As part of the “Cycle Of Care” workshop, in collaboration with LEEDO of Bangladesh, Rainbow Collective of UK and Openvizor, UK, 6 children wrote, directed and shot 7 short films over the course of 3 days in November 2014 using small HD pen video cameras. The film was then edited and screened first to the children of the shelter. Later several public screening took place worldwide.
7UP continues as part of Paraa’s Cycle of Care project, in collaboration with LEEDO, Openvizor, Rainbow Collective and Sajida Foundation. This time three new kids from Amrao Manush program joined three directors of the previous film. The experienced directors helped and guided the new ones. The children became directors and narrators of their stories in Maniknagar, Dhaka. They focused on issues ranging from women playing games, to the fear and burden of walls, and overcoming them. The diverse range of short films present a wonderfully crisp and alternative understanding of life from the girls.
The main concept is letting the kids exploring their creative boundaries on film making. Film is a strong media to express one’s perspective and thoughts. By making their own film, kids get to share their unique thought processes directly with the world. They become more confident on expressing themselves in creative ways.
Jannati, Mariam and Shahida from Amrao Manush joined Taniya, Jasmin and Farzana from LEEDO. Together they made six different short films. These films reflect the change in their lives after transferring into a shelter, their thrust for education, their hardships in the society, their struggles as well as their joys. Also some films throw some simple yet critical questions to our society which questions its conscience and force us to think about our contribution to the society.
We structured the process through some workshops – First, we showed them different films and explained the idea of film being “the media of one’s story telling” to the children. We also showed them some movies done by other kids from different slums along with the ‘Lal Beguni Shwapno’. The experienced three shared their experiences and inspired the new participants.
The response was great. All of them came up with very dynamic storyboards and concepts. Some are simple yet extraordinary in depth, some are intense, some told their personal stories, some expressed how it is like to be a working kid. We were amazed by their capability, creativity and directness in creating these stories. We worked with them to refine their concepts and discussed possibilities of how they can show those in reality.
We then showed them some technicalities of the cameras that they used to film their movies, and introduced them to basic rules and norms of cinematography. We roamed around with the camera and mics in groups and arranged a practice session.
On next days, with six brilliant storyboards in hand, we split into two groups. We roamed around in Maniknagar and Komlapur area for most of the shoots. Many indoor shots has been taken in Amrao Manush Shelter at Maniknagar.
These kids directed their own movie, shot the scenes, recorded sounds, acted in their movies and helped each other. The scenes and shots represented their own cinematography and direction. We (myself, Richard York, Hannan Majid, Delwar Hossain) were there to guide the children with operating cameras and teaching some basic skills along the way. Alex Noble and Ruhul Abdin were there helping us through out all the way.
On the 10th of December, 2015 the film 7 UP has been screened publicly at EMK centre. Hopefully it will be screened again on different locations worldwide.
The experience of making these films with the children is always one of the most precious experiences of my life. I learnt a lot from them, about them and also about life!
Despite their hardship in life, these kids are playful, hopeful and very energetic, just like any other child elsewhere in the world. However, it is very hard for them to trust, express and to share their thoughts with adults due to the struggles they have dealt with. Sometimes, it’s hard for them to be just children. Through their films, all of them opened a window into their world, expressing their inner thoughts, joy and experiences.
Working with them is always inspiring. We are super proud of these tiny directors.
Here are some pictures of the shoots of 7UP :