Monday, June 29, 2009

David and Rayanne leading the way in the Video Letter Project..

June 29, 2009
Friday/Saturday Luta Pela Paz

You really never know what to expect when you arrive at Passarela Nove and Avenida Brazil. The streets are hot on Friday's in Mare. Fridays are when Favelas usually have Baile Funk parties where a lot drug dealing take place. Everyone knows this; especially the police and you always see them patrolling the streets. We came with the hopes of continuing our filming outside Luta Pela Paz and within the Complexo de Mare. However, we got word early that things weren't too safe so we couldn't film outside of the walls of Luta Pela Paz. We made the best of our situation and the kids did a great job filming the staff of Luta Pela Paz as well as boxing classes.

It's funny, while we clearly hear gunshots from M-3's and AK-47s 3 blocks away; the kids are only focused on the lesson plan we've prepared for them. They are extremely focused while violence is going on so close to home. It's also really pleasing because it means that they see what we are teaching them as much more interesting than what’s going on outside.

Saturday, I had an interview with Luke Downey founder of Luta Pela Paz. During the interview Luke talked about how the filming of the video card is not only having an effect on the kids, but the staff as well. They did a great job filming the staff at Luta Pela Paz. They went around and had each member introduce themselves and their position. It was pretty awesome. They held it like an interview and asked the staff members why they are doing what they are doing. They are really taking control of this project. Luke explained after the kids filmed that scene how many of the staff members were in tears. They’re so proud of them and know this is a rare opportunity for them. It was great to hear that coming from the founder of Luta Pela Paz.
So while the day in Mare started off on a violent note, what went on in Luta Pela Paz had a greater impact on everyone’s day.

Joel Malebranche
New School University, New York

Sunday, June 28, 2009

No Rio, Maré.

“Pedro vivia da pesca saia no barco seis horas da tarde só vinha na hora do sol raiar”. O mar, Dorival Caymmi.

Sexta-feira, 26 de junho, chegamos para mais um dia de filmagens na Favela da Maré. Apesar do nosso atraso, um bom número de estudantes nos esperava para o início da aula, que estava programada para falarmos um pouco sobre edição, analisarmos melhor a vídeocarta sobre os índios da Amazônia e, enfim, sairmos pela Nova Holanda para filmar aquilo que fosse importante para os estudantes. Apesar do tempo nublado, não chovia no Complexo da Maré.

As crianças não tinham dificuldade de compreender como funcionava o processo de edição quando começamos a ouvir alguns tiros serem disparados na rua, sinal de que mais uma vez teríamos que mudar os planos da aula por falta de segurança na comunidade. Nosso grupo estava dividido, Teresa e Simone estavam no Observatório das Favelas arranjando um computador com configuração para suportar os programas de edição e agora não podiam caminhar até a sede do Luta pela Paz, que fica do lado oposto da comunidade.

De alguma forma tiroteios como o dessa sexta-feira já não alteram o emocional de ninguém ali. As crianças já estão acostumadas. Nós talvez precisemos de mais algumas semanas para ouvir passivamente os ruídos de uma AK-47. Como se não bastasse termos que nos preocupar com luz, chuva etc. temos que acompanhar o ritmo da favela. Com resignação seguimos nossos planos, aprendendo cada vez melhor a improvisar.

Ficou decidido que faríamos imagens internas, gravando Lucke, o fundador do projeto, e o treino de boxe que aconteceria na academia com alguns dos nossos alunos, inclusive. Sempre deixamos os estudantes livres para manusear as câmeras, porém, é necessário estarmos atentos à luz, ao foco e ao som para que as imagens possam ser aproveitadas com alguma qualidade no momento da edição. Nos surpreendemos, contudo, quando, ao entregarmos as câmeras para as crianças na academia de boxe, elas terem iniciado todo o processo de preparação de um take por conta própria. Como costumamos brincar: foi sucesso!

