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Sindh Post Flood - Infrared

Sindh Post Flood - Infrared

This posting is a  brief on the Eckova Pakistan flood related activities.  We have been working in pretty much all areas in all four provinces since the beginning of the disaster, from Swat, Charsadda, Nowshera down to Dadu, Thatta, and every place in-between. The work has included documenting conditions on the ground as they evolve, interviews with affectees and some officials, living conditions, health issues, women, livelihood, water and food, and above all aid and distribution.

In addition to our own documentation of the disaster we have produced work for organizations such as International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF Canada), Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRS), Shine Humanity USA, Islamic Relief USA, Secours Islamique, Peacebuilders (working with RDF), John Snow Inc. (JSI), and others. We are just in the process of completing an aerial survey of all four provinces in conjunction with the army as things move into the rehab phase.

Although our primary activity is documenting events and conditions on film we have been directly involved in relief and survey efforts as well. The teams have been filming in  difficult terrain and reaching difficult locations by whatever means are available.

Here are some of the films produced:

We Will Rise Again – The official video for We Will Rise Again (Todd Shea, Atif Aslam, Lanny Cordolla), a tribute to the brave and courageous affectees of the floods that swept across Pakistan, who in the face of the most challenging circumstances know how to smile, help each other, through love and music.

Canada for Pakistan Flood – International Development and Relief Foundation working with relief efforts and fund raising for the Pakistan flood 2010. Film was shown at the gala fundraiser and on Omni TV telethon in October 2010

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Films for Fundraising

Film and video are important methods in communicating during a fund raising campaign.  A well planned film will show the problem or situation, people telling their stories, and showing real events and individuals.

People responding to the problem show how your organization is working to solve the problem and deal with the situation.

man with flood damaged house Charsadda Pakistan

Flood Disaster

What has been their experience?  What are the challenges? What is still needed?

You want your audience to identify with the challenge and that their involvement and donation can help to be part of the solution.  The film should convey some message of hope as well as the problem.

An effective fund raising film should:

  • Build credibility for the organization accepting the donations.  The donors want to feel assured that their money will be well spent and that the organization is honest and using the money or goods effectively.
  • Provide information on HOW to donate.  If you are collecting money – then how and where should they send it.  This can be done with a link to a website, or a phone number or address.  If you are collecting goods – then a website address may also be the best way to give detailed information.
  • Show real people and situations to build understanding and empathy in your audience.
  • Show success stories of how your organization is working to impact the problem
  • Give some vision of the future needs and activities.
  • Document the activities of your organization and how funds are being used.

How will your film be used?

There are several methods for using your fundraising film.

  • On your website to keep current and potential donors updated
  • At fundraising events
  • On Facebook to spread the word through social networking
  • On YouTube
  • In email newsletters
  • At board meetings and seminars
  • On television
  • On DVD to circulate via other person to person or small meetings

Eckova is currently working with several nonprofit organizations in Pakistan on films for the current flood disaster.  Please contact us for additional details.

Children in school

Children in school

Project documentation films are useful in documenting the progress, challenges, implementation and affect on the communities or project areas.  They are useful with donors, looking for extension on funds, building out pilot projects to new areas, interacting with the communities that were participating.  In a project documentation film it is useful to start this EARLY in the project – not just as an after thought as a project is coming to a close.

What to capture

It is important that as your project is implemented that you capture events, activities, before and after and people’s comments and reactions.  Here are a few examples:

  • The situation before you start your project – what does the location look like, what are comments from the community, what are the comments from the project manages. What are the specific challenges you are addressing in this project? Why was the project started?
  • The initial planning phases of the project – planning meetings, maps, investigations, surveys
  • Project milestones – presentations, visits from donors, opening of some facility or start of a new phase
  • Evaluation phase – near the end of the project. Get comments, footage and still shots of project interventions, interviews with community members and stakeholders, project managers

How to capture

Afghan women

Afghan women

Here are a few things to include in your planning.  I am including still camera as the initial method as the effective use of a still camera is a good first step for documenting your project.  Good, high quality and high resolution photos can be used as part of your project documentation film.

