Films

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

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.


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 below or email us at info@csfilm.org.  Many thanks!



DVDs available soon. Pre-order NOW!
Order a DVD online below or send a check to Community Supported Film, 31 Lenox Street, Boston, MA 02118. Please write “HPF-DVD” in the memo of your check. DVDs cost $25 for private use and home screenings, and $250 for institutional use and public screenings.*

“Haitian Perspectives in Film” – DVD options

Include a CSFilm Presenter in your Screening
We’ve heard back from audiences that film screenings have more meaning and impact when Michael Sheridan, CSFilm’s director, or one or more of the trainees is present before and after the films. Their contribution provides lots of additional details about the issues and the filmmaking process.  If you’d like a presenter, CSFilm asks that the venue try to cover travel expenses.

* Regarding price options: 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 that do have a budget for film screenings and presentations, we ask for a $300 – $500 donation toward the work – though it is always up to the venue to determine what they can afford.  One way to raise some or all of these costs is to ask your library to purchase the DVD for $250. Please be in touch with us however if this is beyond your means.

Write and Post about CSFilm’s work and Haitian Perspectives in Film series. CSFilm seeks writers, bloggers, tweeters, organizations, and individuals to link to these films on web sites, blogs, or facebook pages.

Please email or call us with any questions or ideas at info[at]csfilm[dot]org, 617-834-7206.



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 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. The Fruit of Our Labor 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.

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


DVDs available NOW!

Order a DVD online below or send a check to Community Supported Film, 31 Lenox Street, Boston, MA 02118. Please write “TFOL-DVD” in the memo of your check. DVDs cost $25 for private use and home screenings, and $250 for institutional use and public screenings.*

“The Fruit of Our Labor” – DVD options

* Regarding price options: 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 that do have a budget for film screenings and presentations, we ask for a $300 – $500 donation toward the work – though it is always up to the venue to determine what they can afford.  One way to raise some or all of these costs is to ask your library to purchase the DVD for $250. Please be in touch with us however if this is beyond your means.


Organize a Screening and Spread the Word

We are asking schools, organizations, academics, activists, organizers, and individuals to host screenings and discussions about Afghanistan, war, peace, effective aid, gender issues and cross-cultural understanding.

Include a Presenter from CSFilm

We’ve heard back from audiences that film screenings have more meaning and impact when Michael Sheridan, CSFilm’s director, has been present before and after the films to contextualize the trainings and filmmaking process – providing the interesting details behind it all.  In cases where Michael’s attendance is requested, we ask that the venue also try to cover travel expenses.

Write and Post about CSFilm’s work and The Fruit of Our Labor films
CSFilm seeks writers, bloggers, tweeters, organizations, and individuals to link to these films on web sites, blogs, or facebook pages.  Contact us at info[at]csfilm[dot]org for more information if you’d like to do a story about the films or trainings.

Please email or call us with any questions at info[at]csfilm[dot]org, 617-834-7206.



Brewing Tea in a Kettle of War

Brewing Tea in a Kettle of War

Brewing Tea in a Kettle of War (BTKW), is a short made by CSFilm Director, Michael Sheridan. It looks from Afghan villagers’ perspectives at the impact of outsiders coming into their communities trying to help them. Specifically, audiences experience what it is like when foreign soldiers, contractors and the Afghan government arrive with aid. Through these stories the benefits of bottom up versus the costs of top down development approaches and the impact of local versus foreign ownership are revealed. These parallel stories allow the international community a unique insight into the sustainability of these different approaches as we consider intervention in other countries around the world.
View film excerpt