Four short films produced at Film for Change, was launched today at the premiere held at Schwack Cinema in Hulhumale’.
This is the second installment of Film for Change, a joint project by the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with telecom giant and digital service provider Dhiraagu, aimed at empowering and guiding young people towards exploring and sparking dialogue through the medium of film and cinematography.
The project was designed to provide young people with necessary technical and creative skills on writing, directing and producing short films using minimal equipment.
Initiated in 2017, the purpose of 'Film for Change' is described as 'to stimulate dialogue on different social issues amongst young people, decision-makers and the wider community'.
The programme consists of several technical components and a film-making component where participants arementored by industry experts on film theory, social challenges as well as developmental challenges.
Following the completion of the training component, mentors guided participant groups to produce 4 short films based on a social issue inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); specifically,
Focus: SDG 4 - Quality Education
Mentor Studio: Streak
The film focuses on the role of the society in educating a child. According to the production team, members wished to highlight that "education is not only possible within a school environment", and that "a child’s potential cannot be determined by just their grades".
SDG 5: Gender Equality
Mentor Studio: Orkeyz
Named 'Bilah', a little-known dhivehi phrase that loosely translates to 'a mirage', this film focuses on gender equality issues such as gender discrimination, gender stereotyping and violence against women in the Maldives.
SDG 13: Climate Action
Mentor Studio: Sikundi Corp
'Kuda' highlights how a child is left bewildered and distressed as a result of actions within the child's community and society at large. The main focus of the film is desribed by team members as "to make people realize that our everyday actions have consequences".
SDG 14 : Life below Water
Mentor Studio: R Squared
The film focuses on our collective responsibility to ensure future generations enjoy the beautiful marine environment of the Maldives.
Speaking at the event, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dhiraagu, Ismail Rasheed, congratulated the participants for their effective and accurate portrayal of the issues at hand.
Further complimenting the quality of their productions he stated that Dhiraagu was very proud of the opportunity to develop these skills within our youth and community.
During the event, Ismail had awarded certificates of participation to the four groups and mentor studios.
A key highlight of all four films (Writers Note: the article is spoiler free), is that they had all children in their films.
The UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Shoko Noda also distributed certificates of appreciation to the cast of children.
Speaking shortly after, Ms. Shoko mentioned that one of the films produced in the first Film for Change, ‘Iloshi’ was nominated to appear in a SONY UN competition ‘Picture This’ earlier this year, iterating the success of the project.
Ms. Shoko also extended her warmest appreciation for Dhiraagu’s involvement in the project.
At the event, one of the participants Lugman Noor, shared a couple of his experiences with Film for Change. Declaring that his crowning achievement is not only the film he produced but the friends he made during the process, he described Film for Change akin to 'having attended film school'.
Public screenings and Youtube releases for the movies will be held on the 4th, 6th and 8th at the Goatfish Cafe & Bistro, Meraki Coffee Roasters and Foundation Auditorium in the Maldives National University, respectively.
Unlike the previous 'Film for Change' programme, all participants had shot their films using mobile devices.
In an exclusive interview given to the Edition, participants highlighted their key experiences and the future of film in their view;
Yazyn from ‘Bilah’ (Sound Director): I don't think it would have made that big of a difference. Using phones limited us in terms of the type of equipment we used, but it also let us stick to and practice the fundamentals of film-making.
Rafaa from ‘Nama’ (Writer, Screenplay):It’s always difficult when you put a timer on creativity, but learning how to manage the time was fun and exciting. It was difficult to keep a fixed schedule because you need to set a time when all actors and locations would be available, all the while spending weeks of sleepless nights to edit the film.
Nadha from ’Vilunoo’ (Producer): If I were to, I wouldn’t be interested in making films for entertainment but rather in the range of awareness and social causes. Perhaps then, films about issues that need to be brought into light and discussed.
Lugman from ‘Kuda’ (Director): I feel like I have achieved something great. My entire life I have always wanted to act in and produce a film…but I never had the right encouragement before. Film for Change has given me a chance to truly explore my talents and push me to follow my all-time dream.
This year saw an increase in youth involvement with the project as 19 participants, compared to a total of 14 eager film-makers last year.
In 2017, all three films in were shot using professional equipment. Mentored by the Studios Madhoship, Streak and Eternal Pictures.
A film based on gender inequalities, specifically gender roles and stereotypes that society has ingrained on the population.
The film tells the story of the thousands of Maldivians living with mental health conditions. The objective of this film was to give a voice to this silent majority.
The film speaks about the vast amount of harmful substances and materials that are consumed unknowingly by members of our society and the consequences that follow.
UNDP and Dhiraagu hopes to continue the programme next year as well, as expressed by Ms. Shoko Noda, who envisions Film for Change becoming a tradition here in the Maldives.