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Film for Good

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Film For Good; Changed For Good

By Nicole

To be honest, coming for this trip was a whirlwind decision for me. I had zero filming experience whatsoever, had never touched a camcorder in my life and did not have much of an attachment to Vietnam to speak of. But that was exactly the reason why I decided to take a leap of faith and apply for the programme: because I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and try something completely crazy and new.

So I started the trip with an open mind and no expectations at all, and all I hoped was that I would gain some basic filming experience and have an enjoyable time. However, oh boy was I in for a surprise: it was interesting to see how the trip quickly became much more than just fun and games.

Before I embarked on the trip, many of my friends asked me: "So what exactly are you going to do on this trip?" And I would struggle to produce a fluent reply, mumbling something along the lines of learning film-making and doing community work, but never really able to connect the dots between the two. However, on this trip, I learnt that as different as the two might sound, they are in fact intertwined. From conceptualizing the film, to the film screening where members of the audience came up to us and told us how moved they were by our films, I have learnt that if a picture can tell a thousand words, then a motion picture, comprised of thousands of pictures, can depict an entire story. Being tasked to bring back the stories of the Vi Thuy villagers to raise awareness seemed mammoth initially, but it all changes when you step in to look at things from their perspective.

This sparked the idea for my team’s film, aptly entitled “Second Glance”, which traced many of the personal experiences we underwent on this trip and eventually, how we came about having a change in mindset. We visited so many places and families, like the betel leaf farm, the fish farm and the mayor and his wife, that it was easy to be caught up in them and appreciate them from an outsider’s point of view – detached and superficial – that you fail to question the real human stories behind. This birthed forth many film ideas for other teams as well, where one team chose to put the support for the elderly and disabled in the village under the microscope through in-depth interviews, while another team took the opposite approach and produced a silent film comprising of behind-the-scenes shots of the village; shots that many often neglect but in fact, can tell a story of its own. 

It is easy to have many ideas in your head, but actually executing them can be the trickiest bit. We were privileged to work with Jeanine Lim, a local filmmaker with years of experience under her belt, who taught us how to transform those "head" ideas into action in front of the camera. With the help of the other facilitators on the trip - Shin, Mark and Eddy - we were then able to piece them together to form a coherent documentary.

However, now with the film in hand, what good is it if it is not used to bless the villagers in return? For that, we had the honor of working with Project Give Pray Love, a charity project started by Jeanine and her mother, Monique to help the Vietnamese poor by donating necessities to them; as well as Anh Duong, a local non-governmental organization (NGO) that helped farmers and special-needs children by creating unique educational curriculums catered to their needs. Hence, as a team, we decided to donate the money earned from our fundraisers to them as we felt they were causes worth supporting.

I was very blessed to have such a supportive and fun-loving team that I can now call my friends that went along for this trip. One of my favourite memories of the trip was when ten of the girls shared one big dormitory in Ho Chi Minh and huddled together at the end of the day to discuss our takeaways from the day, including out shopping loots! Another heartwarming moment for me would also be on one of the days of the trip where I fell ill. I was touched at how everyone was genuinely concerned about me, and looked out for me in the following days. As one big team, we had also seen each other go through tough times like pulling all-nighters just to get the final film done, and also supported each other by volunteering to go out and buy back some excellent ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee). I daresay that if I went with a different team, the entire experience would have been totally different.

On hindsight, I definitely have no regrets signing up for this trip. It met my expectations of picking up a new skill and having fun, and definitely exceeded them by leaps and bounds. It is amazing how we thought we went to Vietnam to bless the poor, but in the end, we were the ones who gained so much – be it the memories, friends and changes in perspectives. I thought I was there to film for good, but in the end, I was changed for good.

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Sweet Treats for A Good Cause

Last Saturday, the Project Skillseed team headed down to Clarke Quay to support some of our Film For Good participants at the Trader’s Market!

The participants set up a booth at the flea market to raise funds for their upcoming filming trip to Vietnam in December.

Here is Izzy, one of our participants, posing happily with her homemade toffee apples.

Here is Izzy, one of our participants, posing happily with her homemade toffee apples.

In view of the Halloween season, a few of our participants stirred up some homemade sweet treats and tasty baked goodness in their kitchen.

Specially made for the one night event, there were goodies such as toffee apples and homemade chunky cookies to attract the tastebuds of the crowd.

I heard these girls came up with a cookie called Voldermort's Nose. Have you tried it yet?

I heard these girls came up with a cookie called Voldermort's Nose. Have you tried it yet?

For those not into sweet stuff, there were unique shirty bags available for sale at the flea. One of our participants, Anderson, actually sourced it from Cambodia! 

Anderson and his unique shirty bags!

Anderson and his unique shirty bags!

 

"Film For Good" is another specialised program exclusively created by Project Skillseed to create a platform for the participants to experience and learn from their dreams and interest.

Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Through this programme, we hope to nurture future filmmakers and avid storytellers to create an impactful story that will inspire and create a positive impact in society.

Besides imparting to our participants a skill that they can benefit from for life, this program also gives them the opportunity to apply what they have learned to assist the disabled community in Vietnam. 

On this trip, the participants are challenged to create a short silent film that captures the stories of disabled students in Vietnam while encompassing the message to inspire change to help these students realise their challenges, dreams and potential.

During the 8 days stay at the village, participants will be immersing themselves into the rich Vietnamese culture, considered as one of the oldest in Southeast Asia.


Before we embarked on the trip, the Project Skillseed team and participants had a chance to visit the Singapore School For The Deaf to learn more about the local deaf community.

It was a fun afternoon spent interacting with the students as we learnt more about their their passion and dream careers! Before we left, our participants also got the chance to film a short video message from the students to be presented to the handicapped students in Vietnam.

With all these pre-departure activities to prepare us for our trip, we sure are excited to what is instore for us in Vietnam!

Before we end off, we would like to thank our generous sponsors, For Flea Sake for sponsoring us a booth at the flea market and Sony Singapore for sponsoring us the video cameras.

Do follow us on all our social media pages TODAY as we update you with an exclusive preview through our camera lenses of the beautiful sights of Vietnam.

Love,
Brenda

 

 

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