Monday, August 2, 2010

Burundi Monday, part deux

As promised, I am bringing the second instalment of Burundi Monday, following Acart Videographer Christopher Redmond's international educational outreach through the Burundi Film Center. But since it's a holiday here at home in Canada, I'm going to do the laziest thing possible and just excerpt his latest blog entry about teaching hopeful young filmakers how to tell their own stories to the world through video media:

"Today was the first day of class and everything seems to have gotten off on the right foot. The room was full, my lesson plan was tight and everyone was engaged throughout. We have a new hand-painted BFC banner, T-shirts (courtesy the Sam Group in Ottawa), and a number of volunteers who were helping me with attendance and presentation notes. Things were, dare I say, professional. Or at least that’s what I’m told.


The students this year, however, seem to have a lot more experience than in 2007. Once again, we went around the room asking everyone to tell us about themselves and give us a sense of their skill-level. Almost two thirds identified as a “cameraman”, which I should have expected based on the type of people who have contacted me over the years asking to participate. But there are also a number of novices, actors and a few journalists again, which should make for a nice mix.


All the preparation I had done in collecting French books and lesson plans has also been a huge relief. I was honestly learning half of the technical film terms the day before I’d teach them the first time. Now, with the benefit of not only having taught everything once, but also having worked on at least half a dozen bilingual TV commercials in Montreal, I’m fairly confident in sharing the basics. So today, we started from the start – the different types of films (fiction, documentary, animation, experimental), the major steps of creating a film, film genres, and a number of other general overview points to get everyone on the same page. Even the volunteers were often scribbling down notes, enjoying both the refresher and probably the new clarity I brought to the material.


When class was done, a volunteer came up to me saying he overheard a few people calling their friends telling them the class is really good, they should try to get in. Too much interest is a problem from 2007 I won’t mind having again."

You can follow the rest of Christopher's BFC blogposts at CitizenShift's Media for Social Change, including a recent brush with the police. But other than that, his trip is going well — especially since his BFC partner and wife, Bridget — has joined him on their journey.

Next week on Burundi Monday: A love story.

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