Issues & Analysis
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CSFilm Current Project: New Immigrant and Refugee Visions

Documentary Filmmaking Training, Production and Public Engagement

Download:     NIRV Intro,     NIRV – Call for Applicants: Details – Apply Now! 

Introduction: New Immigrant and Refugee Visions (NIRV) is a messaging project designed to inform US public opinion about the experience of new immigrants and refugees. NIRV will train new immigrants and refugees to produce a series of short non-fiction films that will amplify their stories and perspectives. In the current climate of anti-immigrant sentiment among some US communities, this initiative will produce narratives that focus on the integration challenges faced by immigrants and the contributions they make to our culture, economy and social fabric. Their narratives will be used by organizations nation-wide to stimulate conversations that advance systemic change.

Background:  CSFilm trains women and men in underrepresented communities to use documentary filmmaking to reveal their economic and social realities.  Their films are screened internationally to stimulate dialogue informed by local perspectives.

In 2010, Community Supported Film trained 10 Afghans in documentary filmmaking.  The resulting award-winning films were gathered in the collection The Fruit of Our Labor: Afghan Perspectives in Film.  As NPR’sHere and Now” host Robin Young reported: “[CSFilm] put cameras in the hands of Afghans and gave them training to make films about their lives. The result is an unprecedented intimate look at Afghan life with exchanges no outsider has been privy to before.” The Fruit of Our Labor films stimulated dialogue, rethinking and action from town halls to the halls of congress.

CSFilm conducted a similar bottom-up training and production process in Haiti that produced ten remarkable short films, Owning Our Future-Haitian Perspectives in Film. Going beyond disaster reporting, these films capture the experiences and points of view of Haitians – a rarity in the international conversation about what has and has not happened in the long and painful history of Haiti’s economic, social and political development.

New Immigrant and Refugee Issues: We are living in the midst of a global crisis for immigrants and refugees. Pew Research Center reports that “Nearly 1 in 100 people worldwide are now displaced from their homes, the highest share of the world’s population that has been forcibly displaced since the UNHCR began collecting data on displaced persons in 1951.”

With 60 million people displaced in 2015, and the causal conditions worsening, the 21st century is expected to be defined by how we respond to the flow of refugees and immigrants. Despite or because of this humanitarian crisis, the anti-immigrant backlash continues to grow in the U.S. and internationally and is now finding unprecedented support from the current administration. We need to counter xenophobia, racism, NIMBYism and wall building by creating understanding and appreciation for new immigrants and refugees through their voices and visions.

 

Transforming News and Views through Local Perspectives, TED-x talk by Michael Sheridan, Director, CSFilm

Goals: CSFilm’s vision is driven by the knowledge that democracy, social stability and equitable economic development depend on a well-informed citizenry. The predominance of information about the “other”, however, is still produced by outsiders in a top-down colonial news system guided by self-interest. CSFilm’s mission is to help citizens make responsible decisions about their community, country and world by strengthening their access to local perspectives.

Plan of Implementation:

  • Train local new immigrants and refugees in documentary filmmaking: CSFilm and immigrant and refugee support organizations will collaborate on the trainee outreach and selection.   CSFilm works with adults, who have life experience to bring to the storytelling and are positioned to use the learning in their ongoing work. The traditional selection criteria is as follows:
  1. Experience with storytelling from, for example, the theater, poetry, photo, video, radio or print journalism. They do not need previous experience with filmmaking;
  2. A track record of interest in and work on social, economic and cultural development issues;
  3. A plan for how they will use the skills learned to benefit their community and/or professional growth.
  • Produce a collection of lived-reality short films: Each trainee will produce a 5-10 minute film that visualizes their community’s current experience as immigrants or refugees. Their films will use character-driven, situational storytelling to reveal the often inhumane treatment, threats of deportation, stigmatization, obstacles to integration, and economic and social challenges they face as well as stories of the great contributions they bring to our communities and nation.

US Congressional Briefing and Screening of The Fruit of Our Labor. Representative James McGovern (D-MA) shares his gratitude for the opportunity to hear directly from Afghans and emphasizes that “those of us who want to see an end to war are not saying let’s abandon the people of Afghanistan.”

  • Screen, discuss, disseminate and act: A robust public engagement campaign will follow the training and production process and be defined and implemented in collaboration with local, regional and national immigrant and refugee organizations.  This collaborative approach will maximize the initiative’s capacity to influence public opinion and policy on immigrant and refugee issues. The process will also serve to build understanding between often diverse and divided immigrant communities.

