Translate This Page

Last Day - Debrief and Screening

We arrived early at 8am, the teams were not to be seen, they had spent the night editing and re-editing till late. They staggered in blurry eyed yet smiling, we watched each film in turn making a few suggestions to improve the films, which as ever goes down like a lead balloon. Yet all the groups understood and tweaked their films and exported again.

The main teaching space was then transformed into a mini cinema, with rows of chairs, blacked out windows and a projector set up. Pine branches were laid out on the floor, which gave off a fresh smell, a tradition in Mayan culture at important gatherings.  Slowly the room filled with family, friends and the local community.  As is tradition with Mayan gatherings, music was played, the national anthem was sung, speeches were delivered, flags were paraded and food was consumed.  After a few hours of festive activities, the teams came up and spoke in length about their experiences, and certificates for each attended participant were awarded.  Then to our surprise we were called up to receive presents of thanks and collect our own certificates, all very humbling and confirmed the bond we had developed with the participants. 

The local television station interviewed us, asking various questions about our intentions, the community, the films and our perceptions of Guatemala, the programme went out that night. The radio interviews were live and similar questions centred on what is media empowerment and positive representation. This was all quite nerve-racking, because we were both exhausted after the intense week (and little sun) and were just getting over our jet lag, after arriving a day late due to storms that diverted our flights. So we had arrived the night before the workshops were meant to start, our plan was to have a day off, then start. So it had been a non stop 7 days of media madness, but all had worked out perfectly.  

Then the screenings, all 4 films were shown and a full audience watched and clapped wildly at the end of each, each film was different, some demonstrated high levels of media competence, others were less technically proficient but still exceptional for first films.  All 4 films had the key elements of storytelling and filming required for this level of training. The participants had produced 4 mini documentary films that followed conventions, used interesting styles and ideas and most importantly all groups had managed to make films; something at the start of the week they had never undertaken before. Not only that, they had produced films ready to go onto their community website and be circulated to the Mayan committees and peoples of Guatemala.  For many in the group, this was the beginning of a new phase in their desires to tell their own stories and the stories that permeate their lives.  

Many of the Mayans expressed that this was a tool they would use from now on and could see that they could use film making to develop their own lives. One group had a music band, and they were going to film their music, another group had formed a little company and wanted to offer their skills to other communities, others liked the editing and presenting and all expressed their desire to develop all the new skills they had acquired.  The ethos of our company Citizen Camera and of this project is media empowerment, to be able to teach people to tell their own stories, to empower them to see media as a skill, trade and future life and career opportunity, and all these elements were more than evident after just one week of teaching.

As the Mayans fight to keep their cultural identity within Guatemala it became even more pertinent to use when one of the elders at the end of the session, during the debrief, said ‘whatever happens, remember that the skills we have learnt over the last few days can never be taken away from us’.


As all the equipment was left with the community, it was always intended that the participants would continue to make films, develop their skills and start to broadcast their own news online. Already, in this short time, the participants are still using the cameras and a volunteer is shortly arriving to continue overseeing the film work.


This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola