Educational - Getting the Message Out

During the 2014 American Film Week, LPFF and the US Embassy held a workshop instructed by Ramona Diaz, a well-known American documentary filmmaker who came to Laos with the American Film Showcase. The topic of the workshop was using short video clips on social media to get a message or information out into the world.

Selected from non-governmental organizations and local associations, 15 participants were given background on the basics of non-fiction filmmaking, from camera angles and techniques to more theoretical issues, such as ethnics and the filmmaker's responsibility to their subjects. Once this foundation was laid, Diaz dove into how organizations can use equipment as simple as mobile phones to make very short videos meant for social media (Facebook, Twitter, websites) about their activities or communities they work with. During the course of the workshop, participants presented video ideas to the group, which were then developed, later shot on mobile phones, screened for each other, and critiqued. In many cases, these short videos are now being used by the participants'respective organizations.

The workshop was a fun and interesting opportunity for local organizations to learn how to engage with supporters, target communities, and international audiences via modern technology. In a time when social media is arguably the most effective tool for communication, these organizations were given skills to use it to their greatest advantage.