2009 workshops

1: Munich, Germany (February 2-6, 2009)
2: Malacca, Malaysia (February 4-8, 2009)
3: Dakar, Senegal (April 2-6, 2009)
4: Cape Town, South Africa (April 4-8, 2009)
5: Kyrgyzstan (April 27 - May 1, 2009)
6: Dhaka, Bangladesh (May 31 - June 4, 2009)
7: Berlin, Germany (May 2-5, 2009)
8: Astana, Kazakhstan (July 8-12, 2009)
9: Niamey, Niger (July 25-29, 2009)
10: Donetsk, Ukraine (August 17-21, 2009)
11: Christ Church, Barbados (August 25-29. 2009)
12: Straseni, Moldova (September 7-11, 2009)
13: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (September 24-28, 2009)
14: Hanoi, Vietnam (October 22-26, 2009)
15: Budva, Montenegro (November 2-6, 2009)
16: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (November 16-20, 2009)

Budva, Montenegro - 9.00 AM on a beautiful Monday morning in late autumn. 20 children and teenagers from all over Montenegro have gathered in a workshop room overlooking the Adriatic Sea, ready to start a five-day workshop that will give them new insights into film-making and visual story-telling.

The topic of the workshop is "children' rights" and there could not be a better time for all this, taking into account that this month, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) turns 20 years old. There will be celebrations and festivities in almost every country of the world, and here in Montenegro, this workshop is part of it.

By the end of the week, the young people will have produced 20 OneMinutesJr videos in which they present their own personal views on the CRC and the way they children's rights in real life.

After a short introductory session, the trainers show some OneMinutesJr videos from other workshops that were held in recent years on the Balkans. Rather than showing too many videos from far-away countries and continents, it is usually easier for the children to relate to stories and images that look and sound familiar. So in this case, the films produced in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2008 and those from Albania (2006) and Serbia (2007) are of special interest to the participants.

The 20 young people were selected by UNICEF Montenegro in cooperation with the local NGO "Forum Mladi i Neformalna Edukacija - Forum MNE" (Forum for Youth and Non-Formal Education). The youngest participant is 10 years old, the oldest one is 17. They come from the capital Podgorica, from Herceg-Novi, Bar and Ulcinj on the coast and Berane, Mojkovac, and Niksic from central Montenegro. Some of them have disabilities, some come from difficult social backgrounds and some others speak three, four or even five different languages. A very mixed group, which is perfect to break down stereotypes not only with the finished products, the films, but also in the production process.

In the afternoon, we start the individual sessions with the participants. This is where they have to bring their ideas forward and explain to us why they have chosen these very ideas instead of millions of other topics that could have come to their minds. It is the most interesting part of the workshop - the brain-mapping, brain-storming, soul-searching.

There is Robert, who wants to make a video about the fear some children have of their parents. He tells us about a case of suicide he knows about where a girl could not live with the pressure at home anymore. Nikoleta (15) from Podgorica will make a film about friendship and why it is so important to her. Marianna (14), a blind participant from Mojkovac, tells her own story when she says "You have to try and try harder to get where you want to get." Although being blind, Marianna plays the piano very well and will even create her own video soundtrack.

Sara (14) and Blazo (16) will complain about the lack of attention that is paid to children and their issues in society. And Milos (14), who has already undergone 10 surgeries in his life because one of his legs is 6 centimeters shorter than the other, will produce a film about health issues and how fortunate he is to live in a country where help is available and affordable.

Lights are out at 10:30 PM, but only because the participants are preparing for a surprise birthday party for Tijana, who turns 14 today. Most of the story ideas have been bounced back and forth by now, so that the music plays and the workday is over.

Budva, Montenegro - November 2, 2009 - Chris Schuepp

read the workshop blog