This past week CSFilm director Michael Sheridan traveled to Washington D.C. to present the mission of CSFilm to international development and advocacy leaders, to learn about their work and to explore opportunities for collaboration on our current and future projects. Keep reading to learn more about the process of developing our project in Haiti and about a few of the organizations Michael met with this week.
CSFilm’s mission is driven by collaboration. We collaborate with local community media groups in the countries where we work to implement trainings in documentary filmmaking and video-journalism. The trainees are our ongoing collaborators in the work to develop and distribute locally produced stories. These stories are a paradigm shift away from external reports focused on external interests to local reporting and perspective that help us better understand how to effectively and sustainably respond to humanitarian and development needs. Local and international civil society and non-governmental organizations are our essential collaborators for understanding the issues and using the films for comprehensive, robust and far reaching public education and advocacy campaigns. These organizations have the networks to support large-scale distribution and public engagement.
This trip to DC was focused on learning from organizations working in Haiti and exploring options to collaborate on the initiative to produce Haitian-made films and use them to influence the conversation around effective aid and governance during the 5th anniversary of the earthquake in January 2015.
Michael’s trip was motivated by an opportunity to meet with the Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG ), a network of international development, faith-based, human rights and social justice organizations that formed after the Haiti earthquake in 2010 to advocate on issues related to United States-Haiti Policy. These networks are driven by the oft unheralded individuals and organizations that are committed to monitoring Haitian needs and promoting a dialogue about Haitian aid and development long after policy-makers, the press and the general public have moved on.
HAWG is made up of many of the best and most experienced minds on Haitian development. CSFilm’s first order of business is to begin to establish relationships and trust. Understandably members need to examine the intentions and sincerity of new arrivals like CSFilm. Michael was thankful for the frankness of the conversation in terms of what is already being done and the opportunities for further exploration either with the group or with individual members.
The American Jewish World Service (AJWS) hosts the HAWG meeting, and being there provided Michael with an opportunity to also meet with their campaign director about the potential for future collaborations. AJWS has developed the “We Believe” advocacy platform which is currently promoting an end to violence against women and girls, an end to hate crimes against LGBT people, and an end to child marriage. CSFilm dreams of a future where campaigns like this include the training of people at the center of the issue in documentary filmmaking and their making of films that bring home the impact of the problem and the potential of the intended actions and solutions.
Michael also met with OXFAM America, which is where his career in documentary filmmaking began. Oxfam America is focused on fighting poverty, hunger and injustice. They are a leader in producing impactful campaigns on issues such as Effective Aid and Sustainable Agriculture.
We are excited about the many new conversations started during this trip and we look forward to keeping you informed about the actions that come out of them! In the meantime please check out our Facebook and Twitter pages today!