“POPULUS Proyectos Comunitarios” is an NGO that operates in the suburbs of Bogotá, Colombia, and offers workshops for marginalised children and youth. The aim is to teach them film-making skills and create new perspectives. The films are presented in public screenings in the children’s home neighbourhoods. By showing social problems from the children’s perspective, a new awareness is created among the members and decision-makers of society.
The aim is to teach marginalised children and young people in the suburbs of Bogotá, Colombia, film production skills and to create new perspectives. The previously unheard are thus given a voice and a powerful medium with which they can express themselves and draw attention to social problems.
Towards the end of 2016, we had met Andrés Bodensiek, a Master student in Agriculture and Food Economics at the University of Bonn. When Andrés found out about Weltweite.V., he immediately approached us, as he was looking for exactly the support we could offer.
Andrés is co-founder of POPULUS Proyectos Comunitarios, a non-governmental organisation based in Bogotá, Colombia, which was established in 2012. With the help of art and culture, and in particular filmmaking, it aims to draw attention to social problems .
Since 2010, POPULUS Proyectos Comunitarios has taught young people in 14 suburbs of Bogotá to produce films. These document the living conditions in their communities or specifically address social problems through fiction. After completion, the films were publicly screened in a “Cine Comunidad” event and shown at film festivals.
The NGO POPULUS thereby follows two objectives:
It gives marginalised young people the chance to learn the skill of making films, thereby creating new prospects for them.
Through a powerful medium, it gives a voice to the previously unheard, enabling them to express themselves and communicate their problems publicly
The principle of POPULUS is to first become aware of one’s own, or communal, problems in order to tackle them. Next, these problemsmust be discussed in a broad public so that people begin to organise themselves. The “Cine Cumunidad” event serves exactly this purpose: the residents of the suburbs are presented with a mirror of their own situation. Moreover, they come together in a framework in which it is easy for them to exchange and organise. Pressure is built from below and decision-makers are confronted on a public stage. In most cases, the people concerned have never been consumers of cultural events and thus learn that art is not something passive, but can be a means to shake things up and bring about change.
Now this all sounds very theoretical. But in fact, between 2010 and 2016, the founders of POPULUS conducted 16 workshops with 186 children and produced 11 short films. And they achieved the hoped-for impact. Groups of young journalists formed to report on conditions in their communities. In addition, political movements were formed, for example, against the negative effects of open mines. Thus, in the course of the project, an “audiovisual network” had been established among 15 communities, advocating to help each other with problems in the communities.
One of these short films had even led to the Citizens’ Movement Against the Mines Society and won an award at the Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias. It can be found on YouTube at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-Nkqhpg0ww&feature=emb_logo
To better understand this project and the motivation behind it, we interviewed project manager Andrés Bodensiek: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=9TT41qwHb_E&feature=emb_logo
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