Film for Change – A Chance for Aspiring Filmmakers, An Opportunity for Social Good

October 26, 2021

By: Iyath Adam Shareef, UNDP Maldives 

Film for Change (FFC) is an initiative by UNDP Maldives, conducted in partnership with Dhiraagu since 2017. As the name denotes, the FFC series focuses on the alternative medium of film as a way to stimulate dialogue about social issues, especially amongst young people.

Along with encouraging young people, the initiative also focuses on teaching them the necessary technical and creative skills to make documentary-style short films with minimal equipment.

“I’ve always been interested in making films, and when I heard about Film for Change, I knew I had to apply,” said Ibrahim Yanim, one of the participants of the 2018 FFC. “Through Film for Change I learned a lot about how to produce a film where I can bring forward an idea that I have within me. Since I am working in the field of photography and videography, I have been using the skills I gained through Film for Change almost every day of my life now.”

Yanim shares his experience at Film for Change.

The FFC series provides an opportunity to meet new people, engage and learn about socio-environmental issues as well as the teamwork required in tackling such complex problems. Along with the technical skills offered by the project, FCC is also a platform for young participants to voice their own creative opinion on crucial matters related to the future environmental and developmental contexts of the Maldives.

This year, FFC’s main theme is related to Sustainable Development Goal 13 (SDG 13) ‘Climate Action’, giving rise to the Film for Change: Climate Edition. It intends to empower young people to explore and form narratives on issues of climate change in Maldives through the medium of film.

While the focus is on building advocacy and awareness on SDG 13, participants will also explore how to link other selected SDGs to issues arising from climate change, such as SDG 14: Life Below Water and SDG 5: Gender Equality, the latter emphasizing women’s role in decision-making. Through this focus, FFC provides an alternative medium to stimulate dialogue on climate-related issues with decision-makers and other members of the community.

“The film we made was ‘Bilah.’ It was based on gender inequality which is a huge problem within our society, and I think the film really gave an eye-opening experience, for me as well,” stated Yanim.

FFC consists of two components – training and post-production. Both are conducted by industry experts who will guide the participants to produce their own short films in groups. Up to five short films will be produced, and they will then be screened via social media and other public platforms to be followed by dialogue.

“Film for Change is the perfect opportunity for newcomers to go into the industry, because Dhiraagu and UNDP, along with the mentors, created a really perfect workshop that lets you build your career and start off,” said Mariyam Yasmine, a participant in FFC 2018, whose film ‘Iloshi’ is about responsible consumption and production.

Yasmine shares her experience at Film for Change.

“Apart from that, there is also just the overall process of making your own film, getting to view that at a cinema and different coffee shops where you got to have a lot of conversations with different people. Just meeting so many people that were so passionate about these different SDGs was interesting to begin with, because we had a lot of interesting conversations,” explained Yasmine. “I would recommend that anybody who is interested in moviemaking to apply for Film for Change,” Yasmine elaborated.

So, are you interested? Find out how to apply here. Application deadline is Wednesday, 27 October 2021. What are you waiting for?