In early 2016, we launched the WeOwnTV Filmmaker Fellowship, a regional film fund and professional development program supporting the production of independent documentaries directed by Guinean, Sierra Leonean and Liberian filmmakers. The goal of the challenge is to help amplify and support important voices within the West African indigenous media sector. The work created by the fellows not only enriches the local filmmaking community, but also promotes important ideas and perspectives that support the political right to free speech, and reinforces a culture of creativity and intellectual freedom.
Ten finalists from the open challenge were selected to participate in our inaugural WeOwnTV Fellowship, which provides workshops and mentoring support for selected filmmakers for a year.From the impressive group of ten finalists, we selected 7 fellows who will share $48,000 in cash assistance and distribution opportunities. A production workshop was held in the first week of May at our Freetown Media Center, where the fellows presented their work and received training and mentorship from industry leaders. Two editorial workshops were also held in Freetown and focussed on media management and story crafting of the fellowship projects. We will continue to work with the fellows to complete their projects and explore distribution opportunities through 2017.
“Life after the Army” focuses on the daily activities and stories of five ex-service men who left the army through the Voluntary Retirement Program. The difficult lives of these men and the stories they tell echo the sentiment of thousands of their comrades who are scattered across Sierra Leone having gone through the same retirement program.
“Holes in my Backyard” is a documentary that looks at some of the secret activities around coastal settlements in Sierra Leone. Kroo Bay slum settlement is in the very heart of the city. This settlement is notorious for many illegal activities such as prostitution, drug dealing and gambling. Notably the settlement is now a key smuggling port for people bringing in and taking out illegal goods.
“Bridging Communities After Ebola” Even after Ebola had been declared over; Ebola survivors are still perceived as those who brought death to their communities. The main story would focus on a particular journalist, who tries to break the chain of discrimination or stigmatization for a peaceful coexistence, through the media and other peace building mechanisms.
Amara Lugbou Kamara, Risk Life
Michaella Sallu, The Journey
Mohamed Sheriff, Okada
Tyson Conteh, Devil’s Stone
Aminata Dryne Bockarie, Da Bode Ose
Noël Lamah, Open Door Pêche
Hindolo Bilal Davies, Climate Change Sierra Leone
The WeOwnTv Filmmaker Fellowship is made possible through the generous support of these partners and supporters.
Partners and Supporters: The Bertha Foundation, the Sundance Institute, The Alliance, Britdoc, The Global Film Initiative and Global Giving.
Advisory Board: Ben Fowlie (Founder/Programmer The Camden International Film Festival), Charlie Phillips (The Guardian), David Sengeh (Global Minimum), Ingrid Kopp (the Tribeca Film Institute), Iyabo Boyd (Filmmaker), Rebecca Lichtenfeld (The Bertha Foundation) and Wendy Levy (NAMAC/Sundance).
Fellowship Directors: Banker White and Anna Fitch (WeOwnTV), Arthur Pratt and Lansana Mansaray (Freetown Media Center).
Submissions for the 2016 WeOwnTv Story challenge are now closed. Please check in early 2017 for an announcement about the next deadline.
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