Community Supported Film

In Indonesia I was commissioned by the Ministry of Education to provide three, 4-day trainings for people with some background in filmmaking. Yes, four days is a ridiculously short time - especially with the expectation of creating completed pieces by the end of each training. My first response was "No, it's not possible". But then I negotiated for more equipment for the students and decided to go for it. In each city I had 50 students, and in two cities the students varied dramatically from high school students to college professors, from hands-on filmmakers to critics. In Denpensar, Bali, it was more of a uniform audience of makers.

What fun it all was! But also incredibly intense. The trainings were called "Back to Basics - Lived Reality Documentary Filmmaking." In a culture of top-down, highly directed and often overly narrated storytelling, my mission was to strip down the production work and encourage character-centric, experiential storytelling.

I'd like to show you two clips that demonstrate how the students' work transformed over just four days.

On the first day, the students were asked to shoot one complete scene. You can see the approach they came to the training with here:

On the last day the students were asked to produce a short video profile on a subject from the community. Here is an example of what was produced only three days later. It's a good example of what the training emphasizes: visual, character-driven, scene-based and experiential filmmaking. The viewer is engaged in the challenges that horse and buggy taxis are facing.


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