OneMinutesJr workshop in Montenegro - Day 1
by Chris Schuepp
PODGORICA, Montenegro - September 17, 2010 - 19 teenagers from Montenegro have gathered in a conference room in the center of the capital Podgorica today to kick-off a OneMinutesJr video workshop. For the next five days, they will be working on stories about social inclusion, supporting an ongoing UNICEF campaign in the country called "It's about ability".
The UNICEF Representative in Montenegro, Noala Skinner, opens the workshop in the morning and speaks about the campaign, its goals and its protagonists - on billboards around the capital you can see children and young people with disabilities and how they are enjoying life, being an active part of the Montenegrin society.
One of the faces on the billboards looks familiar: Lazar, a teenage boy with cerebral palsy, was a participant at a OneMinutesJr workshop on the coast here last year and he produced a very touching film about his dreams and his abilities. At the campaign launch event last week, he made a speech alongside Andrea, a blind girl who also produced a video at the 2009 workshop. The UNICEF Representative remembers well what Andrea said in front of the high-level audience: "When Louis Braille invented the Braille signs, he was only 15 years old. You should all listen more to the young people!"
And that is exactly what we are here for. Over the next five days, we will listen to the young people's story ideas and help them develop these ideas into 60-second films that show their very personal view of social inclusion and/or social exclusion. After the initial introduction and the screening of a number of films from other workshops, the participants are asked to start writing down their film ideas. One by one, we start talking to them in the afternoon and the brainstorming sessions last until the end of the first workshop day. One of the participants, Petar (13), surprised us when he asks us to show one of the films from the OneMinutesJr project website. It's a film produced by a girl from Macedonia several years ago, which captures the true meaning of social exclusion in a very impressive way.
But back to Montenegro: The teenagers stand in line to talk to the two trainers and they do of course come up with some great ideas: Miljan (14) who is almost completely blind want to film a story about himself and how he beats everybody in a quiz show, Bojana (14) wants to write a poem about loneliness and how to overcome it with the help of your friends while Dijana (18) has a similar idea, only that it is not loneliness this time but fear of being rejected.
Andrea (18), another disabled girl at the workshop, wants to finally have her friends take her out to the cafes in the center of Podgorica and make the day a "special day", but in the end she will wonder why not every day is special for her. Lella (13) has overcome a difficult knee surgery and will tell her story and how she was determined to become healthy again but relied also on the help of her mother to achieve her goal. Many more great ideas are under development and tomorrow we will continue the discussions before the start filming the first couple of films in the afternoon.