Building Local Capacity – Amplifying Local Voices through Documentary Filmmaking

The films below were made during 5 week intensive trainings in documentary filmmaking provided by CSFilm.  Storyteller’s in poor and developing communities, with backgrounds in a diversity of storytelling mediums, including print, radio, photo or TV journalism, theater, poetry etc., produce engaging stories about important social and economic development issues in their communities.  Their stories nourish an understanding of the world that counteracts the relentless focus of western media on battlefronts, crises and disasters. For many of the trainees, this is their first experience with filmmaking.

Haitian Perspectives in Film

January 12th, 2010, Haiti was shattered by one of the world’s worst disasters. A 7.0 earthquake killed upwards of 300,000 people, disrupted Haiti’s already fragile infrastructure, and left hundreds of thousands without families, friends and homes.

In 2015 CSFilm is releasing 10 new films in our series Haitian Perspectives in Film. During an intensive training provided by Community Supported Film, Haitian civil society leaders, journalists and artists, used their local knowledge to produce 10 short films that provide a unique opportunity to experience Haiti as it is lived by street vendors, business women, artists, farmers and more. We are releasing their stories a few at a time over the next months.

Here are excerpts from the first three:

Owned and Occupied by Bichara Villarson, 1:47; Haitians are building earthquake safe housing efficiently and cost effectively. One Haitian organization and community show us what is possible with a little money and a lot of community input, ownership and participation.

Rubble by Robenson Sanon, 2:02; Artists use the trash that fills roads and rivers after rain storms, and pickings from the earthquake rubble that still remains in huge sections of the city, to comment on the failed infrastructure and recovery efforts;

Konbit by Steeve Colin, 1:39; Urban activists bring the rural Haitian tradition of the Konbit, shared labor, to the country’s most dangerous ghetto. Neighborhoods and youth, divided by gangs and extreme neglect, create urban gardens and clean up the slum through a locally-led participatory approach.

These films help ensure that Haitian experience informs the international conversation about the urgency of locally owned and implemented economic and social development.

Please put these films to good use. Contact CSFilm or Groupe Medialteratif to organize a screening and discussion.

And please let our Haitian storytellers hear what you think about their films and their community’s story. You can leave a comment here or email us at  Many thanks!

The Fruit of Our Labor: Afghan Perspectives in Film

These films were made by Afghans during an intensive 5-week training in documentary production provided by Community Supported Film. After three weeks of rigorous exercises, each student developed and produced a character driven short documentary. For many of the trainees, this is their directorial debut as a documentary filmmaker.

L is for Light, D is for Darkness

Searching for a Path
Hands of Health
The Road Above
Bearing the Weight
Water Ways
Beyond Fatigue
Treasure Trove

The Fruit of Our Labor: Afghan Perspectives in Film

As the international community reflects on the impact of more than a decade of war in Afghanistan, CSFilm provides an opportunity to also reflect on the situation from an Afghan perspective through these 10 Afghan-made documentaries.  Each short offers a personal and first-hand Afghan point of view rarely seen or heard in the US, even after many years of intense media coverage.  These films bring to life Afghans’ daily efforts to address their challenging social and economic conditions – providing an insider perspective beyond the battlefront coverage that dominates western media.

Prevent Another Crisis

As an organization that trains Afghan documentary filmmakers, Community Supported Film (CSFilm) works for an Afghanistan that is not abandoned and left to survive another humanitarian crisis.  With these films we seek to raise the awareness of concerned citizens as we deliberate about our immediate and long-term role in Afghanistan.

DVDs available NOW!

To see the full versions of these remarkable films please order a copy of the DVD – $25 for private use and home screenings, $250 for institutional use and public screening* – by buying online or sending a check to Community Supported Film, 56 Parkton Road, Boston MA 02130.  Please write “TFOL DVD order” on your check.  Please email us with any questions at or call 617-834-7206.

* CSfilm’s primary mission is to get these films seen and discussed as widely as possible. We appreciate your understanding, however, that CSFilm’s trainings, production and distribution work is underfunded.  Therefore, when collaborating with organizations or educational institutions we request they purchase the DVD for their library and public screening for $250. Please be in touch with us however  if this is beyond your means.  CSFilm director Michael Sheridan is also available to present the films.

Organize a Screening and Spread the Word

We are asking schools, organizations, academics, activists, organizers, and individuals to host screenings and put these films to good use in discussions about Afghanistan, war, peace, effective aid, gender issues and cross-cultural understanding. Find out how.

CSFilm wants The Fruit of Our Labor films to be seen as widely as possible, and is seeking writers, bloggers, tweeters, organizations, and individuals to link to these films on your web site, blog, or facebook page.  Contact us at for more information if you’d like to do a story about the films or trainings.

Brewing Tea in a Kettle of War

Brewing Tea in a Kettle of War

A selection of the trainees are now filming Brewing Tea in a Kettle of War (BTKW).   BTKW is an experience of what it is like for Afghan villagers’ to have different outsiders — foreign soldiers, contractors and the Afghan government — coming into their communities supposedly trying to help them. 
View film excerpt