“With privileges come responsibilities”
In autumn 2016 we got to know Andrés Bodensiek from Colombia who studies a Master of Agriculture and Food Economics at the University of Bonn. When he learned about Weltweit and what we do he immediately approached us because he already had a project and was looking for the kind of Weltweit network and service that would support him.
Together with four friends in 2011 Andrés had founded POPULUS PROYECTOS COMUNITARIOS which is an association of the creative and cultural sector based in Colombia. The five founders are professionals from cinema and television, advertising, public administration and law. Dedicated to the development, management, and execution of educational and cultural projects POPULUS aims to promote the Colombian identity, the organization and collective well-being of the communities through art, audiovisuals and popular education.
Their project “Community Cinema” consists of delivering film production workshops to targeted colombian neighborhoods focusing on children and teenagers of urban and rural communities. POPULUS guides these youths to create, produce and make their own films, which are then projected at their own communities and finally made publicly available to the society in general at, for example, cinema events.
In other words they teach kids how to make films and then organize public viewing events. And why do they do this?
POPULUS selects communities where there are very little to none offers of cultural activities. Instead they suffer from a high level of unemployment, drug use and drugs related crime scene. These problems have contributed to a deterioration of social values such as solidarity and trust. Since this has been the case for many years the people have accepted this situation as the normality which means they have lost awareness of the on-going deterioration in their community.
When children and young people have a cultural offer, they spend less time on the street. They are less exposed to the use of psychoactive substances and are less likely to enter or form gangs. The workshops are also a chance to discover new audiovisual, or journalism talents and to show other alternatives for their lives to those children and young ones already involved in drugs consumption or gangs. Besides learning technical skills the kids learn how to work in a team and some of them experience for the first time in their lives that they can achieve something beautiful through this team work. But POPULUS also works with children and adolescents because they are the most capable to tell the problems of their neighborhoods and municipalities because their voices are most likely to be heard by young and old alike. Through the audio-visual they create awareness about the communial situation among their neighbors and relatives. This awareness is a premise to spark a chain reaction that ends with a communal effort to change a community problem.
The overall objectives that POPULUS wants to contribute to are:
- To generate education processes for the rural and urban youth population in targeted communities.
- To induce the organization of communities by promoting four fundamental values in children and adolescents that are the basis to a positive development of their communities: A) Organization, B) Collective work, C) Identity, and D) Democracy.
It sounds very theoretical but in the last five years working with 186 kids in 16 communities their Cine Comunidad Project has reached astonishing impact like inducing the formation of youth journalist groups that report on communal affairs, the creation of a mass movement against an open mine and the environmental problems it causes, the establishment of a “community audiovisual network” with a joint effort to help local communities etc. Besides, most of the 11 short movies that they have produced so far have been displayed on film festivals and national television and thereby making a community affair a national affair.
As an example – the one that led to the movement against mining and also was nominated to the Prize Víctor Nieto at the International Film Festival of Cartagena – serves the following short with english subs:
As for the future Weltweit wants to support Andrés and his initiative to intensify their engagement and broaden their impact.
To understand this project and the motivation behind it better we made an interview with Andès Bodensiek in August 2017:
Project partners so far: