Posts filed under 'Digital Divide'
In another digital twist on the NFB’s challenge for change project, E-cinema comes to the island where it all began:
A scene from The Children of Fogo Island, which the National Film Board produced on the island in the 1960s and 1970s. (NFB)
A new project promises electronic delivery of films, including documentaries and dramas, to residents of Fogo Island, about eight miles off the northeast coast of Newfoundland.
It’s the first English-language test of a plan by the National Film Board to make thousands of films available to remote communities that do not have access to cinema.
The Fogo Island e-cinema theatre, to be operating by November, is a collaboration with the Shorefast Foundation, a charitable organization that works to promote economic sufficiency on Fogo.
Films will be made available electronically from the NFB’s collection of 13,000 productions, as they become digitized. All the NFB’s newest releases are available in digital format.
The films can be delivered overnight via a high-speed internet line, beamed to the Fogo screening room from a server in Montreal.
The Shorefast Foundation foresees film clubs or other community associations getting together to choose what they want to see, and setting up a screening night in the e-cinema.
That will initially be a conference room near the centre of the island, but later could be in a new community arts centre.
Fogo Island doesn’t currently have a cinema, Shorefast’s Zita Cobb told CBC News, and it got reliable internet access just a few months ago.
That’s why the foundation was eager to bring islanders this chance to get together and see films, she said.
“Cultural vitality is a key to keeping rural communities vibrant,” she said, adding that the island is facing great transitions as it adapts to disappearing fisheries and today’s economic problems.
It is not the first NFB collaboration in Fogo, which has a population of 2,700 in just 11 small communities.
Back in the late 1960s, a series of NFB films made on Fogo examined isolation and poverty on the island. Filmmaker Colin Low worked with island residents to create 28 short films about their lives in a media program called Challenge for Change.
People can see themselves
Those films led to a groundbreaking process of community development that continues to this day.
“It was a time of great crisis, the provincial government was thinking of relocating the population,” Perlmutter said. “It allowed them to understand common problems and solutions and the fish processing plant was built and it created an economic reliability and it was done through film.”
With the e-cinema set to open in November, the people in those groundbreaking films can see themselves.
“Now we have them all, and they’re beautiful now that they’re digitized,” Cobb said of the Fogo Island films. “It gives us our stories back.”
The film project in the 1960s “provided an opportunity for us to get to know each other and to see the outside world,” Cobb said. She believes the e-cinema will do the same thing for the small communities of Fogo.
The NFB’s e-cinema network began as a pilot project in five French-speaking Acadian communities in 2007.
The NFB plans to build a chain of e-cinemas to provide a forum for showing Canadian films to Canadians.
June 18th, 2009
Congrats to our pal producer Martin Potter in Australia, who has just launched a great new project, Big Stories, Small Towns.
Big Stories, Small Towns is an innovative online film project and a true Australian first. Developed and produced by the Media Resource Centre (MRC) in partnership with Screen Australia and the SA Film Corporation, its aim was to create an opportunity for experienced filmmakers to work with residents of a regional town to bring their personal stories about living in the community to the screen. The resulting films are presented in an online format only via a specially created website.
Award-winning documentary makers Jeni Lee and Sieh Mchawala (see bios below) lived in Port Augusta for several months last year - making films with the locals to create an inspiring portrait of the town. The project has been shaped through extensive
consultation and the resulting stories reveal what the community knows as its hidden truths.
“This was the first time a filmmaker residency of this type was conducted in Australia and we were thrilled it took place in regional South Australia,” says MRC director, Gail Kovatseff. “We’re especially delighted with the quality and content of the films which have been produced. Instead of sensationalised stories about rural decline and dysfunction, these are moving personal insights into a community which is diverse in age, race and economic fortune – but bound by an amazing sense of spirit.”
The international online premiere of Big Stories, Small Towns will take place at the Mercury Cinema on Thursday February 19 – with the films launched by legendary, independent Canadian filmmaker and former Adelaide Thinker in Residence, Peter Wintonick.
“The model for Big Stories, Small Towns came from Canada, in fact from Katerina Cizek – who was Peter’s co-director on Seeing Is Believing – so it’s great Peter can be with us as we share these amazing tales with the rest of the world for the first time via the Internet,” says Ms Kovatseff.
Following the launch, the films will be available for viewing online by people around the world at either www.bigstoriessmalltowns.com.au or www.bigstories.com.au
March 3rd, 2009
Check out this site where you can map your brain, and brainstorm with others. It’s called Mindmeister. The image above is my breakdown of Filmmaker-in-Residence. Check out other people’s maps on the site - someone has plotted out their happiness, others create their “to do” lists, others have elaborate schemes of how the universe works. It’s a great visualization tool.
May 26th, 2008
Just in time for Mother’s Day, we’re in today’s Toronto Star in an article about the young parents’ project.
The piece focuses on our video bridge film, Unexpected, that kicked off our [un]conference. It is a frank and candid video dialogue between young mothers who have experienced homelessness and the health care workers who help to deliver babies.
There are a few inaccuracies in the article: “Keneisha, another young mom/videographer featured in Unexpected, opens the film with her contempt for the grilling she faced at St. Mike’s when she showed up expecting twins.”
