Testimony from New Immigrant and Refugee Visions (NIRV) trainees:

“Getting to watch an editor allowed me to think as an “editor” while filming.”

“I’m a totally new person on video camera. It’s good to know the basic function of a camera in the first week.”

“I learned about general storytelling and basic principles of filmmaking. I learned the importance of holding the camera for seven seconds; thinking as an editor; analyzing the story and the different approaches to covering. I also learned how to use the tripod, our friend…”

“The 7-second rule is something great to have learned. It will change the quality of the film I will shoot in the future.”

“The lessons I have learned here are above my expectations – the explanations and the way the training is conducted is very exciting.”

“The training is interactive and open to participation by all members. It is not one of those conventional one-way approaches to learning.”

“I thought it would be hard to communicate and to be understood. But I was wrong! I feel very understood.”

“I feel that this is a unique opportunity to be here and also bonding and learning and being open/curious about each other’s culture. We all worked well with the different groups we teamed up with.”

“People are serious about this project. … Everyone is working hard, and even though we came from different parts of the world, we speak different languages, and have different cultures, we are very comfortable and productive as a team.

Comments on the Afghan-made films: The Fruit of Our Labor

“When your first documentary course was held in 2010 in Afghanistan. As a participant, I learned a lot from this workshop. after that workshop, I work for various organizations and TVs. I made two TV documentaries for NHK of Japan, one more documentary for CCTV China. And thank you for sharing your filmmaking knowledge with others like us.”
Reza Sahel, Afghan trainee, The Fruit of Our Labor – Afghan Perspectives in Film and filmmaker of Searching for a Path.

“[Community Supported Film] 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.”
 Robin Young, Host of NPR’s Here and Now

“We are all bombarded with so many mainstream media images of Afghanistan that are totally lacking an authentic voice.  “The Fruit of Our Labor” fills that void.  Connecting to Afghans trying to live with dignity and compassion under such horrific circumstances shatters so many of the incorrect underlying assumptions that have been a huge part of the problem, even for those sincerely trying to help the Afghan people.  What Americans need to see is that the Afghan people are just like the America people.  Both are trying to make the best lives they can for their families and communities.”
— Journalists and documentary filmmakers Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, authors of “Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story” and “Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire”

“Michael Sheridan is a filmmaker and educator who has done some extraordinary work in Afghanistan, helping Afghans to tell their own stories thru film. Last night we had a screening at First Parish in Needham of some of the short films from Afghanistan. The quality and beauty was stunning.”
— Reverend John Buehrens, former President, Unitarian Universalists Association

“I’ve made a film in Afghanistan.  I’ve seen the results of other trainings. Nothing compares to what your trainees have accomplished.”
— Carol Dynsinger, Filmmaker “Camp Victory, Afghanistan”, Professor, NYU Tisch

“The first time in ten years I’ve actually heard an Afghan’s voice,” “Transformative,” “Eye-opening and Disturbing”
—  Comments from audience surveys

Testimony from Afghan trainee’s evaluations:

“I have lived some of the most fantastic weeks of my life. This training is equipping me to make a difference in the future.”
— Abdul Majid Zharand

“Documentary filmmaking is my medium of choice for communicating the realities in Afghanistan. This training is giving me the knowledge I need to pursue this work.”
— Reza Sahel

“This training, besides teaching documentary cinema, encourages coexistence. People from different backgrounds and ethnicities are sitting around the same table. It’s amazing.”
— Sayed Qasim Hossaini

“This training is teaching me to discover my true potential.”
— Mona Haidari

“Revealing the realities of Afghanistan has been a dream of mine. Now I have a chance to realize this dream.”
— Aqeela Rezai

Comments on Community Supported Film

“CSFilm is a vital new way for indigenous vision and voices to be seen and heard on the world media stage and in their own communities.”
— Nathan Felde, Chair of the Visual Arts Department, Northeastern University

Comments on the work of Michael Sheridan, CSFilm founder and director:

“The role of film in informing social change is clearly Michael Sheridan’s passion and vocation. His work throughout Africa, Asia and the Americas provides him with the experience to move with ease in unfamiliar environments, to gain trust and to develop relationships that allow him to produce insightful stories on many pressing global issues.”
— Ray Offenheiser, President, Oxfam America

“Michael Sheridan has a keen eye and a deep empathy which resonates through his work.”
— Lynora Williams, former Communications Director, Bread for the World