Thirty children selected from basic schools in Torgorme and Fodzoku in the Volta Region participated in the Young Film Makers Workshop in preparation towards the 10th annual Environmental Film Festival of Accra (EFFA) which comes off from 19 – 26 September, 2014 in Accra. The Festival targets basic school children with a week-long extra-curricular Workshop based on themes from the environment. The workshop involved participating school children in a multi-media workshop of art, photographs, paintings and video filming among others.
The children from 8 to 17 years spent four days learning to create mixed media environmental art pieces. Participants comprised 10 girls and 10 boys selected variously from the following schools: Fodzoku District Authority Junior High, Prestige International School, Shelter Academy, Fodzoku Evangelical Presbyterian Primary, VRA International, Fodzoku Roman Catholic Junior High, and Torgorme District Authority Junior High.
In Accra, another eight children from a children’s home in the suburbs of Accra (Oyarifa) also benefitted from the workshop (5 girls and 3 boys).
The children were encouraged to find materials from their environment and mix these together to create interesting compositions. They also learned the rudiments of photography, art drawings, photo composition and video filming and, armed with digital cameras, they went into their surroundings to document the ways of life of the communities and various environmental issues they felt were pressing.
Participants’ works will be launched at the high profile launch of EFFA. They will be invited to share their experiences with the audience and presentations made to them. The best pieces will be shortlisted for exhibition throughout the festival period and first to third placed works will be given awards. The outcomes of the workshop also serve as vital tools for discussion at the Children’s Screenings. They will also be distributed as DVD’s after the festival to participating schools and children.
Traditionally, the Workshop involves various Accra schools but this year, the Festival Producers decided to involve schools from Central and Volta Regions as well as a children’s home in Oyarifa, near Adenta, to harness already existing synergies in schools within these two regions. For many of these children the workshop was their first encounter making art pieces and learning photography. Many of them commented that “they don’t learn photography in school.” Others expressed how enjoyable and educational the workshops were.
Participants discussed and selected topics from experience, created narratives and sketches that they translated to film, photos and various art forms and worked together to produce engaging pieces with environmental messages.
EFFA undertook a series of weekend workshops with the children in their local community of Okyeso in the Municipality of Cape-Coast. A group of 35 kids (boys and girls), between the ages of 12 to 16 years participated in the workshops and together discussed various environmental issues faced in their local community. Duakor, the local community is on the Atlantic coastline and over the years, the village environment has undergone several changes and challenges. These included sea erosion and sand winning, declining fish catch, marine pollution, poor sanitation and open defecation, marine debris, algal blooms, quality of water, random littering of waste, food hygiene and Climate Change.
The workshop used a participatory approach to enable the children identify localized environmental problems, document them using films and propose solutions, some of which together they can implement. The children then become peer educators in their various schools and communities resulting in sustainable changes. Five stories that vividly captured the issues raised were selected and dramatized for filming. Creative facilitators from EFFA supported the children to develop these stories into an improvised script and make their own film about the environment.
Filming was proceeded by an excursion of the local environment during which the children were encouraged to appreciate the environmental issues at first hand and select locations for filming. Rehearsals followed to familiarise the children with the rudimentary of acting for film. A voice over narrative was also recorded. We have adequate female representation in the narrative and girls have been casted in key roles in the short film.
For many children, it was their first experience in film making and to have hands on experience using a camera. Community leaders gave overwhelming support to the workshop and expressed their belief that the film will showcase their issues to a larger national audience and also bring improvements.
WORKSHOP SPONSORS AND COLLABORATORS
EFFA would like to thank the Royal Danish Embassy, Australian High Commission, Hanns Seidel Foundation, Institute of Environment and Sanitation Studies for supporting another successful edition of the Young Film Makers Workshop.