Since the success of the Media Camp in Weymouth this summer (which had developed from the citizen journalism workshops I’ve been producing with Watershed since March 2011) I was invited to be part of the two-person team running a Film Journalism workshop that took place at Watershed in late September as part of the Encounters International Short Film Festival. Young filmmakers, a photographer and aspiring writers applied for a place on this experimental project, the nine successful candidates winning a full pass to the festival and support from the Encounters team allowing them access to top directors, producers and cinematographers working in the short-film field in every genre – documentary, animation, comedy, fantasy…
They quickly became a team and their confidence grew visibly over a very short time as they approached delegates for interviews, reviewed new films and reported on Encounters workshop events. All the material they gathered was posted to Tumblr blog Inside Encounters but instead of using smartphones, as on our previous projects, the team had access to professional equipment, allowing them to produce high quality, edited film before posting – but they were up against a daily deadline so the pressure was on and days were very long! The Encounters staff also diverted some of the Festival delegates in the direction of our team to talk about their work with particular reference to film journalism so they had an eclectic and international mix that included magazine producers, a PR company, cultural bloggers and a web-editor.
The team used social networks to promote the blog and the hashtag #InsideEncounters brought a lot of traffic to the blog from people at the festival who gave very positive feedback about their work. The Encounters team were so pleased with the outcome that one of the team ‘performed’ some of the content as part of the introduction to the final Award Ceremony event.
There’s more about the project on my Watershed Citizen Journalism blog (several posts) and the participants work can still be seen on their blog