Storytelling with Julio Cochoy

Today, the youth in Chirijox has a special guest, Julio Cochoy.


Julio is the author of the book: Voces Rompiendo El Silencio dE Utatlan.


Our goal today was to help them add more detail to their story ideas that they started to write on Saturday. Julio shared how he came to write about his own experience during the armed conflict in Guatemala.


The youth were captivated and they listend intently. After, the youth asked for advice on how to expand their stories. What a great experience for all of us.



Second Workshop

On January 26th, we had our second workshop.  We covered a lot of ground! In the morning, we watched and critiqued some of their practice footage, again emphasizing framing, camera steadiness, and angles.


Then we were privileged to have Pamela Yates join us via Skype to talk to the kids about her films and about how to find their stories.


The kids looked on and listened closely.  I am pretty sure that this was their first Skype session.  In that respect, they seemed a little nervous.  But they were prepared and very interested to here this Director’s story.  After all, she spent a great deal of time in Guatemala and captured stories about the civil unrest here.  The youth watched When the Mountains Tremble before the workshop in order to prepare questions for the talk.


Pamela also inspired them with advice on how to find their story.  She shared to that this kids should look for something that they are passionate about.  I added that with this, they will want to research, investigate, and find ways to make that passion come to life.  With that, each of the students spent time writing a draft of an idea.


We closed the workshop with a video technique activity.  The kids practiced shooting different angles while conducting an interview.  After, they edited the interview in order to see the advantages of using different angles to keep the audience interested.  As for computer techniques, they learned to detach audio and move it to other video clips.  We believe that a practice of simultaneously discussing story, video techniques, and a little theory helps them get a sense of the entire production process.


When the kids are ready, I will share their story ideas!


For 10 years, Elmy has been at a school where classes are taught in English.  When she is not in school, she is helping her parents by working in their tienda on the weekends. She is very dedicated, bright, and amazingly kindhearted. Say hello to Elmy.

Pausing for a moment

We still have five more students who want to introduce themselves. However, today, we want to take a step back to thank those of you who have been providing incredibly detailed feedback to our project.

We can’t tell you how much your comments and suggestions are helping us to think more deeply about what we are doing. One question that has arisen is related to the venues for our final films. We expect to have community showings (Chirijox, Panajachel, and Santiago Atitlan) as well as a larger showing in Antigua, Guatemala. Other questions have been regarding the stories themselves: what they will be, how we can be sure that they come from the kids, and finally how we plan to link them. These are very good questions and ones that cannot be answered quickly. The process you will see might feel a slow because we are dedicated to having the kids experience finding themselves and their story after examining their ideas and analyzing some of the films that they take in their communities. An easier path might be to define stories for them, yet that would go against our purpose of youth-driven documentaries. As the process unfolds, the youth will come to identify the story that they are passionate about and they will show us how they see it. We are excited by what is to come.

Speaking of stories!!! This coming weekend we have a workshop. This workshop will focus on mainly on how to find our story. And who better to help the youth with then than Pamela Yates ( Pamela, documentary filmmaker, has graciously agreed to skype in and talk to the group.

In preparation for this session with Pamela, the youth are watching “When the Mountains Tremble”. I have asked them to think about the same kinds of things that they did in the first workshop: What is the story, Who is the audience, What was the most important part and how was it told, and how does this help you think about your own story you want to tell? We have also asked them generate questions that they might have about the movie. Stay tuned for more on this!