About Participatory Movies

The concept of participatory movies
The participatory movie method was applied in three of the four case study regions as part of the research trip in the beginning of 2012. The movies were produced to illustrate the local problem-based solutions that could be transferred. The concept of participatory movie making means that local stakeholders by themselves make a movie on their living conditions, problems they cope with in the region and what kind of solutions they figured out to overcome these problems. The methodology has been developed by Don Snowden in 1969 and has been established as a tool of community interaction since. The community members volunteered to make most parts of the filming and decided on which content is most important. As none of them had sufficient experience, they were introduced in central techniques and camera handling by the CiVi.net team. Jeanine Reutemann always accompanied them during the filming to improve their technical skills in the process.

Participatory movies in the case study regions
In the four case study regions the process of the participatory movie method actually resulted in three movies. Especially in Marujá (Brazil) the participatory video production worked excellent. The involved directors, the interviewed stakeholders and the local community were all very enthusiastic about the production process and the movie itself. Due to the confined area on the island, all locations of the movie where easy to reach. At the last day of the case study visit a raw cut of the film (20 min) was shown to the wider community. It was highly attended and a big success.

In both Tocantins (Brazil) and Osa (Costa Rica) the shooting and production of the participatory movies also lead to satisfying results, though it needed more supervision and technical support of the CiVi.net team in some parts of the stages of the production process (story line, shooting, interviewing and editing). During the visit to the case study regions it was not possible to finish a raw cut version of the movies and they could not be shown to the local communities. In these two case studies, the filming was done partially by stakeholders, CSO staff and Jeanine Reutemann. This will be done when the editing of both movies has been finished.

Unfortunately in Santa Catarina (Brazil) it was not possible to generate a video of sufficient quality to be useful for the purposes of CiVi.net, due to the constraints given by the site visit organization such as the large amount of travel between the spread out locations of the different farms. In particular, due to the lack of stakeholder input, the video would have been an “outsiders” view and thus not suitable to facilitate communication between different farmers. It is an inherent problem of participatory methods that they carry the risk of failure in case the participants do not agree with the pre-defined methodological decisions made at proposal stage already.
In general the time of the case study site visit was too short to do a proper editing of the videos and hardly sufficient to do all the filming. All three videos are longer than initially planned (approximately 20 minutes each). The final version of the video is shared as a youtube link on this website and will be distributed to the communities in higher quality on DVD.