Discussion guides for organizers, educators and institutional gatekeepers, including police, employers, and social service providers will be produced to help focus discussions in town halls, classrooms, conferences, government meetings, etc. In addition, the films will be broadcast on the national network of cable access stations and made available to other broadcast and social media networks and the press.

Timeline, 2017:

March-June: Outreach and selection of new immigrant and refugee trainees and filmmakers;

July-October: Training and Production;

October-December: Production of educational materials for distribution with the mastered and duplicated films;

December: Launch of public distribution and engagement campaign.

Resources: Thanks to the generous support of many individual donors, CSFilm has raised over 2/3rds of the $65,000 budget required to implement the training, production and initial public engagement campaign. CSFilm is actively seeking additional funds to fully implement this project and will continue our efforts until the funding goal is reached.

Intended Impact:

  1. Capacity building: New immigrants and refugees trained to use non-fiction storytelling to communicate their community’s development challenges and accomplishments; trainees equipped with employable production skills;
  2. Documentary Stories: Production of 10 documentary films, totaling 60-90 minutes.  A revealing collection of

    Woods Hole Film Festival, post screening discussion with filmmaker Beth Murphy and journalists Charles Sennott and Sebastian Junger

    short stories made by women and men from a diversity of ethnic backgrounds and immigrant and refugee experiences.  Their intimate access to the people, situations, challenges and contributions of their communities will make this collection of films unique in its ability to stimulate dialogue and influence opinion about a variety of topics, such as, integration, cross-cultural conflict, resettlement, healthcare and employment.

  3. Public Engagement and Education: Hundreds of immigrant community residents and service providers and thousands of communities nationally are educated, engaged and activated by screenings and dialogues which are supported by educational toolkits;
  4. Distribution: Thousands will be reached via media coverage, online screenings, DVD distribution, and social media.

Conclusion: This initiative will harness the knowledge and outreach capacity of organizations with expertise in documentary filmmaking, communications, the immigrant and refugee experience, national outreach and policy. The goals of NIRV are to advance narratives that counter misinformation and bias, promote an inclusive culture and economy, foster empathy for and ownership of the problems and solutions faced by immigrant and refugee communities and engage people in new thinking, behavior and actions that lead to sustained and systemic change.

Scene from Ghetto Green, Ghetto Clean by Steeve Colin; produced during CSFilm’s documentary filmmaking training, Haiti, 2014

 

 

 

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ON THE MEDIA: In West Bank, Witnesses To Conflict Are Using Video To Document What They See, NPR

This week, Israel will sentence a soldier convicted of killing a wounded Palestinian man last year in Hebron. A Palestinian shoemaker recorded a video of the shooting, which was shown at the trial.

Source: In West Bank, Witnesses To Conflict Are Using Video To Document What They See : Parallels : NPR

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HAITI: Poem – i want to talk about haiti.

Poetry Foundation

Poem of the Day:

quaking conversation

BY LENELLE MOÏSE
i want to talk about haiti.
how the earth had to break
the island’s spine to wake
the world up to her screaming.

 

how this post-earthquake crisis
is not natural
or supernatural.
i want to talk about disasters.

 

how men make them
with embargoes, exploitation,
stigma, sabotage, scalding
debt and cold shoulders.

 

talk centuries
of political corruption
so commonplace
it’s lukewarm, tap.

 

talk january 1, 1804
and how it shed life.
talk 1937
and how it bled death.

 

talk 1964.  1986.  1991.  2004.  2008.
how history is the word
that makes today
uneven, possible.

 

talk new orleans,
palestine, sri lanka,
the bronx and other points
or connection.

 

talk resilience and miracles.
how haitian elders sing in time
to their grumbling bellies
and stubborn hearts.

 

how after weeks under the rubble,
a baby is pulled out,
awake, dehydrated, adorable, telling
stories with old-soul eyes.

 

how many more are still
buried, breathing, praying and waiting?
intact despite the veil of fear and dust
coating their bruised faces?

 

i want to talk about our irreversible dead.
the artists, the activists, the spiritual leaders,
the family members, the friends, the merchants
the outcasts, the cons.

 

all of them, my newest ancestors,
all of them, hovering now,
watching our collective response,
keeping score, making bets.

 

i want to talk about money.
how one man’s recession might be
another man’s unachievable reality.
how unfair that is.

