Previous Events

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London, England-The Messenger is the Message

THE FOUNDRY A Place for Change

The Messenger is the Message

Michael Sheridan will speak at The Foundry, London (July 7, 12:00-1:00)  about his work to put Afghans and Haitians in charge of the storytelling about their community’s economic and social development issues.

Michael went to Afghanistan in 2009 to make a documentary on effective development from the perspective of Afghan villagers. He trained Afghan women and men in lived-reality documentary filmmaking and they produced ten short films that provide a unique view of Afghans’ daily efforts to address their challenging social and economic conditions. Community Supported Film completed a similar project with Haitians at the end of 2014. The films allow Haitians to report on their country’s social and economic development 5 years after the devastating earthquake.

Michael is a filmmaker and educator whose documentary films address issues of social and economic development and the tipping point between order and chaos.

Tuesday, July 7, 12:00-1:00
The Foundry, 17 Oval Way, London SE11 5RR

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Brighton, England-The Messenger is the Message

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The Messenger is the Message

Michael Sheridan will speak at the Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, England, (July 2, 13:00-14:30) about his work to put Afghans and Haitians in charge of the storytelling about their community’s economic and social development issues.

Michael went to Afghanistan in 2009 to make a documentary on effective development from the perspective of Afghan villagers. He trained Afghan women and men in lived-reality documentary filmmaking and they produced ten short films that provide a unique view of Afghans’ daily efforts to address their challenging social and economic conditions. Community Supported Film completed a similar project with Haitians at the end of 2014. The films allow Haitians to report on their country’s social and economic development 5 years after the devastating earthquake.

Michael is a filmmaker and educator whose documentary films address issues of social and economic development and the tipping point between order and chaos.

Thursday, July 2, 13.00-14.30
Institute of Development Studies
Room 221, University of Sussex, Brighton

Tuesday, July 7, 12:00-13:00
The Foundry, 17 Oval Way, London SE11 5RR

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Owning Our Future- Haitian Perspective films accepted into Jamaican film festival

Owning Our Future films ‘Ghetto Green, Ghetto Clean,’ ‘Threading the Needle’ & ‘Brave The World’ accepted into this year’s GATFFEST Film Festival, June 25-28, Kingston and Montego Bay, Jamaica.  

GATFFEST 2015

On Friday, the Centre for Tourism and Policy Research of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, launched the Greater August Town Film Festival (GATFFEST) 2015 at its Western Jamaica Campus (WJC) in Montego Bay, St James. The film festival is to be held from June 25-28 jointly in Montego Bay and Kingston.

Dubbed “the biggest community film festival in the Caribbean” GATFFEST, which was initiated in 2012 in August Town, St Andrew, serves as a platform to showcase films produced by underserved communities participating in the UWI’s Community Film Project.

Activities during the four-day event include film workshops and screening of local, regional and international short films, along with an awards ceremony. June 26 is slated as Film Day in Montego Bay.

Diverse Cultures

Ian Boxill, professor of management studies and director, Centre for Tourism and Policy Research, indicated that 72 film submissions have been received so far from inside and outside Jamaica. The entries reflect not only the diverse cultures of and entertainment fare from those countries, but their way of life.

“We have a wide cross sections of films from drama to animation, comedy, sci-fi, documentaries … . It is really diverse. Films have been submitted from all continents except Africa , so we have a good variety,” said Professor Boxill.

He expressed optimism that just over 20 students from western Jamaica will be trained in filmmaking at the WJC in the upcoming school year.

Kadeem Wilson, GATFFEST brand ambassador and who plays a central role in the feature film Ghett-a-Life , said while persons such as Usain Bolt and Tessanne Chin have helped the world to be in tune with Brand Jamaica, the principals in the filmmaking industry keep “missing the boat”.

“There are so many projects, film projects, that we have missed the boat so many times in getting it to be shot on Jamaican soil. For example Home Again, which is an entirely Jamaican script and entirely Jamaican, but it was not shot here. It was shot in Trinidad and Tobago. So you understand the concern, the concern is that so many times you have a major project that is authentically Jamaican, it is not being shot here, ” said Wilson.

He said local film industry stakeholders need to bring in experts from overseas to give them insight on how to develop the Hollywood look, improving the cinematography and audio. Wilson said that GATFFEST is a move in the right direction.

“I am very proud of GATTFEST and very happy to be a part of this initiative. It has really shown us that we need to come together and hold our industry in our hand and walk with it and get everyone engaged and involved,” said Wilson.

Acting director of UWI, WJC, Patrick Prendergast, said the community film project has provided the campus with another opportunity to develop the region’s intellectual capacity and empower the youth.

“We are always very delighted to be part of these events. Certainly it helps us to move closer and deeper into these communities,” he said.

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Haitian Film Screening & Discussion, June 19, Cambridge, MA

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 7pm, Free
Mobius, 55 Norfolk Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

CSFilm founder and director Michael Sheridan will present a screening of Owning Our Future – Haitian Perspectives in Film and will discuss how stories told by Haitians themselves can augment our understanding of Haiti’s post-earthquake relief efforts and provide a chance for us to experience Haiti as it is lived by Haitian street vendors, business women, artists, and farmers.

