Liberty Film School 2019 – Damak

Liberty Film School 2019 – Damak

Bikalpa – an Alternative in collaboration with Damak Public Library and with the support from Atlas Networks, Samriddhi Foundation & Accountability Lab hosted a two weeks nonresidential “Liberty Film School Workshop” from 4th of June to 15th of June 2019 (21-26 Jestha 2076 ) in Shree Panch Akabare Hotel and Restaurant, Damak.

The workshop was structured in three phases. First phase was indoor class-based film-making workshop that lasted 5 days (4th – 8th June 2019) featuring several key film-making concepts delivered in different sessions from various resource persons. In the second phase (9th – 14th June), participants were divided into 4 groups after the training to complete their final film-making project based on the ideas pitched by the participants during the training. In the third phase (15th of June 2019) of the training, 4 short videos prepared by the participants were screened in front of a large audience. The participants were selected through the applications process that was opened a month in advance of the training.

Core objectives of Liberty Film Making Workshop:

  • To enhance participant’s understanding on film-making and help develop a holistic approach to film making i.e. identifying issues, developing concepts, pre-production, production and post-production.
  • To enhance the participant’s understanding on public policy issues and equip them with skills required for sensitizing targeted stakeholders and general people.
  • To make the participants realize the true potential of visual media in fostering progressive change.

Overview about the Workshop

During this Liberty film workshop in Damak, 30 aspiring participants from diverse organization, working on the different issues joined the workshop. The opening remarks was graced by Mr. Panas Adhikari who handover the floor to Mr. Bhesraj Neupane, founder of Damak Public Library. In his welcome speech he spoke about the program of Damak Public Library and importance of doing such type of program at local level. He also stressed on how video making tool is helping today’s youth to raise their voice for transformation of the society.  He also thanked Bikalpa team for collaboration and suggested the participants to grab opportunity wisely which will help them in future carrier.

After welcoming the participants, Mr. Basanta Adhikari shared the objectives and overview of the training, detailing the idea behind the process of how it started, key issues behind it, why it was important and how it was all made possible to bring this training to Damak, outside Biratnagar. He also presented a briefing on “Bikalpa an Alternative”. Following this, the remainder of the workshop was facilitated by Bikalpa’s team members and few other facilitators.

Over the 5 days, participants were engaged and learned different aspects of film making in these sessions. The program comprised of the following topics.

  • Introduction to Movie making and key concepts of film making
  • The key elements of camera: Exposure, Focal Length and Composition
  • Cinematography: Using Camera works and Photography artistically
  • Public Policy: To provide a brief introduction to public policy
  • Script Writing & Screenplay
  • Advocacy: Effectives tools for advocacy
  • Introduction to Public Policy issues
  • Light handling and Sound Art Direction
  • Editing: Compiling video, audio and image into a compelling work of art.
  • Acting class
  • Leadership and Team Building
  • Director’s Job, The Making- Challenges
  • Idea Pitching,
  • Group Formation & movie making on the site

 Summary of the session

Punam Giri

Following the speaker session during training. The first speaker of the session, Punam Giri, visual media officer of Bikalpa, took session on Introduction of filmmaking, key concepts of Photography, Light handling and Sound. During his session he stressed on the topic what cinema is, history of cinema, how moving pictures cinema evolved. He also highlighted on historic view of South Asian cinema and “Talkies” which further clarifies the participants to understand about film making history.

During Photography session, he began with handling of the camera and basic settings required to set up a camera. He also explained the various modes, automatic and manual controls in a DSLR setup. After that, he shared the three basic elements of exposure, namely; Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO which are used in various combinations to get the desired exposure. He also stressed on the importance of composition, which set the mood for the photographs. Mr. Giri used various photographs to illustrate the various science involved in composition including the use of rule of third, symmetry and contrast. Further he also assigned the participants to do the group work and make photo film during his session.

While talking about lightening he said Lighting is one of the most important aspects of creating a video because it allows setting the mood of the video. He talked most commonly-used techniques for lighting like: Key Lighting, Fill Lighting, Back lighting and explained practically during the session. It was interactive session where participants also expressed their concerns about the film making techniques.