 

how i see a haitian woman’s face
every time i look down at a hot meal,
slip into my bed, take a sip of water,
show mercy to a mirror.

 

how if my parents had made different
decisions three decades ago,
it could have been my arm
sticking out of a mass grave

 

i want to talk about gratitude.
i want to talk about compassion.
i want to talk about respect.
how even the desperate deserve it.

 

how haitians sometimes greet each other
with the two words “honor”
and “respect.”
how we all should follow suit.

 

try every time you hear the word “victim,”
you think “honor.”
try every time you hear the tag “john doe,”
you shout “respect!”

 

because my people have names.
because my people have nerve.
because my people are
your people in disguise

 

i want to talk about haiti.
i always talk about haiti.
my mouth quaking with her love,
complexity, honor and respect.

 

come sit, come stand, come
cry with me. talk.
there’s much to say.
walk. much more to do.

 

Lenelle Moïse, “quaking conversation” from Haiti Glass. Copyright © 2014 by Lenelle Moïse.  Reprinted by permission of City Lights Books, www.citylights.com.

Source: Haiti Glass(City Lights Books, 2014)

LENELLE MOÏSE

Biography
More poems by this author

 

Source: Poetry Foundation – Poem of the Day Newsletter

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ON THE MEDIA: The View From Room 205

Can schools make the American Dream real for poor students?

ON THE MEDIA: A powerful radio documentary on the appalling state of US education in poor neighborhoods.  From Linda Lutton at WBEZ, Chicago public radio.

Source: The View From Room 205

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Screening of CSFilm’s Haitian-made films at Haitian Diaspora Challenge Initiative Symposium

Thankful for the opportunity  to screen films from “Owning Our Future-Haitian Perspectives in Film” today at the Haitian Diaspora Challenge Initiative Symposium.  The spirit of “Owning our Future” fit well with the general theme of the day that Haitians must own and implement the change they envision.  Paul G. Altidor, Ambassador to the US, spoke most directly to this issue.  The following are my notes from his remarks:

To change the cycle of poverty in Haiti we need to change the narrative that Haiti is nothing but a special need student.

The narrative of pity for Haiti is keeping Haiti down and pity is not a sustainable approach to development.  So often people tell me, “I’ve tried this Haiti thing so long, I’m done with it.”

I don’t want the Haitian Diaspora to end up with the same frustration because it takes a project-based approach rather than integrating their ideas into collaborative, movement-based initiatives.

It has proven to be counter productive to have all these individual initiatives.  A lot of smart, well thought out initiatives do not have a long-term view.

This project, that project, the other project, is not a strategic approach to long-term improvements inHaiti.  Projects need to situate themselves in movements, to make themselves a part of the ongoing dialogue.

Boston’s Mayor Walsh opened the day with a very positive, energetic set of remarks emphasising that no matter what happens in DC, Boston is and will remain an open, welcoming and safe place for all. Happy (especially after Trump’s inaugeration yesterday) to be engaged with this powerful day of reflection and recognition of sustainable, innovative development for Haiti, by Haitians. #LookListenLocal @csfilmorg @naahphaiti

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Haitian Diaspora Challenge Initiative Symposium and CSFilm Screening

Thankful for the opportunity  to screen films from “Owning Our Future-Haitian Perspectives in Film” today at the Haitian Diaspora Challenge Initiative Symposium.  The spirit of “Owning our Future” fit well with the general theme of the day that Haitians must own and implement the change they envision.  Paul G. Altidor, Ambassador to the US, spoke most directly to this issue.  The following are my notes from his remarks:

To change the cycle of poverty in Haiti we need to change the narrative that Haiti is nothing but a special need student.

The narrative of pity for Haiti is keeping Haiti down and pity is not a sustainable approach to development.  So often people tell me, “I’ve tried this Haiti thing so long, I’m done with it.”

I don’t want the Haitian Diaspora to end up with the same frustration because it takes a project-based approach rather than integrating their ideas into collaborative, movement-based initiatives.

It has proven to be counter productive to have all these individual initiatives.  A lot of smart, well thought out initiatives do not have a long-term view.

This project, that project, the other project, is not a strategic approach to long-term improvements inHaiti.  Projects need to situate themselves in movements, to make themselves a part of the ongoing dialogue.

