Expressive arts education empowers young people through giving them access to better means of expression and participation in public debate in their societies. With the widespread of social media as means of communication, video material acts as a central medium and amateur documentaries become a credible source of information and communication. While this could be useful for expression or awareness it could also be used in a manipulative way.
DEDI was engaged in 2015 in film training for young people with little access to film production and criticism. The workshops trained a number of young people from Qena city who produced 4 good short films. Working within a marginal context was up to our ambitions. Participants were more eager to experiment and learn, that some described it as “a life changing experience” and are already planning a new production apart from their coaches which make us optimistic about the desired sustainable lasting effect for this project. This gives us the confidence to repeat this project with some changes to avoid some difficulties and maximize our gain. We will maintain the same framework, working in a marginal area, partnering with experienced passionate trainers and ensuring that production equipment is available for participants after the workshop. We may though have to keep the age limit in the late teens as we were not able to recruit younger participants. We may also consider having longer time as participants needed some time to adapt to the long working hours. In addition, we will seek to partner with similar initiatives from Denmark. It could be on the level of participation or consultation or screenings capitalizing on Danish experience in documentaries.
We will go beyond this though. In 2016 as a part of the project we also: (a) support screenings of Danish films in Egypt and vice versa through film festivals and public space screenings and (b) possibly make use of Danish experience to raise the capacity of an Egyptian film school in some areas like sound engineering that needs some attention. This will be in the form of curriculum update or training for trainers.
This way we will this year cover a wide audience and a wide range of approaches. We will (a) directly train more amateurs on producing films, (b) ensure a sustainable better institutional education for students and (c) expose a wide audience in Egypt and Denmark to documentaries from the other side. It is anticipated that these tactics will enhance short film production in number and quality among young Egyptians, enrich taste for the public audience and expose Egyptians and Danes to each other’s films.