 Sarwagya Raj Pandey

Sarwagya’s session included tips on how to convert a story into a plot and how to market issues by converting them into a compelling story. His other sessions included familiarizing the participants about the various phases of film making and the challenges that came with it. He also talked about the role of the director and how they determine the entire genre of the film He summarized the entire film making process from a director’s point of view and also talked about the difficulties involved in film making process. He moderated a session in which the participants prepared a one-minute film silent film as well. The sessions included power point presentations, videos and short skit as tools to explain his topics.

Ratna Jyoti Shakya

The sessions moderated by Ratna was Cinematography and Editing. In his session, he talked about The Elements of Cinematography, what a cinematographer does, shot sizes: Telling what they see, camera Angles: the art of manipulation and camera moves. He also played small scene of different movies to make understand the participants during the session. In his editing session, he talked about the basic step of editing, what to do to be a film editor and ESSENTIAL CUTS of editing in movie making. In his own words, He said “Editors are called the third storytellers of a movie because, after the writer and director, the editor will construct the narrative and truly define the story that audience will see”, so, it important for editors to have some cinematic knowledge of the movie. Participant were delighted to know these techniques and had good conversation related to topics. During his session he also assigned the group to make 1-minute silent movie.

Basanta Adhikari

Basanta took two sessions on “Introduction to Issues of Public Policy” and “Why Visual Advocacy?” speaking at this session, he said, we rarely speak about public policy issues that is hindering our life. He explained that the design of public policies involves a choice between the present and future, and also that some people will have benefits from it while others don’t. A good policy makes public life good and comfortable while bad policy harm every sphere of public life. It is important to see the issues through public policy angle and need to act on it. In his presentation he highlighted the public policy issues and gave numerous examples to clarify the participants. During the session he also shared about having a lot of opportunity here in Nepal. He continuously raised questions on topics like why are we still poor and economically backward, what kind of policies should be adopted, and so on. Since the objective of the session was to help the participants identify new approaches to understand policy problems and developing solutions. This session allowed participants to dive deeper in policy issues. The session also helped participants to know the local issues in an alternative way which they were aware of it.

In his second session He talked about “Advocacy” and “Importance of Visual Advocacy”. He said Lobbying is a form of advocacy where a direct approach is made to legislators on an issue which plays a significant role in modern politics. Both lobby and advocacy increase the scope of influence to improve policies and achieve structural change. He further shared Issue for Advocacy, Advocacy and Lobby-Planning stages, issues of concern, collaborative learning by designing campaigns. During this session, we also showed 3 advocacy video made by Bikalpa and told the participant to identify such an issue for making a movie after the workshop. He also shared how Bikalpa started visual media tool for Advocacy and sensitize the public in different issues.

Suman Rai

In this session of leadership and Teamwork, the main focus was on team-building among the participants and to enhance their leadership potentials during fieldwork. Here, the facilitator used games to build conceptual understanding of teamwork. He also shared the importance of teamwork and how Film making is all about teamwork. Throughout the conversations in session, the participants delved into various unique perspectives and looked at how each individual has their own definition of leadership.

Mausam Rai

In this session the facilitator used different mode of practical artistic way to make understand the participants about acting. He said any artist need to have a discipline to focus on the things. He gave different situation to the group members and make them to act on it through practical demonstration. He also gave nine form of expression of drama tips for acting. These exercise and tips helped the students understand the nuances of acting and helped them in guiding their actors during film-making.

 Idea pitch by the participants

 Idea Pitch

During the workshop hours participants were constantly made think about the issues that they think were needed to be addressed. This made to help the participant to focus on idea of their own stories. In the idea pitch all the respected participants presented their idea stories regarding the public policy issued they were concerned about and out of them 4 idea stories were selected on a short film was to be made by the participants on these issues. Also, on this final day of workshop the participants were divided in to 4 groups were they had to work as team for their presentation of movies?

