Here we go - a new Making Media That Matters! We gathered for our first session this past Saturday, and it was magic. This is not the first MMTM we’ve organized at Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking, yet feelings of exhilaration and excitement on the first day are so powerfully present.
We welcomed our young women as they came in, looking mesmerized by the beauty of the Waiwai (our new MMTM space!), and slowly making themselves comfortable. As they entered the space, they wrote on name tags, had instant pictures taken, grabbed some food, and made quick introductions to each other.
We promptly circled up at 9:00 am to open our first session. I was so excited that all I could do was smile like the cheshire cat, and repeat how happy I was to begin this journey together called Making Media That Matters. Yes, I call it a “journey” because that’s precisely what it is; a journey through which we learn about filmmaking, but also about ourselves, our communities, and the power of imagination in disrupting the status quo. MMTM is a transformational learning experience for everyone involved.
This was the first session, and we wanted to do some foundational work. We started with finding a shared understanding of what feminism is, and what it might look like in the lives of our participants. We especially highlighted how HWF promotes an intersectional approach to feminism, intended to hear and uplift the voices of ALL women. We talked about MMTM and its purpose in creating conditions for our young women to learn the skills and tools of filmmaking, as well as producing impactful media for social justice. The media created can change minds, behaviors, or build communities - we really wanted to emphasize how compelling and change-making their stories can be!
After a short break, we introduced our “Social Justice World Cafe” activity, used to facilitate the building of community. Through this activity, they started getting to know each other- sharing what matters to them, what they value, and what they want to learn more about. Broken into smaller groups and rotating stations, they answered these questions. We want MMTM to be entirely youth-centered and rooted in their experiences, and we (the team) are there to be active listeners.
After a lunch break, we transitioned to the filmmaking component of the first session: an introductory lesson on types of shots (to tell a story, visually). MMTM involves active participation, and each brief lesson is followed by hands-on practice to gain experience. Hence, we had few story-prompts, and then they had to organize themselves in groups and capture 5 shots that would tell us about the story prompt of their choice. It was a lot of fun seeing the students get creative on how to capture the shot - but it was also wonderful to witness them getting more comfortable with each other!
The first session was almost over by the time we moved into a big circle to watch what they created. Before saying goodbye, however, we wanted to close the session by agreeing on how we want to be in the space. We began writing our community agreements, led by our in-house social worker. We truly hope to make Making Media That Matters a space and place where we all thrive and feel safe; this is key to our mission and what we stand for.