In 2014, Community Supported Film(CSFilm) conducted an intensive 5-week training of 10 Haitian women and men in documentary production. A collection of ten remarkable short films, Owning Our Future – Haitian Perspectives in Film (csfilm.org/films/haitian-perspectives-in-film), was produced during the training.

Going beyond disaster reporting, these films will ensure the experiences and points of view of Haitians are included in the international conversation about what has and has not happened since the 2010 7.0 earthquake – one of the world’s worst disasters. The films will also be used to increase dialogue and influence public policy internationally and in Haiti regarding effective foreign aid and sustainable development.

In a climate where mainstream American media typically reports international news from an American perspective with a focus on disaster and crisis, Community Supported Film (CSFilm) believes that local stories help us to better understand foreign events, diverse cultures and people’s complex realities.

Inspired by the model of Community Supported Agriculture, Community Supported Film applies the principle of investing in people on the ground by supporting the creation of locally-produced films. The resulting products help nourish a deeper understanding of the world that isn’t available in the mainstream media marketplace.

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120 at JP Forum Premiere of Owning our Future: Haitian Perspectives in Film

The JP Forum premiere of Owning our Future: Haitian Perspectives in Film was a great success with a packed house of 120 in attendance.

It was particularly exciting to have with us from Haiti, trainee, filmmaker and journalist, Robenson Sanon. Robenson really appreciated the audience’s interest in Haiti and thoughtful questions. This video contains an excerpt from his statement:

I was delighted that the relevance of the training was so clearly articulated by Robeson and in trainee Steeve Colin’s thank you note that I read at the end of the presentation. As Steeve writes:

[The training] gives people like me the chance to change the narrative about my community … And that is a power that I don’t take for granted … So thank you for the knowledge, thank you for the training, and thank you for trusting me with my community’s story.

Many thanks to JP Forum for hosting the event and to Tracy Bindel and Hero Ashman, from the Institute of Policy Research, for coordinating the evening. Hero wrote this insightful blog on the films and presentation:

JP Forum

 jamaicaplainforum.org

Jamaica Plain Forum Haitian Perspectives in Film

By Hero Ashman

The US premier of Haitian Perspectives In Film took place at this week’s Jamaica Plain Forum. Six short documentaries made by six newly trained Haitian filmmakers were screened to an audience of more than 100 people. The screening was led by a local organization called Community Supported Film, which had run a five week intensive training course in Haiti in 2014 for Haitian storytellers. The aim of the project was to counteract the singular narrative of Haiti as a country permanently damaged by the 2010 earthquake, and to lift up local voices as they share their important stories. What struck me most about the movies was the capacity and creativity evident in the Haitians’ work – both those making the documentaries and those starring in them.

The dominant portrayal of people within disaster or war torn nations, especially those recovering from wars and natural disasters, is that they are in constant need of outside help. While it is important for an international community to offer help and assistance to countries in need, by purporting a narrative of foreigners coming in to help ‘re-build’, ‘re-construct’ and ‘re-develop’ we ignore the work that is already being done by Haitians, in Haiti, for other Haitians.

Steve Colin talk

One documentary, created by Bichara Villason, filmed a group of construction workers re-building houses for people whose homes had been damaged by the quake. The project manager explained the communal process of identifying who to build for, constructing permanent (rather than temporary) houses and taking the steps to ensure people’s homes were protected by law. The title of this piece was “Owned or Occupied.” The ownership the community had over their work was contrasted with the work done by occupying NGOs: arriving from abroad, building temporary shelter and leaving. This type of work is not covered by mainstream media outside of Haiti because it doesn’t fit with the narrative of helplessness that accompanies many post-earthquake news reports.

For me, the documentaries clearly captured the connection between work and identity. This was demonstrated in the documentary “Threading the Needle”, which told the story of a woman who had started a curtain making business in order to provide for her family. Her work not only brought her a livelihood, but also the ability to reach out to other women in her community by teaching them sewing and business skills. The documentary successfully conveyed the feeling spoken by the woman, that hard work was needed and willingly given to get the country back on its feet. The importance of work was established for individual, community and national identity.

The documentaries were successful in expanding many stories we have of the world: the story of disaster relief, the story of community resilience, the story of who gets to tell the story.  They illustrated brilliantly that there is a huge diversity of work that people do. A community organizer, who was interviewed in the documentary “Ghetto Clean, Ghetto Green,” related the work him and his community were doing to improve life for children in his neighborhood with the Haitian system of Kombit. Kombit refers to a system of collective work undertaken to achieve a common goal; it is based on sharing rather than selling. It is clear that the work done by the Haitian filmmakers and the Haitians in the documentaries was not done merely to earn a living. The work they did utilized their energy, created change and brought them a livelihood based on more than having shelter and food, but included shaping and upholding a community identity.

I think it would benefit us all to remember that work within the home, volunteer work in communities, work with purposes other than profit, is not only crucial to our economy but it is constructive of the creative, generous and productive people we are. The documentaries really brought this point home to me.

You can pre-order the DVD of Haitian Perspectives In Film at CSFilm’s website and explore the site for more information on the films.

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