BARCELONA – Producers of the World Unite

With 27 participants from over 20 different countries and 5 continents, UNESCO and the Association of Igualada hosted the International Workshop for Independent Producers on October 5-8 in Igualada, Spain.

The Mayor of Igualada, Marc Castells y Berzosa, embraces the impressive cast list of an excellent exhibition of all that is needed to make powerful films

The workshop was primarily focused on the ingredients of producing high quality audiovisual materials that convey development-oriented messages and was part of UNESCO’s Audiovisual E-Platform – a multi-cultural online tool for independent producers and broadcasters that aims at promoting the international distribution of televised content through North-South and South-South cooperation.

Representing Romedia at the event were Managing Director Katalin Barsony and Producer Marion Kurucz. The dynamic duo returned full of fresh inspiration having met like-minded filmmakers from across the globe.

They were particularly touched by the organization Lola Kenya Screen, headed by the creative and cultural entrepreneur Ogova Ondego. The East African based Lola have introduced the ambitious but admirable policy of employing children as film makers, at every stage of production. Putting the films in the hands of children had given them a whole new perspective and a refreshing end product, which was universally applauded at the conference.

The Kenyan organization gave their presentation on engendering entrepreneurship and promoting AV work to a target market shortly after workshop host and Programme Specialist of UNESCO, Alton Grizzle, had given spirited introduction.

Melanie Chait, the vastly experienced producer and director from the Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking in South Africa then gave a hugely enlightening session on financing and distribution. This is of course the cornerstone of any organization involved in film media and her words of wisdom were warmly welcomed.

Similarly important was the presentation from a broadcaster’s perspective given by Pierre Duret of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which preceded the session orchestrated by Romedia’s very own Katalin Barsony who presented our new film ‘Uprooted’ and spoke on the audiovisual role in multicultural understanding. All participants were actively engaged in the discussion which followed having shown a very keen interest in the film and Romedia’s work in general.

Inspiration was in plentiful supply the following morning when independent filmmaker Karzan Kardosi (based in Sulaimaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq) introduced a session on cinematographic styles of feature films. He documents his work on an enchanting blog and participants were equally enthusiastic when Bournemouth University’s Paula Callus delivered a workshop on the production of animation.

Part of Paula Callus’ enlightening presentation on animation.

On a similar topic, the multicultural ensemble were mightily impressed by the animated feature \’Samsara\’ produced by the Media Education Centre of Serbia and presented by the vibrant Dunja Radulov, Secretary General of the International Media Youth Summit (IMYS).

Katalin and Marion also met Egyptian film maker Ayman Hussein of SEMAT, a Cairo-based Production and Distribution company.

He directed 7 shorts, 4 of which won 8 awards at National and international film festivals, and wrote the scripts for all his films including ‘Am I Bothering You?’ an award winning short film on the street children of Cairo.

More information can be found at the excellent SEMAT website but their main goal is to enable a new generation of filmmakers by supporting productions, holding screenings, and issuing a magazine specialized in the affairs of independent cinema.

The information absorbed, ideas sewn and friendships formed were quite remarkable particularly as it was only for a few days. Romedia would like to express its wholehearted gratitude to UNESCO, to the Association of Igualada and of course to the spectacularly inspiring participants who have left such a lasting and meaningful impression which we will endeavor to reflect in our projects.