Early this month, I had a truly inspiring time participating as resource person and evaluator in the National Council for Children’s Television’s “Rights, Camera, Action” filmmaking workshop in Mambajao, Camiguin in Northern Mindanao, sponsored by Gov. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo, and the Department of Labor and Employment.
The workshop sought to generate one-minute films about the pressing issue of child labor, and was made even more notable by the fact that many of the student filmmakers were youths, some of them children.
I found the activity significant, because it sought to bring film education to far-flung provinces, and to transform even children into proficient artists and technicians who could generate economical but imaginative and persuasive productions about what the youth of the land really think and feel.
Talk about democratizing filmmaking in the Philippines, this is it!
As chairman of the National Council for Children’s Television, Mag Cruz Hatol has formed a committed production-education team that can travel to any part of the country, upon the invitation of a sponsor, like a government agency, legislator, private group or educational institution.
At the end of the intensive, hands-on workshop, participants come up with a one-minute production shot with cell phone cameras or other simple devices, to showcase what they have learned, which can then be accessed on the social media, or used in consciousness-raising advocacies and campaigns.
As a participant in the Camiguin workshop exclaimed, “Never did I think that I would become a filmmaker, that my voice could be heard by many, because I have now acquired the skills to express what I feel and think!”
I told her that the fact that she was still a teenager was even more significant, because when she expressed the concerns of the youth, her youthful point of view would be much more believable than what most adults could infer or intuit.
For my part, I tried to put the exciting experience in perspective by pointing out to the workshoppers that they were starting a new chapter in their lives: Heretofore, they had been members of the audience, viewing productions made by other people. Now, they were the ones generating the product—for other viewers to benefit from!
It was important, therefore, for them to realize that they were unique, and should not copy or do mere variations on what others were already making.
They had to “find” their own voice and figure out what was so important to each of them that they had to put their viewpoint on the TV or film screen!
Yes, they were starting with “only” a one-minute film, but if they did it well, it would provide them with the impetus and clarity of vision to continue working on longer and bigger projects!
We trust that the NCCT’s workshop gave at least some of the participants the training and drive to become effective cinematic communicators from here on in, so many more voices can be heard, and under-represented sectors can participate in the on-going national discussion on many vital issues, not just child labor.
Interested in having a NCCT filmmaking workshop conducted in your locality? Contact 634-7156.