Screen Stories of Conflict, Migration and Place was part of the Platforma North West Hub Learning Lab, delivered by Community Arts North West (CAN) in partnership with Counterpoints Arts and Highlight Arts under the Moving Worlds Film Programme.
Venue: HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place First Street Manchester M15 4FN
Date: 4 May 2016
This daylong event focused on the changing nature of digital storytelling and film production in the context of the Syrian civil war and other places of conflict. What motivates screenwriters, filmmakers and producers to engage in creative storytelling in the middle of a violent conflict? Or when experiencing and/or witnessing dramatic human displacement? What are the new methods of capturing and re-imagining stories of everyday life for people and places undergoing transition because of conflict?
2. Morning Workshop – Filming Syria
The civil war and scale of human displacement in Syria is one of the most YouTubed of conflicts. Despite Syria being a media-controlled territory before 2011, filmmakers, creative storytellers, journalists and eyewitnesses have against great odds produced and communicated extraordinarily moving screen stories.
This workshop focused on films made in or about Syria, exploring the notion of ‘home’ through the lens of first and second-time filmmakers. We looked at films produced within and against the backdrop of the civil war, discussing recurring themes and film language and approach. Clips were screened from films using low-budget mobile technologies that are reaching local and global audiences through social media, including entries from Syria’s Mobile Phone Film Festival, 2015.
2. Workshop themes include: Place-making and ‘home’ though film; film in conflict; Syria captured through a particular lens; creating a vision of a place through film; displacement; violence versus non-violence.
Workshop questions include: What kind of storytelling matters? What equipment matters? What different form or process does it take to make these films; Are they reactions to a situation or the emergence of a new aesthetic?
2. Afternoon Workshop – Widening the Lens
In the afternoon, we explored how the morning’s workshop themes related to everyday and local experiences of migration, displacement, conflict and home.
This was a practical workshop in which participants developed a short story idea from the first person perspective. Participants developed an understanding of the digital storytelling process. They explored the power of self-representation; digital storytelling as a self-advocacy tool; models and tools for constructing and telling a digital story; and the ‘how to’ and ethics of digital distribution.
3. Final session
In the final session, we explored together the future needs of the Platforma North West Hub in the context of building sustainable platforms for digital advocacy, storytelling, and arts for social change.
Queens of Syria Director, Yasmin Fedda | Jordan/UAE/UK | 2014 | 70 mins
Whilst the conflict in Syria continues and thousands have been displaced, Yasmin Fedda’s powerful documentary ‘Queens of Syria’ follows a group of women living in exile in Jordan as they prepare to perform Euripides’ tragedy, The Trojan Woman. Though separated by two thousand years and more, the uprooting, the enslavement and the bereavement suffered by the fictional queens of Ancient Greece mirrors the modern suffering of these ordinary, yet extraordinary women.
Aine O’Brien, Co-Director Counterpoints Arts in conversation with Yasmin Fedda, Director of Queens of Syria
For more information, please contact:
At CAN, Manchester: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
At Counterpoints Arts, London: firstname.lastname@example.org