April, 18th: We have been feverishly looking forward to this day, it is the first major information event to enlist participants for our participative film project. We had been working a lot for publicity for this meeting in advance. We placed ads on Facebook and sent a bulk SMS to all cell phone owners on the island. The Marshall Islands Journal wrote about us and Mark was a guest on a live broadcast on the radio. The city was full of our flyers and there was quite a lot of word of mouth recommendation. We are already known all over the place on the main island Majuro (see also our last blog entry).
But how many people would really come to our meeting? We could hardly say and hoped for the best.
We had a room at the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI) from 10 to 12 o’clock. The first participants arrived already before 10 o’clock and we greeted them joyfully. The night before there had been a long blackout and it was already raining all morning, we would probably start later. We got drinks and small snacks to shorten the waiting time.
The room filled slowly and we could start. We opened the meeting together with Jina David as a representative of our partner organization Jo-Jikum, who are active in the field of education and climate change. We are very grateful to Jina David because he supported us very much from day one and became a friend. We are happy to work with him and Jo-Jikum.
We were not disappointed. There were a total of 26 interested people, including official representatives of the college and students, members of various NGOs, as well as individuals who are interested in film production. We introduced our approach of participatory film making, explaining what the workshops will be like: about shooting, interviewing and cutting. As an example of such a project we showed film excerpts from our first participatory documentary film Sachamanta. There was a lot of interest and after the presentation almost everyone joined in for the upcoming workshops. Afterwards, we received further messages via email and Facebook from people who told us their specific time slots in order to be able to participate in the workshops. They also will come on board. We are looking forward to working with the groups in the respective workshops, to the stories and the common learning. In the end, it will be the inhabitants of the Marshall Islands who will help shape and realize this documentary.