  • Develop the concept and plan for the film at an early stage so that you identify opportunities for photography and filming that illustrate the project methodology, challenges, solutions and impact.
  • Buy one or more cameras for your field staff.  For a still camera, the camera must takes at least 8 mega pixels resolution and is easy to operate with basic instruction.  A tripod is a useful addition and also a light reflector.
  • Get basic camera handling training to your field staff – care and operation of the camera, how to protect it from the elements, storing photos, types of shots that will be useful, how to frame best shots, lighting considerations.
  • Develop a work flow and methods for storing and labeling photos and footage throughout the project.  You must be able to find and identify the photos and footage that you plan to use in the film.
  • Get an ongoing relationship with a film production company that will visit the project for the specific milestone events or other key points in the project

Some samples

The Change Agenda: Faisalabad City District Government. Strategic Policy Unit (SPU) Education, governance, infrastructure, information systems. DFID funded project. 2002 – 2007

Coastal Communities: A delicate balance exists between the mangrove forests that line the Sindh coastline and the fishing communities that inhabit the region. Most of the communities are fishing villages, but a lot of their day to day living also involves the use of wood and other items from the mangroves. WWF Pakistan.

Eckova Productions offers services to NGOs, donors, civil society organizations in planning and implementing films for project documentation.  We offer workshops on Film Planning and Strategy for management level individuals in the development sector. Eckova has technical workshops for field officers and project managers in the use of still and video cameras for document projects.  If you are interested in either of these workshops for your organization please contact service@eckova.com to discuss the details.

By Sarwar Mushtaq

The revival of Documentary is an odd notion. Frankly, non fiction films have been popular from the inception of film making, and this spans across gender, age, generations, social and economic  strata. After sitcoms and soaps, most TV sets in homes are tuned to NatGeo or Discovery, so much so that both channels are now available in Hindi.  The genre enjoys immense popularity, but the marketplace (broadcast channels, ad agencies and corporations) are either slow or unable to recognize this, and the advertizing dollars are channeled exclusively to mindless entertainment programming. The change that we hope to see, and are seeing already now is movement in the film community itself, where film makers are coming forward and producing interesting, engaging and sometimes mind-blowing  pieces. Having moved away from descriptives and information based films, to real stories with real characters has made the whole process of nonfiction films a joy. The best stories (even for fiction) come from real life anyway and the satisfaction of a final piece that people can connect with and relate to, have made it a completely different and rewarding experience. I hope and expect to see the numbers of non fiction film makers grow quickly, young as well as old, new as well as experienced. My bigger hope is that the marketplace will wake up and smell the coffee. The eyeballs and viewership already exist.

Internationally, non fiction has already made its place in the mainstream marketplace, and is slowly occupying greater space. In Pakistan, we are catching up, getting both inspiration and encouragement from the global film landscape. Of course it helps that we are also finally moving away from the classic image of the Pakistani documentary as the visual of a man and his ox ploughing the field while a flute from PIA inflight music plays in the background.

The Filmmaking for Social Change (FFSC) project is designed to do exactly that. Create an ever growing number of independent film makers who get exposure not only to the process and magic of non fiction filmmaking but also how the genre can be used to reshape points view, behaviour, opinions, and sometimes lives of other individuals and entire communities. The experience of being on an international platform through LIDF, mingling with recognized directors and producers, and engaging an international and culturally diverse audience, all make a great contribution.

The whole exercise is also meant to be the starting point of a domino effect, where the 30 film makers who went through the program will inspire 300 more, and we will be able to conduct more such workshops more frequently to reach a greater number of aspiring filmmakers. The other aspect is that many of the youngsters watching these films and hearing the stories of the filmmakers (on TV or at screenings) are inspired to follow in their footsteps.

Sarwar Mushtaq is the founder and CEO of Eckova Productions producing documentary works focused on the human condition, especially poverty, children, and women against a South Asian backdrop. He has worked in a producer director capacity on films about the earthquake, first time voters, disappearing coastal communities, educating the girl child, afghan refugees, rites of muharram, madrassas, and others. Eckova implemented the project Filmmaking for Social Change 2010.

