The Camara Chica (which broadly translated in English means ‘Little Cameras’) film programme, develops the skills of educators and community leaders to teach digital filmmaking to young people; and introduces young people to filmmaking and visual storytelling.
Watching and making ﬁlms enables young people to develop an understanding of different cultures by introducing them to exciting new people and worlds that are different from their own. Making ﬁlms can help young people think on their identities and view their own communities with a fresh perspective.
This programme provides ample opportunity to organise and plan but also encourages discovery and improvisation. It provides a great opportunity for young people to work with their friends or peers and build trust and respect. Everybody is able to join in, and all can bring their creative thinking, writing, editing, ICT, organising and production skills. In this way a strong team can be formed of imagination, co-operation, and productivity.
We began 2023 with implementing this project in Jaffna, with the support of the Zonal Education Office, Jaffna, and working with delivery partners Anomaa Rajakaruna, Sri Lankan filmmaker and Into Film, UK.
The trainer training of six educators and two mentors (Filmmakers) took place from 26 to 30 January. The children’s workshops were then conducted from 06 to 10 February, where 30 students were trained. The three schools taking part in the project are Jaffna Vembady Girls College, Jaffna Hindu College, and Jaffna Atchuveli Convent. In the final stage of the project, the young people from each school will produce a short documentary on the theme of ‘Environment / Climate Change’ from 02 to 06 March.
An earlier cohort of fifty-five young people and five educators were trained in Colombo, early 2022 despite the covid and economic challenges, through a hybrid training model. Three schools from the British Council UK Exams network were selected to take part in this programme, they were, Wycherly International School, Ilma International Girls School, and Elizabeth Moir School.
The legacy of the Camara Chica programme in Sri Lanka, is a cohort of eighty-five young people with improved filmmaking skills and eleven educators empowered to continue supporting young people in their schools with filmmaking beyond the life of the training project. It also created a professional skills exchange between UK film practitioners overseen by Into Film UK, and nine filmmakers in Sri Lanka who were mentors on this project.
Previously the project has run in Cuba, Venezuela, Nepal, Egypt, Rwanda, and Pakistan. This programme is highly flexible, using established core elements but responding to local conditions and opportunities.
Filmmaking is an absorbing, challenging and powerful creative process that can expand young people’s understanding of what is possible. It’s more than a journey: it’s an adventure!