16 May 2013

Can a Telecentre Win an Oscar? Child Soldier Short Film says it can.

I think it can. When we started Adobe Youth Voices Program in Sri Lanka we did not know the power for youth media for social change. We implemented AYV program in Kandy and Lahugala. Kandy was a mobile Telecentre. Lahugala was a Nenasala Telecentre. Kandy youth and Lahugala youth had different issues and talents.

They shared shilpasayura lahugala accessing local hosted version and Kandy youth used it online. We trained Kandy youth in digital media creation using a portable 5 netbook network through weekly sessions at public spaces anywhere. We conducted mobile workshops in Kandy. The mobile trainers and learning system reached small youth groups 10-25 where ever they are.

Lahugala youth living 250km away were trained using 2 x 3 day workshops using Telecentre, Local school and mobile digital media network.
In 2012 we submitted 13 creatives by Telecentre Youth. There were digital photos, posters and videos. None made to the finals. But youth kept learning with Shilpa Sayura AYV program. We approached 2012 AYV season with a highly focused approach.

We got youth to form a digital film crew. Learn online and peer to peer taking part in digital media creation activities on social events. We combined the learning to carriculum making Youth create digital local content for school competitions and events. As a result youth trained by Shilpa Sayura won Microsoft Software competion, Nano Technology Video and Digital Poster competition.

We trained youth in digital photography, video and editing and inspired them to create a digital film product for the world from local experience. They came out with many stories, but none touched our hearts like Child Soldier story, a fiction, but seems true.

The story is about a little boy who turned to a child soldier and his struggle for freedom from clutches of terror.  It is a desktop cinematic experience created by over 100 youth from Kandy City and Lahugala Village in Sri Lanka. They collaborated in every role in feature film making to shoot Child Solder short film for 20 days during rainy school holidays. They made own rigs and used DSLR cameras to explore cinema techniques to learn to use action, thriller and drama to tell a story for social change using Digital Media.

All the youth taking part in this collaborate short film were 12-19 years old. Telecentres brought them together.  The youth group got support from Adobe, UNHABITAT and Shilpa Sayura. They shall receive more support from World bank and Microsoft Youth Skill Development Grants. We think this is a new dimension to telecentres to create social films addressing local issues in a cinematic approach. Then one day a Telecentre shall win an Oscar.

If you don't agree with me watch the film and comment.


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