Suara Community Filmmaking 2015: Workshop 1 – Development of Creative Skills in Film Storytelling

Suara Community Filmmaking 2015: Workshop 1 – Development of Creative Skills in Film Storytelling
The aim of this workshop was to help our participants to develop their creative skills and to find new approaches to tell their stories in innovative and novel ways.Chloe Tiffany Lee, Author.

The workshop was attended by 17 participants hailing from a diverse array of communities and organisations spanning the state. 

The first Suara Community Filmmaking workshop of 2015 was held successfully from the 4th to the 8th of March at the Sabah Forestry Department’s Community Forestry Centre in Kampung Karamuak; part of the Yayasan Sabah Forest Management Complex in the district of Tongod, central Sabah. We selected this venue because it is home to our Suara participants from Yayasan Sabah, and offers a location in which our filmmakers could explore a community new to them and uncover stories from its residents. The aim of this workshop was to help our participants to develop their creative skills and to find new approaches to tell their stories in innovative and novel ways. To deliver the workshop content, we brought together two trainers with differing backgrounds and experiences in filmmaking, whose unique perspectives complemented one another and helped our participants to broaden their thinking about how stories can be communicated through the medium of film.

The workshop was attended by 17 participants hailing from a diverse array of communities and organisations spanning the state. This resulted in an interesting mix of new talent alongside more seasoned veterans, coming together in a friendly learning environment to share their knowledge and experiences in filmmaking and Sabah stories. Our most experienced community filmmaker, Mr. Mohd. Nizam Andan, fulfilled a special role in this workshop. Nizam remains a Suara participant (as he has been since 2012), but has also recently joined the board of the Borneo Eco Film Festival and is a part of the Suara programme’s organisational team.

In addition to the participants, trainers and organisers, we were also joined by Mr. Jong Khiam Zung, a journalist from the newspaper See Hua Daily News, who attended the workshop as an observer and to experience a Suara community workshop first-hand.

Our participants learned many valuable skills to aid them on their path to becoming filmmakers, and gained essential insights into creative story development.

Our participants learned many valuable skills to aid them on their path to becoming filmmakers, and gained essential insights into creative story development. The two trainers combined unique and complementary perspectives to offer guidance on multiple aspects of film storytelling; including the identification of principle themes and messages, sources of conflict and resolution, antagonists and protagonists, visual and cinematic components, focussing on a target audience, and best practices in obtaining consent from interview subjects. The community filmmakers were also able to broaden their horizons by visiting and uncovering the local stories of an area of Sabah which was new to them.

Our team also grew significantly during this workshop; aside from two new additions to the Suara trainer pool, we also welcomed new participants from the Kudat Turtle Conservation Society, Green Semporna, Yayasan Sabah and the communities of Kg. Sayap and Kg. Sungai Eloi. These new additions help to broaden our network and the diversity of Sabah communities touched and aided by the Suara programme.

 

In addition to new learning and the growth of the Suara family, a major output of the workshop was the development of story ideas related to the participants’ own communities. The basic story structures produced during the workshop will be developed further during the course of the coming months, with a view to having finalised products ready for screening during the 2015 Borneo Eco Film Festival from 2nd to 4th October. Our filmmakers will be fully supported throughout this process, receiving new knowledge and guidance from professionals during the upcoming Suara workshops in May, August and September/October. We are also endeavouring to source funds to ensure that all community filmmaker teams are fully furnished with audio-visual equipment and computer video editing capabilities. The Suara workshop in Karamuak marked an excellent start to our programme for 2015, and we anticipate with relish seeing how our budding filmmakers continue to push their own boundaries during the remainder of the year and beyond.

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