Making movies with Nitin Das

I remember what school was like. It hasn’t been long since I left, but the memories remain fresh. I walked through the gates of Mount Abu Public School, which mind you could have easily been mistaken as a five star hotel. With all the Janmashtami celebrations, there seemed to be an equal amount of excitement amongst visiting teachers. The “Nokia Create to Inspire” School program had found its way to Rohini, ready to teach educators about the wonderful topic of E-waste through creative means using films.

The objective of the workshop was to teach our educators how to initiate fun and exciting conversations on sustainable consumption. It was quite the experience to see teachers turn into students, nice to have the tables turned for once! Independent film director, Nitin Das, prepared a wonderful presentation on how to make and edit movies.

Once seated, the teachers were all asked a question, “Have any of you seen movies?” A question that received quite the chuckle. The answer was a resounding YES. A second question followed, “Have any of you ever made a movie, or a film?” It was here where hands stayed down, as faces were filled with a bit of confusion. One teacher said “Well I know how to make videos but I give them to my students to edit them.”

It seemed like a tough task to introduce the process of film making to the teachers, but Nitin was up to the challenge. Step by step he introduced better ways of taking photographs, the alphabets of filmmaking, and finally editing a movie. Teachers began their conversations, taking photographs of each other, laughing and smiling. The inner child had escaped and had brought about joy.

The main task given to the teachers was to capture, and edit their own movie. Split into groups, each team was given an apple with a simple idea. “In the first frame, show one person with the apple, in the second, show two people with one apple and in the third, so on and so forth. This idea is a good example of how our world’s resources are under pressure. Our populations grow yet there aren’t enough resources to meet demand,” said Nitin.

The teachers got to the task right away capturing sometimes funny, and sometimes melancholy images and pieced them together using a basic video editor. The result, five short films with an apple playing the starring role. Each film displayed the level of creativity of the teachers, for which there was plenty. It was a lesson experienced not learned, as the groups finally realized the true potential of making movies.

When looking back as to how the lesson was conducted, it seemed fresh, new and certainly very exciting. The number of hours that I’d spent school, listening to many lecturers chastising humanity for the way we treat our environment, certainly did very little to excite me and encourage me to make a change. However, who knew that making fun movies and with innovative stories could be so rewarding? I suppose it’s the fact that being involved in the craft can really make a person see the world differently.

(The blog has been written by Mr. Dhruv Vishwanath from Nokia)

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When creativity strikes Back

Sustainability can be such an exhausting term. Rather contradictory don’t you think? We hear the word pretty much every time we turn our heads. I get the feeling that our issue with sustainability is that we as a species are desensitized to the term. By simply defining the term and explaining its potential, it often inflicts boredom to many. Why is it considered boring though? Well it’s rather simple, at present there seems to be more believing than seeing. Need I remind you that seeing is believing?

 

Like many things, products especially, sustainable consumption needs a little bit of marketing. Sustainable Consumption: Defined as the process of allocating and consuming resources in a manner that satisfies the needs of the present populations whilst maintaining the availability of said resources for future generations.

 

Now the term itself has a rather broad definition but unlike many other products that are manufactured, sustainable consumption isn’t a physical product manufactured by a single company. Instead it is a social construct that we devised in order to make society aware of their damage to the environment. It is a concept that only comes to life if a collective mindset aims towards the same goal; which is ensuring the future of the children who will eventually inherit what we leave behind.

 

But back to my point, Sustainable Consumption needs its own marketing. How would we do that exactly? Policies via the millennium development goals have played huge roles in forcefully imparting responsibilities on economies. However, it’s the resident, the citizen, not the industry that needs to know more about how we can change the way we live, in order to set precedents for our future generations.

 

There are always the arts. Creative mediums are known to have to power to convey emotions and stories to millions. Dance, music, art, filmmaking, theater, photography are more than capable of spreading messages subliminally whilst capturing the interest of many.

 

Let us take for example art installations. These wonders often display the best use of minimal resources to make expansive installations. These installations allow for people to interact with them, have them move, make noises or perform elaborate functions all to convey a simple message.

 

http://vimeo.com/45188800

 

The video shows an installation of raindrops plated in copper and attached to wires. The drops are programmed and choreographed and have seamless movements. An installation such as this has the power to invoke powerful memories. Simple messages such as trying to ensure the perennial beauty of nature may seem poetic, but can have a profound effect.