Throughout the all session the facilitators used participatory tools like games, exercises, individual reflection, group work, interactive discussions, films, role plays and other creative modes in workshop. Sessions were kept, interactive and had open conversations during the workshop. For the participants, the workshop was not only about the knowledge and skills they learnt, but also the relationships they had made. It was a splendid journey for them to meet and explore themselves with diverse identities together.

 Final Screening Day

The 3rd and final phase of Liberty films workshop, “Movie Premier” was held at the Gorkha Department Store Hall Damak on 15th of June, 2019. During the screening, 4 movies made by the graduates during the workshop were showcased. The short movies were based on themes of Regulatory Hurdles, Individual privacy, Impunity and public perception and Barrier to livelihood. The program saw more than 181 attendees during the program. After screening each movie, the members were introduced on-stage and they shared their experience and anecdotes during the making. The program was hosted by Mr. Basanta Adhikari and the program was presided by eminent local personalities that included Mr. Arjun Rai (Provincial Member of Parliament), L.P. Joshi (Local Cinema personality and Choreographer) and Mr. Bhesraj Neupane (Founder of Damak Public Library).

While addressing the audience during the welcome speech, Mr. Neupane welcomed and thanked all the attendee presented at the premier. He said that it was the collaborative hard work of all the trainer and participants which made the output possible in such a short time. “Since Damak Public Library is always working towards enhancing the capacity and empower the youth, this type of programs will help to foster their knowledge in the field of visual media.” He added. He also mentioned that they were happy to collaborate for such a program and was hopeful of brining more programs of this nature in coming future. Mr. L.P. Joshi shared his thoughts about the film making workshop being held in Damak. It reminded him of his early days of working in Nepali movie that was shot in Damak. He also choreographer in the second Nepali feature movie. At the end, the closing remarks were given by Arjun Rai where he stressed that these types of program not only helped in imparting knowledge but also helped in raising social issue happening in our society. The program was attended by various local media personalities. After the screening, the graduates and artists involved in the movie were presented with certificates and token of love from the guests of the program.

Challenges faced

One of the biggest challenge for us an organizer was to commit 2 weeks of time outside Biratnagar.

Since it was mid-summer, the temperatures were close to 40 degrees Celsius and the accommodations were poorly equipped for handling 30 participants in such sweltering heat. It stretched our budget beyond our comfort and also caused a great deal of inconvenience for the organizers. We realized that we need to take season into consideration while conducting such training now onwards.

The other challenge for the organizer to keep track of all the participants after the group division to make a video. Some of the participants didn’t show during the movie shooting.

As it was June, very hot season in the Terai region of eastern Nepal, it was difficult for the resource person and the participants to cope with the situation during training and the field work.

Participant’s Testimonials

Panas Adhikari    

I experienced the joy, challenges, resource-management and building team-spirit while working in a team during this workshop. Apart from that, I learnt how to handle camera and manage creativity and time during film-making. As a result of this workshop, we at Damak Public Library have decided to make an awareness film on social issues very soon. We are eternally grateful to Team Damak Public Library and Team Bikalpa an Alternative for such a wonderful experience.

Sajan Chamling Rai

I found myself more knowledgeable and confident after attending the workshop. It was helpful and innovative at the same time. Firstly, I was enthusiastic about learning photography but the excitement increased further when we were told that we would be divided into teams to make a new movie. Before that we were given basic ideas and information on film making. The teaching method and presentation was effective enough to make us understand.

The video presented helped us visualize many aspects of filmmaking. Another USP of the program was its emphasis on practical aspect through photo film and one-minute movie-making during the workshop. The negative aspect from my point was the use of English language in slides which could be problematic for many to understand. Also, editing sessions were very extensive and technical. Finally, lack of adequate numbers of laptops and DSLR impeded some effectiveness from the program. Beside that the overall experience of the workshop was fruitful for me.

I am now looking forward to making an art movie. I have a dream to conceptualize a short movie that would inspire the world. I would like to highlight problems of every sector of this country through my movie.

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