Meet the CCP’s 2013 Documentary Film Students!

CCP documentary film instructor Idriss Kpange recently visited the New York offices of African Film Festival, Inc. and left AFF staff a lovely surprise: a video entitled “Meet Our Documentary Film Students in Sierra Leone,” featuring the 2013 cohort of students in the CCP Youth Media Workshop! The video profiles nine of the participants enrolled in the documentary film program, which began in May of this year. Some participants, like Aminata Bockarie and Jongopie Cole, have been with the program from the beginning, while others are new this year, having been introduced to the CCP during the inception of its filmmaking stage. They are a vibrant, passionate group, filled with promise and prepared for futures in filmmaking and activism.

As a documentary filmmaker, “you give a voice to the voiceless. You tell their story.”

Asked why they want to become filmmakers, Salim Jalloh responds, “I want to use my talent as a documentary filmmaker to explore the lives of people and be the voice of them, to give out what they want to give out, to tell the message of them,” as “they lack the opportunity to tell the message themselves.” Aminata Bockarie echoes this sentiment, saying that as a documentary filmmaker, “you give a voice to the voiceless. You tell their story.” Musa Islam Camara, who aspires to make both documentary and feature films, adds a personal element, saying “I want to tell these stories in my own style, in my own way,” so that “people out there, my brothers and sisters, can learn more about Sierra Leone, about the culture of Sierra Leone.”

We also were proud to hear students testify to the impact the CCP has had on their lives, some over the course of three years, other over the course of just a few months. Sinneh Sesay says that “the CCP created, I would say, a forum for me to know more about what I am trying to achieve.” New participant Patricia Spain-Cole, who describes herself as “the shy type,” says that after struggling to interview people, “now I can interview people, be in front of the camera…so it has done a lot for my life.” Aminata adds, “I believe that is what the CCP is doing: equipping the young generation to be able to do something for themselves. I believe that with this CCP program, I will be able to do something for myself.” For some of the women, this has a special meaning: “Here in Sierra Leone, I don’t see a woman filmmaker–so I would like to be counted as one,” says Patricia. “I will be the voice of the women,” says lifelong film lover Christiana A.Y. Simbo. And Aminata, who is repeatedly told “You are a woman, you are not supposed to do this,” wants to “produce documentaries that can show that not only the men can do something better, but the women, if you give them the chance…they will be able to do something extraordinary…”

Watch the film below, to hear the reflections of nine passionate young filmmakers as they explore their interests in film, their role in Sierra Leone’s culture, and their journeys with the Sierra Leone Cultural Conservation Program. To Kabba S. Kargbo, Harold Davies, Salim M. Jalloh, Aminata Bockarie, Sinneh N. Sesay, Jongopie Cole, Patricia Spain-Cole, Musa Islam Camara, and Christiana A.Y. Simbo, we cannot wait to see you in person as the rains subside!