Tag Archives: documentary filmmaking workshop

Oaxaca Documentary Filmmaking Workshop Teaches Practical Skills

I took what I learned, came home and produced and directed my own video for the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I work.  Here it is!


When I organized the documentary filmmaking workshop in Teotitlan del Valle last February 2009, my hope was that I could create a 5 minute film by the end of the workshop week.  As a novice, I wondered.  But lo and behold, Eric Chavez and I created a nice little piece about Federico Chavez Sosa and why he is a weaver.  When I left Oaxaca and returned to North Carolina, I thought, how would I continue to apply the skills I learned.  By April, the answer was clear.  I would make a film about a new laboratory at the School of Nursing and the important research that was taking place there that would eventually develop educational programs and interventions to prevent childhood obesity that can lead to Type 2 diabetes in children.  NC has one of the highest rates of childhood diabetes in country.  After interviewing, filming, taking B-roll, reshooting, and numerous rough cuts followed by focus groups and feedback sessions, my editing partner Amanda Willis and I were pretty satisfied with what you see here.  It’s far from perfect.  We are novices.  But we’re pretty proud of what we were able to create on a ZERO BUDGET.

Our goal, when we organized this Oaxaca filmmaking workshop, was to give people the skills to come back to their own communities and tell the stories that surround them every day.  The workshop gave me that.  I hope by seeing this film, it might inspire you to enroll.

Oaxaca Documentary Filmmaking Workshop:  Visual Storytelling, is set for February 19-26, 2010.  Early bird discount offered through October 31.  See the Blogroll for the link to the complete course description.

Weaving a Curve-Documentary Film: English Subtitles

I’m happy to announce that we now have the film that Eric and I made last February translated and imbedded with English subtitles.  Hallelujah!  Here’s the URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxgxcMQlQZM

Be sure to see the blog post:  Documentary Filmmaking Workshop: Visual Storytelling for the February 19-16, 2010 workshop. Taking registrations now.

I’m so NOVICE using Final Cut Pro and even with help from the Apple Store, I just couldn’t figure out how to make that pesky little app in the software work for me.  So, I called Erica Rothman, the instructor for our documentary filmmaking workshop, and she came to the rescue today.  Three hours later and now I can say we finally have a completed movie!  I gave Erica one of my Made By Hand Norma Hawthorne necklaces and a 1/2 pint of my homemade goat cheese in gratitude.  So, please enjoy and I’d love to hear your feedback.  Please note the the translation is not “word for word” but contextual!

Our next documentary filmmaking workshop in Teotitlan will start the last week in February 2010.  We have some exciting new ideas to incorporate, and this upcoming workshop will be two days longer so we will have more time to shoot B-roll, edit (and, yes, complete the subtitles, if needed), and have a bit more down time!

Documentary Filmmaking Workshop in Oaxaca Planned for Mid-January 2009

The Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle, 17 miles southwest of Oaxaca in the Tlacolula valley, becomes your learning laboratory for documentary filmmaking.  In this village of 7,000 people there are 2,000 looms, a multitude of weavers using natural dyes from plant materials — a 6,000 year old tradition, a 16th century Catholic church built atop Zapotec archeological ruins, sustainable agriculture programs, festivals and feast days, an environmental awareness program for children, people whose family members have gone to El Norte never to be seen again. The village, nestled at the foot of the Sierra Madre del Sur on a 6,000 ft. high desert plateau, offers a rich learning environment.  There are story possibilities galore that can feature indigenous art and culture, folk traditions, social justice, public health, education, immigration, women and families.

This will be a 5-day intensive, immersion documentary filmmaking workshop starting in mid-January 2009 (exact dates to be announced).   The workshop will be limited to 8 participants; we welcome participants at all levels, from beginner to more experienced.  You will produce a 3-5 minute short documentary film as your final project and show your film on the final day.  You will work together in small groups with expert faculty instructing you every step of the way, and then giving you the freedom to create an independent short subject film.  We will provide translators and lots of on-the-ground support.

We anticipate that the fee will include all instruction, 6 nights lodging, 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, snacks, use of all equipment, bilingual translators.  We don’t have any more to tell you right now!

If you are interest in knowing more details as they develop or you would like to add your name to a waiting list, please contact me — normahawthorne@mac.com.