"I can't believe that I attended this camp. It's my first experience of a very creative camp", said Pan Myat Zaw, a journalist from Mizzima of Camp Chindwin, EngageMedia's Southeast Asia Video Camp in Bago, Myanmar.
The camp, which aimed to be a space for video activists and filmmakers from Myanmar to meet, interact and collaborate with video and filmmakers from the rest of Southeast Asia, brought nearly 40 people together in an interactive learning and collaboration environment for three days.
The participants were invited not only to learn from us, but to share their own experiences and discuss with others to understand our greatest challenges and opportunities. And to that end, the event was a great success, with the over 100 topics that were brought up.
One of the sessions I’d like to highlight is the discussion on violence against women, which was a collaborative effort between Dhyta and myself from EngageMedia, and filmmakers Nway Zarche from Myanmar and Ilang Ilang from the Philippines. We talked about how violence against women is one the main social problems in Myanmar today, and one person pointed out that out that even if we promote women’s rights, women in Myanmar women still don't have a basic concept of what they are. We collectively agreed that we have to conduct some activities for awareness of women’s rights in the near future.
And in that spirit of collaboration, the participants of the various sessions identified problems and suggested solutions. One of participants from Myanmar, filmmaker Thet Oo Maung said, “It’s a great camp for networking. We can gain a lot of knowledge by sharing with each other. Our region faces very similar issues and people in Myanmar can learn a lot from the experiences of other Southeast Asians. After what I’ve learnt from this camp, I have to try doing many new things."
The favourite moment for the participants was the “Banana Dance” by Prakkash from WITNESS. As a result of him teaching us how to “dance like a banana”, a group of camp-mates produced a cute short film called, ‘Kwayy Zuu Banana’ (Thank you Banana).
Everyone agreed that this very fruitful event shouldn't be our last chance to meet and work together, as there are still many ideas from it that need to be implemented.
With best regards from Myanmar,
I just got back from the EngageMedia's Southeast Asia video camp, Camp Chindwin in Yangon, Myanmar. We spent three fun days together, making many new friends from all across the region, sharing lots of skills and experiences, and trying out new food!
The camp-site itself, Bago Center, was quite unique with a kind of forest-kampong (village) scenery. And it is run by communities that live nearby. The locals were very warm and hospitable, and they served us delicious Burmese food which was almost always a mix of natural flavours and healthy vegetables.
Camp Chindwin was run in an unconference style, where all participants get a chance to join and propose their own sessions for sharing or discussion.
In one of the sessions, we learnt about new and secure apps for video production from our friend Arul Prakkash from WITNESS. Another cool session was a 101 introduction to video making with Kim Buy and co-production that was held by Josep Laban, an experienced filmmaker from the Philippines. And these were just some of the many interesting discussions that took place!
Even though the camp has ended we still have so much homework to do, including maintaining and nurturing this network of Southeast Asian video activists in the hope that someday soon, we will get to meet again!
Warmest regards from Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia,
Upon invitation from the Not34 Film Club, Crossroads, our video collection on migrant rights was screened with local activists in Penang, Malaysia. Penang, a Northern state which is one of the top tourist destinations in the country, hosts a great number of migrant workers seeking work in the businesses and development projects there.
The screening focused on the films Polis Pao and Perangkap, both of which were produced by Muhammad Mundir, an activist from the migrant community and participant in the Crossroads project, who also traveled up to help facilitate the discussion.
Polis Pao is a comic recreation of migrant run-ins with the police in Malaysia, including a local businesswoman's perception of the whole situation, while Perangkap tells the stories of two undocumented women migrant workers who are sexually harassed by some errant members of the police force.
The Malaysian audience found much they could relate to in both films, as police corruption and the abuse of authority are issues locals have to deal with on a constant basis as well. The activists also expressed that the equal rights of workers, such as minimum wage, should be basis for advocacy by locals and migrants alike.
The Not34 Film Club is keen to partner with EngageMedia to screen more films on migrant and other human rights to widen the discussion on social change in Penang.
Over the past month, Marcel Simok, one of the participants in Crossroads, our advocacy video project on migrant rights in Malaysia, has been holding screenings of the collection across Sabah, East Malaysia.
His travels brought him to several remote locations in the vast island of Borneo, where he shared and discussed the content of the films with various communities.
The first event was conducted with a selected group of NGO activists who are working on issues related to the plantation workers there, many of whom are migrants from Indonesia.
Next was a screening to students, teachers and volunteers in a school that was independently built to provide education to the children of migrant workers in Sabah. This was was an especially interesting event for the audience as the film Marcel had produced for Crossroads, 'School of Hope', was about the story of the school itself.
The last screening was held in a common area in the hills where many migrant workers gather. A feast was served for the attendees, who expressed after during the discussion that they found much relation to what fellow Indonesians were going through in the Malaysian peninsula.
Education opportunities for children who had followed their parents abroad was the main issue brought up at all the screenings in Sabah, one that remains critical and unresolved.
Crossroads, our collection of advocacy videos on the rights of migrants in Malaysia, was screened for the first time in Yangon, Myanmar.
A select group of 15 people attended the event, which was targeted at representatives from the independent media and migrant worker support organisations there.
The screening focused on the film, 'In Search of Shelter', which tells the story of how asylum seekers and refugees from Myanmar unite and combine resources to establish access to basic services like health clinics and primary schools for their children in Malaysia.
Members of the media such as Mizzima, Messenger Journal, and DVB had several questions on the production of the project, with Kamayut Media having published a video report which is available here.
Labour Rights Defenders & Promoters (LRDP) is keen for Crossroads to be screened during their training sessions in the industrial zones they work in, and we are looking forward to facilitating those and more similar events in Yangon in the near future.