By Bethsheba Achitsa with Ogova Ondego
Published October 16, 2011
A three-day meeting to endorse high quality audiovisual media content that is public service-oriented, innovative and challenging beyond the conventional forms of television language has just ended in Barcelona, Spain. Organised by UNESCO and the Association of Igualada and bringing together audiovisual media practitioners from 26 countries, the UNESCO-Igualada International Training Workshop for Independent Producers brought together broadcasters, producers and film festival organisers who were not only mentored in entrepreneurship, broadcasting and distribution of content, but also treated to a variety of films from the various countries.
In his opening remarks, Alton Grizzle, the programme specialist at UNESCO observed that in times when the world is witnessing an overproduction of audiovisual media material, whoever wants to convey development-related content should possess the right set of skills, tools, and know-how in order to ensure the quality of one’s creation and hence make one’s message stand out.
The training, also referred to as International Meeting of Independent Producer was held October 5-7, 2011 with the objectives of helping improve the skills of participants on content and audiovisual media language innovation, application of new technologies to audiovisual content production, effective marketing and entrepreneurship. Emphasis was put on producing high quality material that convey development-oriented messages.
Expert trainers were drawn from UNESCO-partner Organisations: Lola Kenya Screen, European Broadcasting Union, Permanent Conference of the Mediterranean Audiovisual Operators (COPEAM), Central Africa Bank of Images, Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking and International Public Television Conference (INPUT). The trainers included Melanie ChaitMichel-F Gelinas, Daniel Mejia, Katalin Barsony, Feten Fradi, Paula Callus, Remi Atangana Abega, Pierre Duret, Karzan Kardozis and Ogova Ondego.
The meeting–designed to facilitate networking and sharing of inspiring insights–took place in the context of UNESCO’s Audiovisual E-Platform, a multi-cultural, online tool for independent producers and broadcasters that aims at promoting the international distribution of television content through North-South and South-South cooperation.
The 10 trainers tackled their subjects in line with the themes of the conference that included creative content, audiovisual productions and new technologies, high quality filming, filming and the web, audiovisual productions as a public service, partnership between independent producers and broadcasters, making development-related content attractive for advertisers, and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other development goals. The trainers will be helped by Greg Montoya, an online and marketing coach at GregMontoya.net
In her address titled, “You are an artist. Bringing out the creativity in you. From Traditional to creative audiovisual content and language “, Dr Chait of South Africa-based Big Fish film asked participants to question who is teaching when it comes to film.
Canadian Michel-F Ghelinas guided the participants on how to produce high quality audiovisual content using high quality filming. Ghelinas who works as a director and producer noted that quality is a result of 50% of work and 50% of luck and purpose.
In tackling “Engendering Entrepreneurship and Positioning AV Work to Target Market”, Kenyan Ogova Ondego emphasised the importance of informed and thorough planning of initiatives in line with the opportunities and risks found in the environment in which one wishes to work. Vision, mission and branding, Ondego said, are crucial in the often treacherous terrain of entrepreneurship. He screened some of the films made by children and youth for children and youth during the Lola Kenya Screen film mentorship programmes since 2006 and drew many examples to illustrate the presentation from the Lola Kenya Screen audiovisual media initiative for children and youth in eastern and southern Africa region that he manages from Nairobi, Kenya.
Katalin Barsony of Budapest, Hungary–in her presentation ,Innovative audiovisual narratives for the representation of dehumanised minority groups in the media–observed that while mass media could be one of the most useful tools for the promotion of understanding between majority and minority and information based debate in society, it seems that they are still reproducing prejudices via a static conception of culture, the content of reporting and the roles distributed to minority speaking people.
Cameroonian director and producer Remi Atangana Abega highlighted the state of networks among independent audiovisual media practitioners. While defining a network as a professional organisation with technicians working in the same sector in order to exercise actions of general interests, Abega ‘who said he is opposed to networks that do nothing but simply talk’ insisted that members of a network should have the same goals for any network to succeed.
While Daniel Mejia a Colombian film student in Italy talked about the production of short films, Tunisian Feten Fradi on Insights on Co-Production and Karzan Kardozi on cinematographic styles of feature films, Paula Callus of the National Centre of Computer Animation of Bournemouth University tackled production of African animation.
Pierre Duret of the European Broadcasting Union talked about independent production from the perspective of the broadcaster.
At the end of the three-day conference independent producers were encouraged to ensure the free circulation of ideas through the word and through images as well as taking care of cultural diversity. Freedom of expression, media pluralism, multilingualism, equal access to art and to scientific and technological knowledge, including in digital form, and the possibility for all cultures to have access to the means of expression and dissemination were therefore singled out as the ultimate guarantees of cultural diversity.
Audiovisual productions are therefore a prerequisite for intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. Similarly, audiovisual material, if properly packaged and circulated, can be a very useful support when addressing issues and policies related to good governance, empowerment of marginalised groups, and gender equity.