Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Young Cambodians share stories of their lives and show talent through film

Aged 12–17, TheOneMinutesJr workshop participants learned to make films.
© UNICEF Cambodia/2012/Karen Cirillo
 Eighteen young Cambodians recently shared personal stories about their lives and opinions in films that they directed and edited themselves. Their first-ever productions were made during a five day OneMinutesJr. workshop held in Peam Ro district, Prey Veng province over the Water Festival holiday and hosted by UNICEF and Save the Children in  Cambodia.

Nine girls and nine boys aged between 12 and 17 took part in the event which is part of an international arts-based initiative called ‘the OneMinutesJr.’ started in 2002 by UNICEF, the One Minutes Foundation and The European Cultural Foundation to give young people, especially those who are underprivileged or marginalised, the opportunity to have their voices heard and to share their ideas and viewpoints on the world.

Learning to tell a story in 60 seconds

The children, drawn from Child Rights clubs in the district, worked with two professional video artists from the Netherlands, Ineke Bakker and Taatske Pietersen, to learn basic camera and directing skills, story-telling, teamwork and how to think creatively about issues. Using video cameras and editing equipment supplied by the OneMinutesJr. team, the children each developed a story based on the theme of ‘Child Rights in my World’.

16 year old Bun Chanthoeun, who made a film called ‘Follow Me,’ said he really enjoyed the workshop. “By taking pictures, I can use this for my career. I’m happy I learned something and made new friends. I would like to be a film director. I lead a children’s club so my story is about child rights,” he said.
Eang Sotharoth (centre) manages the camera for the oneminutesjr productions.
© UNICEF Cambodia/2012/Karen Cirillo
Eang Sotharoth (aged 15) said, “I liked the whole week, now I can film. At first it was difficult but day by day it got easy. My film is about [the influence of] drink – alcohol. It’s a true story.” 13 year old Sok Pros produced an abstract film on the theme of ‘Hope’. “I liked to use the camera because now I can film. It was fun. I learned a new experience. It’s not so hard because the teacher showed us,” said Pros.

Inspirational public screening

A public screening of all the films at the end of the workshop was the highlight of the week. Attending the event, UNICEF Representative to Cambodia, Rana Flowers described the young filmmakers as ‘inspiring.’ “The children who took part in the workshop produced excellent films that were truly inspiring, not only because they were well made and well-acted but because the children expressed their views on child rights issues. The very personal, and at times painful, impact of the situations they addressed were so much more powerful using their new found skills in film making. The skills and the confidence they have gained will be invaluable and stand them in good stead the future,” said Ms. Flowers.

UNICEF Global Coordinator for the OneMinutesJr., Karen Cirillo, who has worked with the initiative in over eighteen countries said, “At the start of the workshop, [the children] didn’t know each other, they didn’t know us and they didn’t know what to expect but then they opened up and became friends and worked together. A lot of them were interested in issues around education, of being able to go to school and having to work to achieve certain goals and at least half the films were about their personal situation or those of friends or people in the community that they wanted to express. The process of having adults listening to you and asking, ‘what story do you want to tell?’ makes them open up.”

Reflecting on the success of the workshop, Country Director of Save the Children in Cambodia, Andrew Moore said, “These short films have been a great exercise in empowering children voices to put together inspirational child lead films about day to day problems. It was great to see such excellent cooperation between Save the Children and UNICEF in making this happen.”

All films made by the children will be entered into the global OneMinutesJr. competition and winners will be announced at the end of 2013.

The films can be viewed here:
1. 1+1=2
2. Clean Future
3. Dream Come True
4. Feeling Safe
5. Follow Me
6. Gold For Life
7. Hand And Hand
8. Happy Together
9. Hope
10. Housework
11. I Know The Difference
12. Just Like Me
13. Liquid Changes
14. Little Brother
15. Poor Grandma
16. Protection
17. This Is Really My Life
18. Unlucky Life

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