 

http://1start.tumblr.com/page/2

 

Here’s another link to examples of sustainable art. Pay attention to the garbage art pieces. The simplicity of piling the garbage in piles and having the resulting shadows cast in beautiful images of life. It seems rather fitting to display how human beings enjoy life and at the same time harm the environment. The images do provide food for thought. The blog quotes “Sustainability, as an art movement, is designed to acknowledge our global issue with waste. Or maybe you call it trash. Or rubbish, garbage, junk. No matter the terminology. We have built a culture where the majority is hidden from their output. What’s more, society’s input to my lives of the majority is nearly unlimited. There are no ramifications if I take more than I deserve; there are no ramifications if I waste more than I should.”

 

Other installations such as the Rain Room in the Barbican in London, allow a person to walk through a chamber filled with nozzles that sprout rain and exit completely dry. Beats an umbrella right?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nordjEYfdg8

 

In today’s world there are countless examples of how simple mechanisms can convey powerful messages. Let’s face it, people like to be entertained, so what’s better than seeing faces livened up by allowing them to experience something otherwise never ventured. Seeing finally met believing and had wonderful children. The tactile interaction between the audience and the art ignites emotions so far beyond the human imagination.

 

With the arts, one can visually or aurally present ideas, stories and concepts be it music, dance, theater or photography. What is certain is that expressing sustainability through creative means keeps the topic relevant, no longer confining it to forums and classrooms, instead moving to towards the dinner table, or over the phone. Move over Gossip Girl, there’s a new show in town.

 

There is a caveat however. The novelty of a piece of art wears off quickly, followed by the public’s enthusiasm for it. The focus now turns to maintaining their interest in social awareness projects. An installation, a song, a play, a choreographed dance routine are all beautiful to observe and enjoy, but it is important to ensure that that the experience and the knowledge imparted is worth far more than just witnessing the event.

 

What are needed are campaigns. Long, sustained efforts to keep people active, and participating and finally achieving a goal. Create to Inspire School Program is an initiative that aims to use the arts in promoting successful campaigns. Using creative mediums as the foundation of campaigns. With performances in various schools, art installations in a number of places and publicized events, all relating to the themes of the program. Using the arts to make campaigns can have a profound effect.

 

The unique element of creative expressions is that it can easily influence society, even if for a short period, so imagine what a sustained influence may have. Involving arts in campaigns has the potential of turning an audience, into participants.

 

http://www.princeton.edu/~artspol/workpap/WP20%20-%20Guetzkow.pdf

 

This is an exciting time, I’m quite excited and you should be too. It’s not everyday that we get to witness change right before our eyes.

 

 

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Plastic – Working towards finding the Solution

Plastic is one of the biggest environmental challenges in front of us today and it is therefore extremely important to raise the right awareness about its usage, disposal and most importantly about the alternatives available.

Two students from Hillwood Academy School in Delhi and their teacher Ms. Bindu Muralidharan have taken a wonderful initiative to educate students in their school about plastic and the problem it can create. The students under the guidance of their teacher have prepared a simple presentation to highlight the environmental challenges emerging from the irresponsible usage of plastic and what are the alternatives available to us.

You can view the complete presentation here: http://goo.gl/hvXIp9.

We really appreciate their efforts and hope they would be inspire many others to make their own efforts.

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Create To Inspire (contd…)

After the last week’s post, we have received several emails and messages asking to reveal more information on what exactly is Create To Inspire School Program. This post is all about that.

Create to Inspire School Program is an initiative by Nokia and it is being run in collaboration with Department of Environment – Delhi Government, GIZ and i-dream. The objective of the program is:

  1. Use creative expressions like film making, photography, art installation etc to engage with school children in a manner which is fun, interactive and engaging so as to start a conversation on sustainable consumption in our schools
  2. Build capacity of our school teachers and give them tools which can help them to educate, impact and inspire their school children to adopt sustainability as a part of their lifestyle

You may ask us, why this campaign when there are several others talking about environment in schools. Well, here’s how we differ:

  1. Our focus is not to build awareness on environmental issues. That is a passe. Our focus instead is to talk about solutions, give action points to students and encourage them to do it. For eg: One key element of the program is the e-waste collection drive which will be organized by the schools. We are therefore making it easy for all stakeholders in the schools to collect their e-waste which will be taken by our teams and sent for recycling. Therefore, rather than just creating awareness, we are providing an action item
  2. The program completely moves away from the usual teaching pedagogies. We shall be using games, activities, role plays and creative expressions like film making, photography, art installations etc to make the whole process a lot more interesting, fun and engaging for the students and teachers in the school
  3. For the first time ever, here’s a program that focuses on building capacities of teachers. This, we believe is vital for the entire ecosystem to grow
  4. Again, the focus is to talk about Sustainability and Sustainable consumption rather than go back to the era of global warming, air pollution, water pollution etc

The program has already been initiated in over 130 schools in Delhi and while the first round of workshops happened in July, the second workshops are scheduled to happen in the last week of August.