Boston’s Mayor Walsh opened the day with a very positive, energetic set of remarks emphasising that no matter what happens in DC, Boston is and will remain an open, welcoming and safe place for all. Happy (especially after Trump’s inaugeration yesterday) to be engaged with this powerful day of reflection and recognition of sustainable, innovative development for Haiti, by Haitians. #LookListenLocal @csfilmorg @naahphaiti

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HAITI, ON DEVELOPMENT: How This Social Entrepreneur Is Moving Haiti Away From Aid Toward Trade

Haitian social entrepreneur and impact investor, Daniel Jean-Louis, is working on multiple fronts to reduce Haiti’s reliance on aid and increase employment in the country where 70 percent of adults lack a proper job.

Source: How This Social Entrepreneur Is Moving Haiti Away From Aid Toward Trade

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HAITI: The Case for Haitian Reparations | Jacobin

Haitians are asking the French government to return some of what was stolen.

For a brief moment recently, Haiti dominated the news cycle. As always, this American media attention only came in a moment of crisis.

According to the Washington Post, local Haitian officials reported that Hurricane Matthew, the region’s most dangerous Category 4 storm in nearly a decade, killed at least 900 people, destroyed livestock, and wreaked havoc on farmers’ crops. The storm flooded rivers, leveled bridges, and in some towns, 80 to 90 percent of homes were destroyed. In the hurricane-ravaged south, 500,000 people were stranded and 30,000 homes have been destroyed. UN officials reported some 800,000 people are facing food insecurity, including 315,000 children.

As unavoidable as a natural disaster seems, Hurricane Matthew was also a human-made catastrophe, the cumulative effect of five hundred years of environmental degradation before and after French colonialism. Haitians know — even if the rest of the world forgets — that every rainy season brings a potential humanitarian crisis.

And yet, the global response has been the same as usual: rather than examine how the complex intersections of history, politics, economics, and ecology conspire to make Haiti susceptible to natural disasters and epidemics, journalists, pundits, and NGO operatives instead shift blame onto Haitians themselves. They present Haitians as a people incapable of managing their nation. This view has guided the international response to Haiti since its independence two hundred years ago.  … Read On

Source: The Case for Haitian Reparations | Jacobin

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AFGHANISTAN: Thanks to this Afghan woman, 6,000 imams have taken gender-sensitivity training – CSMonitor.com

Jamila Afghani, who has battled discrimination since childhood, uses Islam to empower women in Afghanistan. She is committed to continuing the work despite threats and other obstacles.

Today, according to Afghani, about 20 percent of Kabul’s mosques have special prayer areas for women, whereas only 15 years ago there were none. The sermons delivered by imams about the importance of education have also helped many women persuade their families to let them study. In fact, some 6,000 imams in Afghanistan have participated in Afghani’s training program.

This is all because of a woman named Jamila Afghani and the gender-sensitivity training program she has created.

Source: Thanks to this Afghan woman, 6,000 imams have taken gender-sensitivity training – CSMonitor.com

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ON DEVELOPMENT: How successful were the Millennium Development Goals? | Brookings Institution

John McArthur and Krista Rasmussen examine if the Millennium Development Goals made any difference by comparing the trajectories of MDG indicators and targets.

Source: How successful were the Millennium Development Goals? | Brookings Institution

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ON THE MEDIA: Declaration of Dependence – The Local News Lab

Communities and news organizations working together will transform local journalism. Here’s how.

Source: Declaration of Dependence – The Local News Lab – Medium

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HAITI: Want to Help Haitians: Support Haitian Led Orgs… | Mark Schulle

1)      Support the initiatives led by Haitian people and groups

2)      If we contribute aid to a foreign agency, demand they post their decisions and relationships with local groups

3)      Solidarity, not charity

4)      Address the root causes, including neoliberal policies our governments enforced

5)      Demand that our aid has real participation by local groups, not just doing the work but setting priorities and identifying how the work is to get done

6)      Actually reinforce human capacity – making sure this time expertise is shared with a critical mass of Haitian actors, who can and should be the ones making decisions

7)      Link humanitarian aid to development (not the old, failed neoliberal model), and disaster preparedness

Source: Hurricane Matthew: An Update from the Haiti Support Group | Haiti Support Group

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HAITI: 7th anniversary of earthquake: An Inconvenient Truth | Haiti Support Group

…Haitians did not powerlessly watch Matthew wash through their land, waiting for foreign aid to appear. They have banded together – families, neighbours, cooperatives, work societies, community, solidarity and diaspora groups – to begin the clean-up, and get the affected regions back on their feet. Yet, once again, the media and the “international community” have chosen to present Haitians as passive, fatalistic, superstitious and cavalier (yes, all at once!).

