About the Production of the film
“Training for All”
This paper describes some aspects of the production of the documentary film about a German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) Project called Promotion of Employment Oriented Vocational Training (PEVOT) in Uganda. This film was produced, shot and edited from the August 31st – October 10th in 2005.
The first part of this report deals with the preparation for the film. After that follows an overview of the production of the film. Due to shortness of space I concentrate here on the production at the pilot sites. The final part describes in brief future film project, which could in my opinion contribute to the success of the PEVOT approach.
1. The Preparation
On the 11th of August 2005 I read an email from Matthias Giersche who proposed to produce a documentary film about the Local Skills Development (LSD) approach under PEVOT. On the 31st of the same months, I was on the plane to Uganda. The short period of time that was in between these two dates demonstrates how quickly the GTZ worked out the Terms of References and the Contract. In this regard I must especially thank Fiona Musana at PEVOT and Sigrun Ndiaye at the GTZ Headquarter who contributed a lot to the quick realisation.
After having arrived in Kampala, I was introduced to the PEVOT staff and Mr. A.G. Musamali who has written a Script, which I was supposed to follow briefly in producing the film. After discussions with him and a meeting of the PEVOT staff, changes were proposed to Mr. Musamali. During the next week the scriptwriter was working over the script and I started to shoot the scenes for the introduction.
2. Filming at the LSD Pilot sites
2.1 Filming at Bbowa
At Bbowa we held a meeting with all trainees and trainers where we explained our intentions of producing a film about LSD. The presence of the film team was highly appreciated. Everybody was cooperating during our shooting and nearly everyone wanted to be interviewed or at least to be filmed. The shooting at Bbowa was unique in the way that this was the only site were the scriptwriter has done research and scripted the content of the interviews and statements. Due to this preparation we were able to shoot the material accordingly to the text. This had the advantage of filming in a more organized way then at the other sites. The disadvantage of that was that we told people what to talk about. Though somehow still flexible how the statements finally sound – it happened that speakers were interrupted and advised to stick on the script. In the end product the nature of this staged-documentary approach created scenes, which could not be included in the film.
2.2 Filming at Rukore
The filming at Rukore was unique in the way that we arrived in the morning and every group seemed to be ready for the shooting. After a similar introduction of our intention like at Bbowa, we started filming and a few hours later we have finished our program. Because we did not have a clear concept about which person of each group we want to interview, we (that is Mr. Maxwell Kamanyire and myself) made inquiries in every group. After that we told the selected persons (sometimes we selected speakers, at other times the group proposed speakers) what we are going to ask them. By this approach the person interviewed had some time to think about his or her answer. At no point we interrupted the person interviewed in order to present a different answer like we did in Bbowa. Nevertheless we did tell to some of the speakers to answer again and asked them to do so in a shorter way. Personally I enjoyed filming in Rukore the most, mainly due to the more explorative approach of filming.
2.3 Filming in Mityana
The filming at the third pilot site started completely differently then at the other sites. Arriving there we heard rumours of gossip about our intention of producing the film. Two people spread the idea that we came for taking pictures in order to make money out of the material. This combined with a scenery that was nearly totally empty while arriving gave me a doubtful impression about whether the film production was welcomed. Nevertheless, this first impression proved to be wrong. After about an hour we decided to start our filming with the facilitator. After that, more people were coming and we were able to shoot the learning groups as well. In the end the people in Mityana were cooperating. Like at the other pilot site it was the case that nearly everybody wanted to be filmed or interviewed.
3. The process of editing
After finishing shooting I had 11 days left for the process of editing, including screening the material and capturing it onto the hard disk. I was really happy, that already during the shooting period I made pre-selections and organisation of the filmic material.
The editing was done mainly at the PEVOT office and in the evening hours at my home. Like in the field Mr. Maxwell Kamanyire was of great assistance not only because of his translations of the material but also because of advice concerning the selection of the recordings at the pilot sites.
On the 4th of October the first cut was presented to the PEVOT staff and the Ministry of Education. The viewers made fruitful comments on how the film could be improved. The last two days in Uganda, the hours in the plane and transit as well as the remaining 3 days in Germany I used to follow these suggestions and to export the film on DVDs.
4. Field Version and other film ideas
Soon during the production I realized that because of the given length limit of 20-25 minutes only very few interviews, which were shot at the pilot sites, can be included in the film. Also only half of the learning groups are present in the end version. This fact led to the request of the LSD staff to produce a longer field version. In two meetings this issue was discussed. Even though very different opinions about the value of this second version were presented it was agreed to produce at least a collection of footage material in which all the learning groups can be seen and all persons interviewed are to be heard. Personally I think that such a second field version has great value because it has great value for the trainees and trainers in the pilot sites.
Even though I am aware that not everybody at PEVOT shares my opinion about the opportunities that is inherent in the medium film as a way of communication with the local communities I want to suggest to think about future film projects. I see high potential in a documentary that presents a closer, more personal view of some of the learning groups. A unstaged documentary that follows the formation of groups, the selection of a resource person and the developments of the individual group members up to the final session of the groups would present a more detailed picture of the impact of the LSD approach. This gives the chance of presenting the success of the groups to an interested audience as well as to viewers who have doubts concerning the value and impact of LSD. Because of the fact that such a film can present also the challenges that LSD has to face it is a also a way of doing research and the result then can be used in order to argue for a continuation of the approach or to discuss adjustments of details to be made. Last but not least such a film project would contribute significantly to the perceived social worthiness of the group members in their role of learners and teachers. What has been called the magic of cinema can thereby contribute significantly to the opinion about LSD and therefore could lead to success of the approach.