In the last week of January, a team from Katarat Ebdaa went to Yemen to train young, aspiring filmmakers develop their talent. Carl Weibe, CEO and Creative Director, and Magy Saeed, Director of Talent Development, Katarat Ebdaa report from Yemen ITDC (International Training Development Centre), a Yemen-based NGO, undertakes several initiatives in the country. One […]
In the last week of January, a team from Katarat Ebdaa went to Yemen to train young, aspiring filmmakers develop their talent. Carl Weibe, CEO and Creative Director, and Magy Saeed, Director of Talent Development, Katarat Ebdaa report from Yemen
ITDC (International Training Development Centre), a Yemen-based NGO, undertakes several initiatives in the country. One of their recent initiatives was to bring a production team down to Yemen to train young filmmakers and, in turn, equip them to train others. Katarat Ebdaa was approached for the project.
When we reached there, we discovered talented young men and women wanting to make a difference in their communities through the media. They did not just want to learn how to shoot, they wanted to share that information with other people who had the same aspirations as them.
Adeeb Ahmed Mahyoub, Marketing and Projects Manager for ITDC says there has been no filmmaking in Yemen for the last three years although “interest is strongly increasing now”.
“Our role is to raise awareness about media in schools, colleges, and among the youth. This training programme was aimed at providing talented youth with a simple introduction to filmmaking in order to change their preconceived notions about the media. This training helped us in getting a better insight into the craft of filmmaking. I will personally use what I learnt to create awareness films and positive films. I will help the youth who have very limited knowledge of the media to learn more. I want to transfer all the information we received to them so that they will learn and, in turn, educate others.”
The 45-hour production workshop, which was attended by 10 aspiring filmmakers, included lectures, hands-on training and the production of short films. The workshop covered the production process, camera equipment, story-telling, interviewing, lighting, audio and editing. This was in addition to stressing the values of teamwork, good planning, creativity, and other principles that are essential to filmmaking.
In recent months, there has been a surge in the number of documentaries, short films and comedy series from Yemen.
Sharif Saleh Mohammed, a third-year student at the Faculty of Arts expressed optimism about the future of media in the country.
“We have very talented youth and with the right training and equipment, we can make a difference. I joined this workshop to learn about production and pave the way for the future of filmmaking in my country.”
Ahmad Al Mekhlafi, a well-known actor in Yemeni TV drama serials, who is also involved in graphic design, added that he was committed to furthering filmmaking in the country.
“I liked the exposure we got to the latest production systems in the market. I plan to produce my own productions and participate in other projects as well. I have big dreams.”
Filmmaking in Yemen is not without its challenges. There is a dearth of both human and financial resources. In addition, the paucity of equipment in the market whether for buying or renting, hinders productions. Qualified experts that are able to provide adequate training and mentoring within the country are few and far between. I was impressed by the fact that the Yemeni filmmakers made do with the equipment they had. The lack of tripods, the availability of only consumer cameras used in homes and limited lighting equipment did not discourage them. They were willing to forge ahead to create films.
This workshop exposed the filmmakers to some professional cameras and editing capabilities and helped them understand how they could potentially use the tools they had more creatively.
ITDC in consultation with the Katarat team secured some Sony cameras, Manfrotto tripods, and simple lighting instruments made locally, to help the young filmmakers practice their craft. Additionally, Apple Macintosh computers running FCP editing software completed the basic equipment set-up for the training. Our team provided in-depth training on the technical side.
Maha Ahmed Al Omari, a local female attendee and filmmaker rues the lack of media courses in local universities.
“We need more courses and colleges that teach media,” she says.
“Such workshops will reshape filmmaking in Yemen because it is creating something from nothing. I will keep updating myself and learn more online.” she adds.
Moussa Ahmed Abdellah, a graphic designer and legal accountant sees the importance of using filmmaking to make a positive impact on society.
“I will work hard to communicate messages that will benefit the community by spreading awareness through modern media. I love this field. I have ideas and messages that I want to communicate. I need to learn how to film so that I can communicate my ideas. We hope to see a stronger industry in the future espeacially in documentaries,” she says.
Magy Saeed, Director of Talent Development at Katarat Ebdaa was also impressed by the commitment and willingness to learn.
“Met them, taught them, coached them, listened to them and shared their dreams. I was amazed not only by the talent they possess, but with the passion that drives them. They produced short films on issues that disturbed them, issues that they wanted to communicate to their communities, and did not know how. Their passion for wanting to train others is very strong. I was asked by many of them if they could teach what they had learnt. It was clear we will be back again to help them train others or what we call “train the trainers”.
The Katarat Ebdaa team will return to Yemen this month to work with five selected filmmakers in equipping them as facilitators to be able to train others on the basics of filmmaking. ITDC will sponsor a series of youth development training initiatives during this summer, a key element of which will be filmmaking, with the objective of empowering them to train others.