As crianças quando trabalham com pequenos grupos onde cada um tem uma função específica para a filmagem se organizam magnificamente. Trabalharam o texto, testaram o som, se preocuparam com o foco (apesar de não terem regulado-o) e ficaram atentos para não filmar espelhos ou as muitas pessoas que deveriam ficar por de trás da cena. Ficaram cerca de uma hora a sós com a câmera, sem qualquer interrupção. Comemoramos muito.

Em um dia em que a van que nos leva para a Maré não passava, que a TV para revermos nossos vídeos não funcionou, que tivemos uma briga entre alunos em sala de aula e no dia em que os tiros lá fora não paravam, obtivemos também a melhor resposta dos estudantes ao trabalho que vem sendo desenvolvido, nós com eles e eles conosco. Assim vamos aprendendo a lidar com a Maré. Vezes alta, vezes baixa, a Maré se impõe ali com a naturalidade que seu nome carrega, com a regularidade que só quem vive ali soube conhecer e se adaptar.

Fabio Cascardo
PUC University, Rio de Janeiro

Saturday, June 27, 2009

video

J. Alejandro Alvares from New School University in New York, teaching the kids basic film production before shooting

video
video
An energetic Lucas, great kid.. too small to really film though, but he can do some great presentations if he feels like it

Friday June 26th


Fridays are always pretty interesting in Complexo do Mare. We came in a little bit late, but luckily the children have a lot of things to play with at Luta Pela Paz. We found them all in the gym and they were ready for a new class. This was our schedule for Friday.

Icebreaker 2:00-2:15 – Telephone game/Micheal Jackson

Editing 2:15 – 2:30
• What are the basics of editing?
• What’s the purpose of editing?
• Why do you have to edit?
• We edit because for the amount of footage we get, we can’t watch all of it.
o To get a narrative line.
o For the viewers to understand what we are trying to portray.

Break 5-10 (?)

Footage from last week. 2:40 – 3:10
• The last 10 minutes: watch 5 min. from the Amazons and talk about it 5 minutes.
• Video clips from last class
• What worked and what didn’t work?

Talk about what we’re filming today. 3:10 – 3:25
• Going to locations with Bira
• Graffiti (?)
• Visiting the homes of the students (?)
• Animals in the neighborhood
• Restaurants in the neighborhood
• David’s bike

The first theoretical parts went well. We had a great editing workshop and we discussed editing while watching parts of the video letter from the Amazon again. After the class we were supposed to have a brief talk with Bira, who is our security guy in the favela, about different possible locations for shooting outdoor scenes. We never got so far because of pretty heavy machine gun funk from outside the organization. There was a slight panic spreading through us, the professors, whereas the children did not seem to pay any attention to it at all. The children are used to the rapid and loud clacking sounds from AK-47's, maybe we will get used to it too after a few more weeks. Today was the second Friday in a row where we have had to "hide" for about half an hour because of shootings outside. However, we changed our schedule and started doing presentations of the administration and the various professors instead. This went very well, and it was great seeing the kids filming themselves, checking sound and white balance (without really adjusting the white balance, we reckoned the kids just thought it was a cool thing to stand in front of the camera pretending to do some serious video production stuff, holding up a white sheet of paper..) and moving around presenting their professors totally on their own,. This is exactly what we have been working towards, having the children film and present their surroundings on their own, establishing a natural component to the video letter.

We also sorted out where we can edit the film and what software to use. We were lucky to be able to use the computers at Observatorio das Favelas, another NGO in Mare not far from Luta Pela Paz. We will start rendering what we have of footage Wednesday and start editing on Friday with the children.

Christoffer Næss
New School University, New York

Wednesday June 24th



Schedule:
Brincaderas and Futebol

• 2:00 – 2:15 Icebreaker (Fabio)
• 2:15 – 2:30 Few rules about filming (Nadia)
• 2:30 – 2:45 Review footage from Monday – what worked and what didn’t. (Alejandro)
• 2:45 – 3:15 Inform students what they will be filming (Christoffer)
➢ What did they bring for the Brincadeiras?
➢ Did they do their homework? Review Homework.
➢ Talk about different ways to film.
➢ Explain to the group that they will be in 2 groups and switch. **
➢ Split groups in 2 based on what brincadeiras they brought.