NGO Film Strategy Planning Workshop

  • Film is an important communication tool for nonprofits, and civil society organizations.
  • Film reaches the hearts and minds of decision makers, communities and supporters.
  • Films for advocacy, awareness raising and training are used throughout the world
  • Films for documenting/reporting on projects to donors and raising funds

You will learn:

  • How films are being used in the nonprofit sector
  • How to plan a film : film types, components of a film, styles, content, stages of film making
  • How to budget and pay for a film
  • How to plan film production
  • How to review and participate in the film editing
  • How to distribute your film including new media methods

This is a capacity building workshop with opportunities for discussion and interaction, viewing and discussing sample film clips. The workshop is appropriate for Communications Officers, Development Directors, Executive Directors, Programme & Project Managers.

Workshop is organized by Eckova Productions. Eckova has produced over 100 films for nonprofits as well as films on social issues. We focus on films that tell a compelling stories for an international audience.

About the Presenters: Sarwar Mushtaq, CEO of Eckova is an international consultant, trainer and filmmaker. He heads the new film department at Karachi University and recently trained and mentored 30 young filmmakers in “Filmmaking for Social Change”. He lectures full courses on film development in all its aspects. His films include “When the Mountains Moved”, “Thar the Living Desert” and “Madrassahs: Inside and Out” . Denise Davies is an international consulting working with nonprofits on internet and media strategies. She develops film concepts, distribution planning, media strategies and has directed films for NRSP, ActionAId and IUCN. Denise lectures internationally on strategy development most recently “Videos for Advocacy” at Coady International Institute, Canada.

Register for the workshop of your choice: Karachi, April 14-15 * Lahore, April 20-21 * Islamabad, June TBD

REGISTER ONLINE at http://www.eckova.com/NGOTraining

Registrations are limited and on a first come first serve basis. Please send an email to service@eckova.com with details of number of people attending which workshop you are attending. Details of the location will be provided on receipt. Payments may be made by Bank Draft or Cashier’s Check to “Eckova” Rs 19,500 per person or Rs 50,000 for 3 individuals from the same organization. Mailing Address: Eckova Productions, C13, Block B, Main Rashid Minhas Road, Gulshan e Jamal, Karachi.

Film Types and Objectives

Woman sewing while children look on. Stories create powerful connections with viewers

Films vary as to their purpose and objectives.  This will impact the type of film that you will make.

In the initial planning of a film decide on what type of film you want to make.  Who will be the primary audience for the film, and who are the secondary audiences.   What would be the distribution plan.  For example will the film normally be shown in small meetings, at seminars and as an opener with discussion following – or would it be shown on television or internet.   What would be the language requirements, the best length for the film, and formats.

  • Project documentation films are useful in documenting the progress, challenges, implementation and affect on the communities or project areas.  They are useful with donors, looking for extension on funds, building out pilot projects to new areas, interacting with the communities that were participating.  In a project documentation film it is useful to start this EARLY in the project – not just as an after thought as a project is coming to a close. (more )
  • Fundraising films – may be used with board members, distributed on DVD, used at meetings, seminars, conferences to show to target audiences.  Sometimes this includes one or more Public Service Announcements (PSA)s or different lengths / languages of films to suit the objectives.  A fundraising film should show the challenges and problems faced and how the organization is already working in this area – or plans to work in the area.  Success stories are a powerful method to show change in individuals lives and in the community.  People and organizations that have supported the project in the past want to know how their participation has impacted the problem and what are the future plans and strategies.
  • Awareness raising / Advocacy – these films are more to raise awareness in specific target audiences – e.g. community leaders, women, government officials at different levels, international audiences, children etc – there is some “call to action” or intent to change awareness, behavior and attitudes.
  • Training films – these may be used to train people in new communities, provide consistent training for project managers and programme managers, or to teach specific concepts and skills that can be effectively illustrated through film.  Films are useful in “Train the Trainer” programmes and can provide trainers with a tool they can use with their own training groups.

Eckova Productions works with organizations to create effective films to help you reach your objectives.  Please contact me if you have any questions regarding the type of film that would be appropriate for your need.  Denise Davies davies@eckova.com You may view samples of films on the website http://www.eckova.com

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