Keneisha did not have her twins at St. Mike’s, nor was she speaking specifically about her encounter during her delivery of her twins. She was speaking in general about attitudes young mothers face everywhere.
Another important clarification: while many of the health care workers in the film are from St. Mike’s, the issues that everyone raises are not about *one hospital*; it’s about attitudes everywhere.
Kudos to St Mike’s for being part of the brave, innovative experiment.
The Toronto Star online is running an excerpt from the film here. The film will be available soon (on the documentary anthology DVD HandHeld: Health and Homelessness), check www.nfb.ca/handheld for deets.
Unexpected was made by Dawn Wilkinson, Adrienne, Jess, Keneisha, Meghan, Nicole, Catherine Moravac, Alice Gorman, Heather Frise, Genevieve Trilling, Erin Clarke, Rebecca Fortin and Daniella Guerriero. The project was made possible with the great support of St. Michael’s Hospital’s Oby-Gyn department, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of SMH, and we owe special thanks to the fantastic Head Nurse Audrey Nevins. Childcare thanks to Sophia at Ontario Early Years. Gerry Flahive is the Producer, Silva Basmajian is the Executive Producer.
May 10th, 2008
An interesting Village Voice blog about the terror mobile technology can induce in the wrong hands. Cell phones are not just all about People Power revolutions, unfortunately. The technology is also linked to rape and war, in places like Iraq and The Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ward Harkavy sums it up brutally, and links to our work at the Seeing is Believing website, that we put together a few year ago, about the central role Coltan (a mineral ore used in cell phones) plays in the ongoing war in Congo.
Harkavy also links to Stephen Lewis’ recent, raw speech about the horror of rape as a weapon of war in the Congo, that has become so common, it has been given a local medical term “vaginal destruction.” Terrifying.
Friends of the Congo seems to be doing good work on the issue. They’re based in Washington DC.
May 9th, 2008
We’re getting pretty excited about our meeting this Wednesday, May 7 at 5:30-7:30, which is a follow-up to our handheld [un]conference. We will show the short film about the day, release a document of the Recommendations developed from ideas during handheld. We’ll brainstorm and plan next steps. If you haven’t RSVP’d yet, write me at email@example.com and I’ll send you the info.
May 6th, 2008
A nice article in today’s Now Magazine about the power of photography in the hands of people. The writer dedicates a few inches to our STREET HEALTH STORIES project. The issue is in honour of the commencement of North America’s largest month long photography fest in Toronto, CONTACT.
May 2nd, 2008
I’ll be giving a 3-day workshop on Interventionist and Participatory Media at the Summer Institute for Film and Television. May 27, 28 and 29. in Ottawa. More about it here. Registration is open. We’ll watch lots of stuff, discuss and brainstorm participant’s own projects. Maybe we’ll see you there.
April 23rd, 2008
I’ve only just recovered from it, and it happened over a week ago!
As promised, here are pics from our people-mash-up.
For one day, we brought together over 100 people from all walks of life to watch and discuss participatory media around young parents of no fixed address. The main room was set up in a “circle of circles” to help our smorgasborg mix of politicians, service-providers, academics, people with first lived experience of homelessness and media-makers to get to know each other, and share ideas and solutions. We had reps from all levels of government, and a great quorum from many advocacy groups, hospitals and other participatory media groups.
Hosted and designed by the brilliant Misha Glouberman — with advice and support from the “professor of open,” Mark Surman (who kindly blogged about the day here).
The day got off to an electrifying start with the world premiere screening of “UNEXPECTED” a new 17 minute documentary which follows a video bridge project between health-care professionals and young mothers who have experienced homelessness. Here’s Jess, one of the I WAS HERE videobloggers in the film.
Toronto Mayor David Miller dropped by to show his support and to meet the baby star of UNEXPECTED, our new short video documentary.
Participants propose subjects for breakout sessions. Above, an I WAS HERE photoblogger, Nicole, the doctor guy, Mike Evans, and documentary maker and visionary Peter Wintonick all give breakout-session-subjects a kick at the can.
So many good sessions, so little time.
Looks like boardrooms, but its really participant-led breakout sessions.
We’re meeting again on May 7th to unveil a document of KEY RECOMMENDATIONS. The wise policy expert Margot Lettner will be “translating the poetry from the day into policy recommendations”. If you have any comments for her, feel free to leave one here. And please get in touch if you want to come! Space will be limited to the first 50, so please contact us soon.
March 30th, 2008
Deb Matthews (L), Tonya Lee Williams (R)
We are happy to confirm the presence of The Honorable Deb Matthews (Ontario Minister for Youth and Child Services) as well as Tonya Lee Williams, (the founder of ReelWorld Festival and actor, best known for her role as Dr. Olivia Winters on The Young and the Restless) at our HAND-HELD [un]conference on March 20th.
We promise an incredible medley of talent, expertise, energy and experience to fuel our speed brainstorming about young parents, homelessness and the power of media in the hands of citizens!
To register, please do so soon, here, as space is very limited.
January 9th, 2008