to establish a production house which media women could access at nominal fees. Establishment of a production house would also give women an opportunity to control and manage a media institution whose major aim was the production of programmes highlighting issues of interest and concern to women. The participatory approach was to be adopted in the production of these programmes. However, neither the participatory process nor the extent to which the targeted communities were to have a say in the project was defined in the project document.

18:35
Forgiveness Project
The Media Trust
UK
4:00

The Forgiveness Project is a charitable organisation which explores forgiveness, reconciliation and conflict resolution through real-life human experience.
We use stories, and in particular our powerful exhibition The F Word, to open up a dialogue and promote understanding. Many of those whose voices are celebrated on this website, also share their stories in person. We work in prisons, schools, faith communities, and with any group who want to explore the nature of forgiveness whether in the wider political context or within their own lives. Aims:
  1. Awareness – raise the debate by collecting and sharing personal stories (and images)
  2. Education – encourage and empower people to explore the nature of forgiveness and alternatives to conflict and revenge
  3. Inspiration – engage civil society, as well as transform hearts and minds
If you would like to hire The F Word Exhibition or book speakers, info@theforgivenessproject.com

18:41
Children Need Playgrounds
Samvad/
CVU Gujarat
India
6:00


“We will show our lanes, our slums and our issues. We will not show our problems, we will show our struggles and our victories … You will get information about our slums. It will have your words, your voices, which we will present through Hamari Awaaz (Our Voice).”  This is the message of the Community Video Unit Hamari Awaaz, which is one of a number of Community Video Units in India set up by different local NGOs in partnership with two media organizations, Drishti (www.drishtimedia.org) and Video Volunteers (www.videovolunteers.org.)
“Every eight weeks each Community Video Unit makes a new video, on a topic decided by the community, and then they screen it on wide screen projectors. Between 150-400 people come each night to the screenings. This approach bridges the literacy barrier, and communicates to people in the visual medium they like best. Finally it promotes community-led change, through focussed discussions and follow-ups with audiences around a Call to Action in community screenings that often reach the majority of villages and slums.”
“Through the establishment of Community Video Units in which the disenfranchised produce and distribute their own locally relevant video programs, we empower local communities to lead, connect and change, and then voice their issues to a global audience. With a five-year goal of training more than 200 Community Video Producers on four continents, Drishti and Video Volunteersaim to transform the global media landscape by enabling those who are currently excluded to be seen and heard around the world.”

“Samvad did a month long video workshop with slum children to build loyalty with their fellow slum residents, who paid a small fee for their children to participate. The children made a film demanding playgrounds in their areas, because playing in the streets [they] get harassed by adults or hurt in road accidents. The children took the video to the Collector who agreed to act on their request, which became a great lesson in civic engagement for the children and their families. The video is now being screened on schools throughout the city and the kids who participated describe it as one of the best.”

18:47
Harmony
Sakshi Media/
CVU Gujarat
India
6:00


Sakshi media is a Community Video Unit set up by the NGO Yuvshakti in partnership with Drishti and Video Volunteers. Sakshi Media means ‘Witness’ Media. The Producers in this CVU were all witnesses to terrible violence in their district of Gujarat in 2002, when communal riots led to the deaths of more than 2000 Muslims in their state. They are supported by the NGO Yuvshakti, who believe that this half-Hindu and half-Muslim team can build unity amongst Hindus and Muslims, by uniting them around their common development challenges.”

 

European Dialogues
12-3.30 pm Saturday 20 th September

12:00
Statement 710399
Refik Hodzic
Bosnia
54:00
12:54
Doboj / Fingerprints – 15 years later
Aldin Arnautovic
Bosnia
27:37
13:21
The Migrators
Ana-Maria Caia
Romania
55:00
14:21
The InvisibleCity
Lucia Asue Mbomio
Spain
52:00
15:10
The Nogay and Crimean Tatars: An Oral History
Funda Ozyurt Torun
Turkey
Audience Choice
15:10
A history of 4000 years: the Laz
Funda Ozyurt Torun
Turkey
Audience Choice




12:00
Statement 710399
Refik Hodzic
Bosnia
54:00


The Story of a father trying to find out what happened to his son who slipped out of his hand and disappeared during Srebrenica genocide is in fact a story of Bosnia and Herzegovina, country permanently scarred by war crimes and their legacy.

12:54
Doboj / Fingerprints – 15 years later
Aldin Arnautovic
Bosnia
27:37


One of a series of 24 documentary TV programmes which will address the efforts of local communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to overcome the legacy of war crimes committed during the nineties. The episode tells the story about Doboj and how its citizens are dealing with the legacy of war crimes. It shows a portrait of people who belong to the victim population in the community and their efforts to re-establish their lives in the community, and on the other hand a portrait of individuals forming the ethnic group whose members perpetrated the war crimes and their views of the past events and how they shape the life of the community today.


107
The Migrators
Ana-Maria Caia
Romania
55:00


“Tells the stories of four million Romanians who left their country to search for a better life. It is a succession of migrant portraits, representative of a general situation. The final conclusion is in fact one big fear … that all this impressive number of Romanians living in other countries of the EU will remain suspended in time, between countries, between identities.”

42
The InvisibleCity
Lucia Asue Mbomio
Spain
52:00


It is the largest illegal settlement in Europe. Abdul’s house has just been demolished like many others. It was built on an ancient cattle breeding path. La Canada Real is home to 40,000 people from 4 different communities: Spaniards; Muslims; Spanish Gypsies and Romanians live there either in shacks or more luxurious dwellings. There are also drug pushers, drug addicts, volunteers … and 10,000 children. But there are no schools, no hospitals and there definitely aren’t any cattle. These communities have been occupying the land for 40 years but now according to some, it’s time to go … but where?

8
The Nogay and Crimean Tatars: An Oral History
Funda Ozyurt Torun
Turkey
X



A documentary about the migration of the Nogay and Crimean Tatars to the “White Territory” of the Ottoman Empire … the film presents a series of migration stories, lands left behind and new horizons; the old and continuing traditions of these people; their language, sociology and architecture, birth, wedding and funeral traditions, children’s games, culture and poetry, grammar, alphabet and history, their past migrations, food culture, fabrics, ethnography, folk dances and farming traditions

11
A history of 4000 years: the Laz
Funda Ozyurt Torun
Turkey
X


“The Greeks, Urartians and Assyrians referred to them as Colchis. The Laz protected the borders of the Byzantine Empire; they trained warriors for the Trabzon Empire. Empress Anna Anachoutlu’s accession to the throne was preceded by a Laz invasion. They brought about great turning points in history. Now, for the first time ever, they are retrieved from the annals of history to become the subject of a documentary.”