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Day Two - OneMinutesJr workshop in Astana

© UNICEF / Chris Schuepp / 2008
Evegniya (17) from Pavlodar is working on her script at the OneMinutesJr workshop in Astana.

The finalization of film ideas and story-boards is on the agenda today on the second day of the OneMinutesJr workshop on health issues in the Kazakh capital Astana. Two more participants have joined the workshop in the morning. Zhenya and Roman come from Kokshetau, 300 kms North of Astana. The first story idea they put on the table is relatively clear: It is cheaper for teenagers in Kokshetau to buy a bottle of vodka than to pay for an hour in a sports center. If you can find an existing sports center in Kokshetau, that is. Zhenya says: "Most of the sports centers are either in a terrible state or have been bought up as storage places by businesses. There's very little on offer for teenagers and at the only places that work, you have to pay. And it's not cheap."

While some of the participants are already roaming the streets of Astana with their cameras, Demian (12) from Almaty is still waiting for his turn. The workshop organizers first have to arrange an appointment with a dentist. Demain wants to shoot his film at a dentist's and show how doctors in Kazakhstan sometimes use used tools on patients. When asked about the idea for his film, Demian says: "I had to go to the dentist's about half a year ago. The tools were clean in that place from what I can say, but it was still terrifying. I thought the dentist was really evil. It hurt a lot and I was very uncomfortable."

Evgeniya's story is about alcoholism and will paint a bleak picture of a man who threw away his life. Evgeniya (17): "In a way, it's a true story. I know this guy who always sits outside the apartment block where I live. He was well-educated and you can still see that he used to be a good-looking man. But he drinks a lot and has lost almost everything he used to have. When you see him sitting on that bench, reading Dostoyevsky, knowing that nobody will give him a job anymore because of his alcohol problems, it's sad!" Asked about the health system in her country, Evgeniya replies: "I don't trust the doctors here really. My grandmother and my grandfather both died last year in a hospital in Pavlodar. I think that if you have a serious health problem, it's better to go to Russia and have it taken care of."

Evgeniya is a very active 17 year-old. She just finished school and will go to the Eurasian Innovation University in Pavlodar from September on to study journalism. "I would also like to study or work abroad for a year during my studies", Evgeniya says, "in Russia, the USA or in Germany maybe." But for now, she has to focus on the studies and on her biggest hobby: working for Dubble Two, a youth-produced TV show on the regional TV channel KTK-7. A group of about 15 teenagers produces a bi-weekly programme for children around issues that affect them. "I have learned so much already in the four years I've been with Dubble Two. I am a reporter, an announcer, I can even do the camerawork if I have to. The only thing I haven't done yet is editing."

© UNICEF / Chris Schuepp / 2008
Workshop participant Kolya and his "bird of freedom".

However, the OneMinutesJr workshop is a challenge even for an experience youth media-maker like Evgeniya. Here, it is important to develop a good film, be creative in the filming and then also edit together with the trainers. Quite a change for a "simple reporter", but Evgeniya thinks she can handle it: "Actually, it is a bit different. At the TV station, I have to work on a certain topic that I am assigned to work on. Here, I can choose my own, I can be more artistic and there is no censorship."

In the afternoon, it gets quiet in the workshop room. Most of the participants are either out filming or still arranging their props and locations. Kolya (15) from Astana just returned with a little bird in a cage. He wants to film through the cage and then finally let the bird fly away. His message: Children can feel trapped in their closest environment, always dreaming of how to escape...

Astana, Kazakhstan - July 22, 2008 - Chris Schuepp



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