To know more about the structure of the program , keep coming back to this blog. Our next post (to be out early next week), shall talk about the structure of the program and how this will be implemented in our schools. 

(the post is written by Rohit Prakash, founder i-dream. You can also follow the updates from our team at http://www.facebook.com/nokiacreatetoinspire)

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SCHOOLS CAN BE AGENTS OF CHANGE FOR E-WASTE MANAGEMENT

The technology, environment and population growth create changes. This is the fact that improving technology has made our lives easier. Imagine what your day would be like without the internet, the automobile, or electricity. Teachers are well positioned to identify the school-age children in the community, to encourage parents, to provide children with an interesting learning environment and to assist them with their educational problems and needs. Schools can play an important role in bringing about the changes in the lifestyle and psyche of the people. These school children can be agents to raise awareness in the community. School can provide a platform to the community for linking up with e-waste collection centers/ recyclers. Therefore now it is necessary to build up and deepen their knowledge base on this issue. Involvement with schools can help connect to families, public welfare associations, and other community agencies or organizations among others.

School students can reinforce and sensitize neighborhood in establishing an e-waste collection system in the city by promoting E-waste management activities like awareness campaigns, collection drives by sharing knowledge/information about e-waste reduction, collection, recycling and management. Long-term participation of the students, teachers with the community will encourage strong parental involvement towards e-waste management. This will increase participation of the community in e-waste management.

In context of E-waste Management, the motive of Create to Inspire School Program is to encourage community to maximize the impact at local level by organizing e-waste collection drive and awareness in Schools. This program provides a platform to the teachers and students to come up with innovative ideas and help the community to involve in e-waste management and channelize the collected e-waste to the authorize collection centers or recyclers for environmentally sound recycling of e-waste.

 

 

 

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Can we Create To Inspire?

Working in a field like environment, we are often faced with this question – How and what can inspire people to work and make a difference? We do not mean to claim that we have found an answer, but it seems that with our new program, we have certainly found a way to make the engagement process a lot more interesting.

Nokia Create To Inspire School Program is an attempt to use creative expressions of film making, photography, story telling, games, art installations to enable school teachers to start conversations around Sustainability and Sustainable consumption in their schools.

To understand our point well, watch this short film from Nitin Das, a noted film maker and also a mentor in this program:

The film asks a very simple question in the end, “How old are you?” and this simple question has the power to get your mind thinking. Moreover, while you are watching the film, you are hooked on to it to know what happens next. Very importantly, the film does not come across as one of those boring long films on environment. If we are watching this film with 20 people, this is bound to get some conversations started in that room. This in a way, is the essence of our school program.

Supported by Department of Environment, Delhi Government, GIZ and i-dream, this program is all about taking a leap of faith for all the stakeholders involved including the schools. And we believe it is time now to take the leap.

(To catch the latest on Nokia Create To Inspire School Program, join us on FB @ http://www.facebook.com/simplygreens)

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Remembering Captain Planet

Image

When I was a kid, the tv channel cartoon network had just made its entry in India. This was brilliant for us kids, of course, because none of us had ever imagined watching cartoons 24 hrs a day. But what was surprising wasn’t just the fact that there were funny cartoons on tv, but there were also a number of new concepts and ideas being presented to young minds through the medium of animation. One of these was Captain Planet.

In Captain Planet, 5 special children from various continents were chosen by the spirit of the Earth (Gaia) and presented 5 rings. The child from Africa got the power to shake, move or brake Earth, the girl from Asia could control water, the girl from Russia could control wind, the guy from America could control fire, and the youngest of them all, a boy from South America (my favorite) had the power of heart, to be able to produce love and positive energy in everyone. Together the 5 children went to various places around the world where Evil villains had decided to pollute the environment for personal profit and tried to stop them. When things got really difficult, they could combine their powers creating a superhero named Captain Planet. Captain Planet received energy from the good and clean elements of the Earth, while covering him in pollutants weakened him.

As a kid, this was probably the most convincing argument anyone could have made to make me care about my environment. It was better than the stories taught to us in schools. At the end of every episode that I remember watching, the characters used to give us special message on how we could make the difference. Some of those ideas, I still follow today. Following those ideas just made me feel so cool and awesome just like Captain Planet, and I aspired to be him.

In this current world, we all are still trying to control the Earth, the Water, the Air, the Fire and probably others feelings, but it seems our Superhero is lost. How come, our combined powers cannot really lead us to him. Simple events like throwing waste out of one’s car windows on the road have become so common that we seem to have come to terms with them and accepted them as a part of our society. If we want to make our future generations care about our environment, we need to make them believe that doing something for the environment is cool, it’s something awesome and something they need to aspire to, and not just learn as a part of their textbook curriculum.

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