A dream concept shared by me at the Impact Evaluation Workshop of Entertainment-Education and Mass Media Behavior Change Campaigns held at Mexico in May 2016 is bearing fruits in India.
After taking over as the CEO of Children's Film Society, India (CFSI), I was instrumental in taking filmmaking to the doors of schools and children from marginalised sections so as to bring about a behavioural change in these youngsters.
The Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) delivered an impact evaluation workshop in Mexico City, Mexico, aligning researchers, practitioners and producers from entertainment hubs including Hollywood, Nollywood and Bollywood to design and evaluate behavior change campaigns under a new DIME program: Entertainment Education.
I was one of the speakers at the workshop in Mexico. My presentation on the concept of Little Directors and bringing children from the marginalised sections to the mainstream through creativity, which in turn impacts their behavioural pattern through communication, received appreciation and encouragement from delegates representing renowned universities from different parts of the world as well as executives from the Impact Evaluation wing of World Bank.
When the same concept was introduced in Patna recently, my dreams got wings. It was an experience worth remembering for children of various schools as they laughed, clapped and jumped in ecstasy when they watched a series of children films at the three-day Children’s Film Festival organised by CFSI and Vishwa Samvad Kendra Patna from September 7 to 9. I am working on taking this concept to more number of villages across Bihar in the days to come.
Hundreds of children from various schools in Patna enjoyed movies such as ‘Gopi Gawaiyaa Bagha Bajaiyaa’ by Shilpa Ranade, ‘Ek Tha Bhujang’ directed by Mohinder Pratap Singh, Rajan Khosla’s ‘GATTU’, ‘Kaphal’ directed by Batul Mukhtiyar, ‘Pappu Ki Pagdandi’ directed by Seema Desai, ‘Krish, Trish & Batliboy’ directed by Munjal Shroff and ‘Tilakraj Shetty’. A special screening was organised for the children of Rainbow Homes orphanage apart from the regular screenings.
Through these film shows, I try to ignite the creativity of children by exposing them to entertainment films made for them from all across the world. Through the Little Directors concept, we are looking forward to teach film-making to children under the brand.
The interaction with more than 100 students of Rainbow Foundation and the experience in conducting this workshop was worthwhile and fruitful. These children are from the marginalised sections of the society; have either been orphaned or disowned by their parents. I was surprised to see that these children bonded positively with the organisers and showed keen interest in unleashing their creativity. We realised that these children can seriously take up creative art forms like film making to shape their future.
It was very encouraging for us to see that children outside the normal school system also showed interest in creativity. What was even more surprising was that 80 per cent of the children from Rainbow Foundation were girls, who were keen to know more about the Little Directors, which spoke about young children making films and winning awards at the international platform.
CFSI will soon start holding workshops for children of Bihar to impart the knowledge of this art form.
We will conduct a five-day workshop under the Little Directors concept on film making in various villages in Bihar. Children in groups will make theme-based films, which will be screened in the respective villages. The World Bank Impact Evaluation team will evaluate the behavioural change and the impact movie making has had on these children after six months. Another evaluation will be carried out after the next few months to again assess impact it would have had on the lives of these children.
We are hopeful that there’ll be a huge participation in this exercise to bring out the creativity of these children.
Films for children have a message and huge impact on the growth of a child. It's a medium that helps develop learning of a child through an audio-visual mechanism. There is huge audience for children movies in the country. Filmmaking as a medium helps cultivate the creativity of a young child.
To sum it up, I feel that this concept is the next level of making a real-time change in the personality development as well as career development of children.