Since 1990, MLF has regularly been involved in training grassroot activists in the use of video. MLF’s training is not only aimed at expanding production skills and creating video producers. The focus has been to equip people with skills and understanding to be able to integrate video with their work.
The training covers a range of aspects that can be broadly classified as media education and skill training.
Although groups working for social change in India have always used media, especially traditional media and the local press, and integrated these with their work, their experience has not been the same with an electronic media like video. Video is expensive, alien and hi-tech. Hence, even though its power to communicate is widely acknowledged, it has been difficult to integrate video in the agenda for social change. Even the limited use of video today has not moved perceptibly away from that propagated by mainstream television, giving rise to a culture of passive viewing. MLF conducts short regional workshops with grassroot groups on developing an understanding and critique of the dominant media in order to build an effective media perspective at the grassroots, and find ways of integrating audio-visual media in the agenda for social change.
Some of MLF’s trainees have gone on to become successful filmmakers whose films have not only raised important issues, but whose films have been recognised by national and international film festivals. Many of the groups and individuals who have been through MLF’s Media Education are using video regularly and effectively and, through local film festivals and screenings, taking important documentaries to the people.
Skill training is designed to suit the needs of activists and is conducted on specific request from organisations. The skill training sessions are usually organized in the regions where the organisations are based. The skill training covers aspects like the basics of video technology, researching for a documentary, its scripting, handling of camera and sound, editing and translations of existing programmes.