• Emphasize that this is a product of art. Think about all of the possible ways you can shoot. Keep in mind what you have learned. If you think about something you find interesting, give it a try. We are here to help. (All)

Today we wanted to follow up on the lesson we taught on Monday by reviewing the footage they took. We discussed with the class in their eyes what worked and what didn’t worked based on the lessons from Monday and Wednesdays. What helped the a lot were the amazing work sheets Nadia worked on. She drew pictures framing the basic ideas of filming (sun light, sounds, camera angles etc). The graphics and directions in Portuguese was a success. The kids really took to it and were able to make adjustments based on it. This was very important, because for the first time we were going to have access to the outside. The situation in Mare at times can be tense. We aren’t able to just film anything, since we do have restrictions. Usually, when there are restrictions (thinking in terms of the US) people don’t respect them. However, in Mare we go through Bira who is a community leader. He tells us what we can film and where we can do it. So, were able to film the kids of Luta Pela Paz and mare flying kites and playing futebol. While some of our crew took turns filming the day’s events, the end product will be mainly from the kids’ viewpoint.



What was so amazing about filming on the soccer field is that we got children from outside of Luta Pela Paz involved. They all surrounded themselves around Bira who keeps them honest. We probably should have been filming this sequence, but it’s one of those moments that are better left for those who actually experience it.

Joel Malebranche
New School University, New York

Monday June 22th


On Monday we had a meeting at 10am to basically discuss how things are going. There was some genuine concern based on last week’s events. Things were chaotic, unorganized and some of us probably felt disconnected from the process. However, we have regrouped and this week so far has been good. We decided to have a two-hour meeting before each class to schedule the day and do delegate responsibility. This was the schedule we came up with for Monday 6/22/09:

First 15 min (2:15) – Ice breaker (Teresa) Festa Junina?

2nd 15 min (2:30) –talk on being ambassadors and how to get the best out of a video letter. Alejandro and Nadia will show a prime example on how it should be. The camera should be a friend or a child who knows NOTHING about life at Luta Pela Paz

3rd 30 min (3:00) – Review of examples on proper video ethics. (Nadia)
• Holding the camera still
• Zoom use
• Rule of thirds
• Don’t film towards the sun
• How to set a scene
• Sounds and respect

4th 15 min (3:15) – Explanation of the day’s events. What we will be filming
Boxing, Informatica

Back up themes
Brincadeiras
Futebol
Chance to hold the cameras

5th 15th min (3:30) – Break

We followed the schedule and it turned out to be a great class.

Monday we taught the kids the basic ethics of filming. We basically informed the kids that with this project, they are ambassadors of Complexo de Mare. They are representing their community and need to get the best out of a video letter. Alejandro and Nadia showed the students a prime example on how it should be. What we reinforced is how the camera should be treated as a friend or a child who knows NOTHING about life at Luta Pela Paz. Everyone seemed to be excited and nervous about the opportunity to be ambassadors of their community.

However, we had to let them know that to properly do this they needed to learn the proper ethics of using a camera. Nadia led this discussion with translating help from Teresa one of the students from PUC. The basic rudiments that were followed were:

• Holding the camera still
• Zoom use
• Rule of thirds
• Don’t film towards the sun
• How to set a scene

The end result was a positive one. It’s the first time we got the kids filming activities at the Luta Pela Paz outside of the Festa Junina. One of the kids David is aspiring to be a journalist and shoot documentary films. He is very much into the project. So much so, that he admitted how nervous he was and we all saw he was visibly shaking. However, once we started rolling he was a natural. Another Natural on the camera is Rayanne. She loves the spot light and excels well in it. We also had some other students film one of their boxing classes. While excited, it proved to be more difficult because of the loud speakers in the gym.

Joel Malebranche
New School University, New York