“When we were given the job to film in our community, it looked so impossible. I thought this was work for professionals. But after trying to film and having members of the community who are willing to be filmed, they encouraged me. And I realized…. it was possible”. Peter Anthony is member of the group of three young people who joined the Visual Journey project during the summer of 2021. They took their handphones, followed online modules that were developed by The Constellation’s partner Visual Development, and step by step started recording the story of a women’s group in their community.
The short movie “Dorcus beads: Bringing back Life” was launched on Saturday 13 November, online for a small international audience and offline in the community in presence of the new filmmakers and local movie stars.
Community films their own story of change – with a phone: It is Possible!
The audience was clearly touched by the result. Dorcus Beads’ community member Sarah after the movie: “It is so exciting to see that our capacity can go to this extend. We have seen Hollywood movies, and now we can see this is possible, here. I feel lifted to another level”.
Jean-Louis from Belgium said: “I think very often people would say no, that’s not possible that people in the community start telling their own story, using the materials they have. They have a smartphone! So here is the proof: This is possible, if you have the support of people who can really help, even from a distance. Imagine the possibilities that are unfolding! If those millions of communities start filming their own story! Wow! Then they can say: This is our story!”
Since 2018 The Constellation and Visual Development collaborate in making community movies in the As You Open Your Eyes Project. Restrained by Covid-19 measures, the filmers David and Jessica could no longer travel to get the community story. This actually created the opportunity for community members. The Constellation and Visual Development established the Visual Journey project, whereby local community members get trained, online, in filming the stories of change that are happening around them. We can now see community stories through their own lens.
Filmmaker and trainer Jessica: “This was the first time we actually handed over to the community the possibility to do the work … that was an interesting experience for us! It was a lot of fun to be able to help other people to tell their stories and take it in their own hands. We created a whole training for them. The most important thing was seeing the team grow; how they really got into it and how they are really enjoying it”.
Crew member Florence confirms: “I never knew how to film and how to interact with many people. I now have knowledge that I can use even in other places. This experience was just the very best I have ever had. I am very happy”.
Beside the film skills of the team, something else emerged. Lordy, SALT facilitator in Nairobi remarks how the community has grown their ability to recount their own story: “I was in that community some time back. I know how things are tough there. I really appreciate how the team was able to achieve a lot to share to us. I was just so happy when you listen to these stories you realise that the community now narrates their story differently from the first time you heard about it. When I now hear this it is like a new story again!”
iSiZ from Amsterdam was touched by that story: “This is a story of positivity, and how you can give that to each other. It is so inspiring to see how the women come together and create their own incomes and inspire each other. And even their husbands are realizing this is not just another idea. This is for real. Real things are happening, material things like buying land, building a house. That is so incredible – it is kind of magical to me”.
Filmer Anthony confirms that the main learning for him was from the community story: “It is so huge for me to hear members of the community talk about things that are outside them. Seeing someone go to their neighbour to share. This was encouraging for us in the Visual Journey. We don’t want it to end here. Also other communities need to learn from Dorcus Beads about love and about carrying each other’s burden. I am grateful for The Constellation. They helped us to realise we have the strength to support our families and our communities. May they reach other people in the world. Because this vibration, if it goes like that, the world would be a different place”.
The Visual Journey movie: ‘Dorcus Beads – Bringing Back Life’ can be seen here.