Mark Jones, our Distribution Manager in Cambodia, has been doing an amazing job of arranging for the film, “Encourage and I Can’ to be shown in various places.
The film has been shown on TV Kampuchea four times now. The first two times were on 4th and 5th April this year, with English sub-titles. The film was shown again on 11th and 15th April, this time with a Khmer sign language interpretation.
Mark has organised a three-day tour of Chhuk District High Schools with the help of the Director of Education and a couple of school principals. So far, they have shown the film to over seven-hundred pupils and are hoping that by the end of day 3, this will be over a thousand.
Mark has also signed a contract with the GST bus company to have the film shown on eleven of their national coaches throughout the month of May. He estimates that with the 341 screenings, the film should reach between 8,000 and 12,000 people.
The distribution of the Cambodian film, “Encourage and I can” is going really well at present. So far, the film has been seen by over 8,000 people and the feedback has been really exciting.
Mark Jones has used a local contact to have the film shown on a number of long-distance bus journeys. It is estimated that, in this way, over 2,000 people have seen the film and the responses have been very positive, ranging from “I am happy to see that people with a disability have so much ability” to “I do not discriminate against people with a disability and I will tell others not to”.
Mark has been able to show the film to about 900 pupils in five schools across Kompong Trach and Chhuk districts. This was generally to the lower secondary students but in one school, the headmaster included the upper secondary students who had finished their exams. The responses showed that the students had taken the message of the film on board and would be prepared to change their thinking and actions as a result. One of the most common responses was, “People with disabilities have the ability to do things that other people can do – like have a job.” But the students also showed a change in their thinking reflected in comments like, “People with disabilities need help from other people when they meet difficulties” and an understanding by some that these people are potential friends.
Mark will be running another campaign into the schools between January and March 2013, hoping to reach a wider audience this time, including the upper secondary students. As the film has a Cambodian sign language narration, Mark will be working with the Deaf Development Programme to run screenings in their schools and centres. And he is investigating ways of getting the film broadcast on television.
Purple Field Productions have already produced nine educational films, on crucial issues relating to health, disability, sustainable agriculture and the environment – and more films are planned. Film is a popular and extremely effective medium to impart knowledge and awareness of a wide range of subjects. For optimum effect these films need to reach the widest possible target audience. Effective distribution is the key to this and PFP is developing imaginative and innovative means appropriate to local conditions.
However, the majority of our films are designed specifically to be shown in rural areas where access to much needed information is extremely limited and distribution to these areas has always been difficult, and is becoming increasingly so. To combat this problem PFP are working in collaboration with Electric Pedals, who have developed a pedal powered mobile cinema which combines generator and projector to show films in rural areas that do not have electric power. Plans are in place to send a team out to Malawi in 2013 with the equipment and expertise to train local communities in the maintenance and operation of the pedal powered projector.
We are also piloting a scheme recruiting distribution managers to work in the local country to increase the distribution of our films amongst the communities concerned. We currently have a distribution manager working out in Cambodia developing and delivering distribution plans for the PFP disability awareness film “Encourage and I Can”. Plans are also in place to recruit a manager this autumn to work out in Ghana in a similar role distributing the “The Time Is Now” – a PFP film highlighting the problems faced by children in Ghana with cerebral palsy.
We are launching an appeal and carrying out various fundraising activities throughout this year to help raise the much needed funds to finance these initiatives.
Please visit our online fundraising webpage at www.thebiggive.org.uk to find out more about our distribution plans and how you can help support us.
From the feedback we receive, we know that our films can provide a very effective means of getting important messages across, but they also have the potential to achieve more – and are appropriate to a wider geographical audience than our hard-working partners have the resources to reach. It has always been in the PFP mission to distribute films as well as to produce them, but it is a challenge that has had to wait until we were sufficiently established. Although we have much to learn about distribution, and it is difficult to co-ordinate without offices in the countries concerned, plans are afoot to run a couple of small pilot schemes. One such scheme has just started in Cambodia with Mark Jones, camera operator on ‘Encourage and I Can’ taking up a temporary role as Cambodian Distribution Manager. His job will be to research and carry out a means of taking this film to a wider audience.
Radio Bhai (made in association with the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed) and Encourage and I Can (made in association with Epic Arts) were recently selected for screening at the Abilityfest Film Festival in Chennai. The festival organiser writes as follows – “We are pleased to inform you that Abilityfest 2011 was a huge success. The crowds came in huge numbers and appreciated the cinema that we showcased. We are also very proud to say that Encourage and I Can and Radio Bhai were very well received. We spoke to people in the audience who enjoyed Radio Bhai and others who were touched by Encourage and I Can”.