Tag Archives: video

On day 12


At Makerere University

Everything ran late, of course; the boys didn’t ask any questions; and we spent about four hours on I don’t know how many buses. But I think it was worth it.

First, we had to get the filming done – by now though, I can delegate most of it to the students, who get to practise focusing and close-ups while the schoolkids wiggle their little hips yet again to that same school song, grimacing worriedly at the camera because all the teachers keep commanding them to SMILE!

Next, to Makerere Art Gallery, inside the wonderfully peaceful grounds of one of the oldest universities in Africa. Continue reading

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Edit suite

Edit suiteThe guys are getting into editing, even if we still haven’t been able to find a desk, never mind a room. In the meantime, I started teaching the primary 3 class (7-10 years old).

It’s quite weird working with people who have never actually held a camera before (lesson number one: on/off button), and kind of special when you hear the “wow” that comes out when they see something through the viewfinder for the first time. Kids – these ones, at least – are not too bothered about seeing what they’ve actually photographed, so we haven’t learned that part yet; just being the one to press the button seems to be enough. Continue reading

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Beautiful game


Barefoot works best for this goalie

In the middle of Kazo there’s a bare expanse of land, next to the market and just before the bus stand, known as the playground. Every day a different assortment of bright-coloured school uniforms populates the grounds for P.E. class. Yesterday, it hosted the semifinal of the first ever UYWEFA cup.

UYWEFA set up the education centre I’m based at, and the football tournament is its latest venture. A condition of joining a team is to be working, so that there are teams of butchers, market-sellers, taxi drivers, teachers, and different groups of boda-boda (motorbike) drivers. Yesterday’s match saw the Butchers edge ahead with a 1-0 victory over the Tomato-sellers. Continue reading

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In their hands

Photo by Daniel

It’s been four days now, each day inevitably starting with my frustration at someone arriving an hour or two late, someone joining unannounced, or someone not turning up at all. But so far, the people I’m working with – late teens to early 20s living in the neighbourhood, many of whom have dropped out of school – have lifted my mood pretty quickly. They speak good English, some have done film-making before, and they do listen – even, some of them, to my pleas to stick to some sort of timetable.

Our resources are pretty limited: we sit on benches under a tin roof that deafens out any hope of discussion when it rains, next to a school full of endlessly chanting/screeching 3-7 year-olds; we have access to one power socket when the P1 classroom is free; and we’re relying on my DSLR plus a few point-and-shoot cameras donated by generous London friends. Continue reading

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The right to shine

Not for saleWhat did you learn today?, I asked Jennifer, aged 9. We learned about child abuse, she replied. Bit of a conversation killer, that one.

I’m supposed to be blogging about human rights today – part of the global Blog Action Day. I’ve only been in the country three days, though, so I’m not exactly a voice of authority. But surprises – like the primary three curriculum – have given me some indication of what issues Ugandan bloggers might be discussing.

Like the scrawled not-for-sale signs on houses and plots nearby, defensive and angry at developers trying to buy their land. In some cases, they use fake documents to kick them off, I was told; people who can’t afford a lawyer are powerless. Continue reading

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Dar experience: the movie

It wasn’t even my idea, though my list-making mania has rightly been pointed out: my group chose to make  a film that is really only a list, the visual counterpart of what I had summed up previously in writing.

Anyway, a day of shooting and few painful days of editing later, here it is. Forgive the cheesiness, and don’t blink – it’s called “A short film” for a reason.

(More experiments over on the In video page.)

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Getting in the way

Tomorrow I’m off to the dark underbelly of Dar to capture on film the corrupt authorities at work, and the people paying them off.  Except I’m not actually allowed to go along: the others in my group, two Tanzanians, told me: “You should stay away”. People would be too suspicious if a white person was asking the questions or even within observing distance.

We’re lucky, though: we have James in our group – now a musician, he used to live on the streets himself and he knows exactly where to find the people who’ll be smoking joints and likely to be paying bribes to the police. Continue reading

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Her brown shoes

Today, in my first video storytelling class, the tutor showed us this video – an example of what a woman in Sierra Leone made when they sent her off with a camera to record something about her life. I love it.

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