As part of the Rio de Janeiro IFP 2009, four students from the New Shool’s Graduate Program in International Affairs – Christine Newkirk, Dulce Mateo, Nina Raja and Frédéric Choinière – spent their summer working on the Curta Favela project of Viva Favela, the media branch of the NGO Viva Rio. The Curta Favela project seeks to allow children and teenagers from various favelas of the city to document their community, by learning how to make their own short movie, using affordable cameras and open-source editing software. The team was asked to implement the project in the community of Tavares Bastos.
Under the guidance of Professor Peter Lucas, and with the precious collaboration of Thiago Cruz, a film student from Rio who joined the New School students, the team developed a curriculum and ran an 8-week-long series of workshops on film-making. The workshops discussed technical aspects the medium, while weekly themes and video assignments related to and evolved from human rights issues, such as self-representation and media inclusion. Using flip cameras, laptops, blogs and open-source software, the participants were given the opportunity to work with digital tools for video-making and reflect on their experience. The editing process was completed by the New School team and Thiago, and the final video was screened to the community, as well as posted on the project’s blog: cftavaresbastos.blogspot.com. And the young film-makers, proud and smiling, asked if the project (and the “teachers”!) would return next year. A lot of talent and friendships had indeed unfolded during these few weeks.
The video, “Bem Vindos a Tavares Bastos” is the result of eight weeks of work with a little more than a dozen children and teenagers from the Tavares Bastos community, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With Flip cameras in hands, our young movie-makers (ranging from 9 – 15 years old) represented their life and community, using either documentary-making techniques or coming up with their own scripts and scenarios. Making one movie with so many actors, film-makers, directors – not to mention points of view – was challenging, but the result is as colorful, diverse and warm as these children and their community are.