Source: An Inconvenient Truth: Hurricane Matthew and Cholera in Haiti | Haiti Support Group

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ON THE MEDIA, HAITI: Interested in Haiti? Read this book: Why Haiti Needs New Narratives by Gina Athena Ulysse

A Haitian-American anthropologist makes sense of her homeland in the wake of the 2010 earthquake.

Mainstream news coverage of the catastrophic earthquake of January 12, 2010, reproduced longstanding narratives of Haiti and stereotypes of Haitians. Cognizant that this Haiti, as it exists in the public sphere, is a rhetorically and graphically incarcerated one, the feminist anthropologist and performance artist Gina Athena Ulysse embarked on a writing spree that lasted over two years. As an ethnographer and a member of the diaspora, Ulysse delivers critical cultural analysis of geopolitics and daily life in a series of dispatches, op-eds and articles on post-quake Haiti. Her complex yet singular aim is to make sense of how the nation and its subjects continue to negotiate sovereignty and being in a world where, according to a Haitian saying, tout moun se moun, men tout moun pa menm (All people are human, but all humans are not the same). This collection contains thirty pieces, most of which were previously published in and on Haitian Times, Huffington Post, Ms Magazine, Ms Blog, NACLA, and other print and online venues. The book is trilingual (English, Kreyòl, and French) and includes a foreword by award-winning author and historian Robin D.G. Kelley.

Source: UPNEBookPartners – Why Haiti Needs New Narratives: Gina Athena Ulysse

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HAITI: 7th Anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake: An Update from the Haiti Support Group

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the Haiti earthquake and the start of a challenging and tumultuous year for the country.

Source: An Update from the Haiti Support Group

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AFGHANISTAN: A ‘continual emergency’, as war drives record numbers from their homes

The so-called Islamic State has created a new conflict and 2016 saw unprecedented amounts of people fleeing to displacement camps

Bibi Mariam was milking her cow when it suddenly let out a wild howl and collapsed in a pool of blood.

The so-called Islamic State and the Taliban were fighting near her village in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province. The stray bullet that killed her cow finally convinced Mariam to flee – joining a record number of Afghans displaced by conflict.  Read more

Source: IRIN Afghanistan now a ‘continual emergency’, as war drives record numbers from their homes

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BNN Community TV airing excerpts of Haitian-made films

Tele Kreyol, the Haitian news and discussion program on Boston Neighborhood Network, is airing a special to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. The program will include excerpts from the Haitian-made films Owning Our Future: Haitian Perspectives in Film.  The films were made during CSFilm’s training and production project with Haitian storytellers in 2014.

The program is in Kreyol.  BNN, January 10, 8:30-9:30pm,  Comcast 23 | RCN83

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ON THE MEDIA: Truth, Fact, and the Future of Journalism (Co-hosted w/Citizen Futures) – StoryCode Boston (Boston, MA) | Meetup

Truth, Fact, and the Future of Journalism (Co-hosted w/Citizen Futures)

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2017, 6:00 PM

Workbar Cambridge
45 Prospect Street Cambridge, MA

20 StoryCodas Went

On Wednesday, January 25th, StoryCode Boston and Citizen Futures will present a discussion on the future of journalismThe Big Idea: What “truth” do we want from journalism? How will we define media and journalism going forward? Is the business model broken? Will journalism still have a voice?Overview // Follow the money: The media landscape is p…

Check out this Meetup →

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Filmmaking Fundamentals Class at MassArt, Boston

CSFilm Training AfghanistanMichael Sheridan will teach Filmmaking Fundamentals, a semester long class, beginning January 24th.   This course explores fiction and non-fiction filmmaking production and blends hands-on production with history and theory. Click here to see the full description and to register.

The course is open to the public and to students of all levels of experience.  Email michael@csfilm.org with any questions.

 

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CSFilm will attend Haitian Diaspora Challenge Symposium – Will you join us?

Join us for the DCI Symposium at MIT on January 21, 2017. The Diaspora Challenge Initiative aims at leveraging ideas about successful development concepts amongst members of the Diaspora looking for opportunities to contribute to Haiti’s development. We will have special guests which include Ambassador Paul Altidor and Haitian Congressman Jerry Tardieu.The event is free to attend. Must register to attend. Link to register in bio. #dciHaiti #naahp #grahnusa #shr #edem #otgs

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