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Source: Anomaa Rajakaruna

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. 

Towards the end of this project, the participants have produced six thought-provoking ‘Environment’ themed documentaries. The certificate distribution ceremony took place at the prestigious National Film Corporation cinema.

This project polished and refined the skills of the 45 students and six educators from Elizabeth Moir School, Ilma International Girls School, and Wycherley International School, who were mentored by four Sri Lankan filmmakers.

This project was a collaboration between the British Council Sri Lanka, Into Film UK, and Sri Lankan filmmaker, Anomaa Rajakaruna, to mark #UKSL75 celebrations.

 The nine short documentaries include:

Camara Chica fellows at a project site

The Silent Killer

The film reveals the hidden dangers of air pollution in Colombo, exploring its consequences, causes, sources, and solutions through insights from environmental experts, highlighting its pervasive impact on the environment and society. To watch it, click here.

The More You Grow

Unravel the secrets of thriving local home gardens as we delve into the world of passionate home gardeners. This documentary showcases the diverse ways and numerous rewards of cultivating food at home, from fostering a deeper connection with nature to reaping the delicious, nutritious benefits of homegrown produce. To watch, click here.

Bleeding in Silence

The film reveals the concealed crisis where period poverty intersects with environmental degradation. It explores affordable and sustainable menstrual solutions, transforming lives and fostering a healthier planet for a more equitable future. To watch, click here.

An Earthen Odyssey

Discover the artistry of Sri Lanka's ancient pottery traditions as we delve into the heart of a dying craft. Unearthing Sri Lanka's pottery heritage, this documentary explores the rich history, ecological sustainability, and environmental impact of pottery-making. To watch, click here.

Fabric of Change

As the Fast Fashion industry spirals out of control, embark on a captivating journey into the heart of Sri Lanka's fashion revolution. Showcasing sustainable design pioneers as they meticulously work towards crafting eco friendly fashion, stitching a narrative of sustainability. 

This documentary weaves together their efforts to heal the environment, aiming to inspire communities to embrace conscious choices and create a greener future. To watch, click here.

The Urban Sponge

Colombo's renowned wetlands, crucial for urban sustainability, are in decline due to rapid urbanization. In this documentary, experts discuss imminent threats and suggest community steps for wetland conservation. To watch, click here.

Wings

Synopsis:

Migratory birds make voyages each year that stretch over thousands of miles because of their inability to survive the harsh winters. Around 230 species of birds migrate to Sri Lanka from December to March. They mainly come to mangroves in Jaffna, Mannar and Bundala. Migratory birds play several essential and indispensable roles in the ecosystem as they reside and travel through. They are a source of recreation for millions of bird watchers, help in pest control, and act as an indicator of global changes.  But nowadays they are endangered due to some activities caused by humans such as destroying their habitats, clearing of mangrove areas, disposing garbage and widening of roads. According to some statistics, the percentage of migratory birds which visit SriLanka have been gradually decreasing over the past few decades. To watch, click here.

The Invader

Parthenium is an exotic weed  which started spreading out in the mid 80's in Sri Lanka. Farmers and animals of war affected regions in the Northern part of Sri Lanka are affected by the weed.  Its toxicity causes irritation to skin initially and there are other long term respiratory diseases as well.  Academics, researchers, medical doctors, rural farmers and  social workers  are concerned about the widespread use of the weed. Therefore, it's important  to create awareness about Parthenium. To watch full documentary, click here.

An Eco Friendly Choice

Banana is one of the most well-known and useful plants in the world. Almost all the parts of this plant; fruit, leaves, flower bud, trunk, and stem, can be utilized. The fibre extracted from the stem of the banana plant is used for production of different products including bags, book covers...etc. To watch full documentary, click here.

Project details

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! 

Click below to read more about the Camara Chica programme that held in other parts of the world.

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