By Nigel Akuani
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 20 July 2021 -- Creative short films illustrating the importance of Hope, Faith and Inspiration amidst COVID-19 were filmed by students from eight Catholic Schools in Port Moresby, the nation’s capital.
The films were produced and screened during the fourth Media Education Seminar (MES) held from Friday 16 - Sunday 18 July 2021, at the Emmaus Conference Centre, Boroko. Facilitated by Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb, Social Communications (SOCOM) Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference and the SOCOM, the seminar had as its theme, ‘Hope Amidst COVID-19’ and had the engagement of 41 students.
MES 4 focused primarily on Short Film Creation and gave participants an opportunity to refine their skills in the art of Cinematography. Numerous sessions were presented by members of the SOCOM team that covered Basic Shots, Shooting Techniques, Film Storyboards, an emphasis on the importance of a School Media Plan, a session focusing on information discernment amidst the pandemic, the Theology of Communication and the importance of effecting social change in community through the level of policy change at the level of government. Amidst the deadlines to be met were moments of relaxation, reflection and prayer that contributed to creative and insightful productions.
“The Media seminars offers our digital natives an opportunity to be advocates of change in society. It is a platform wherein our young people can creatively express their inner feelings and desires. They want a challenge and it is up to us to encourage and guide them to express their values and their faith. The weekend has been a creative and an inspiring one for all of us”, said Fr Ambrose.
“Apart from creating films, I liked the emphasis of communication in the sessions of MES4. The Theology of Communication reminded me about God’s love for each of us and the world, while the infodemic session enlightened me on how communication is misused and abused at these present times,” said Lucy Napitalai, Media Animator from Don Bosco Technological Institute, Boroko.
Mr Leo Paraha, Media Animator of DBTS, said he was grateful for the opportunity for his students to have attended the fourth seminar, and explained how it was a step-forward that refined the students’ knowledge and skills in filming. “This seminar has pointed out our failures in raising our school’s media profile. We have to be committed to use this tool constructively,” he said.
Deputy Manager of Limana Vocational Centre, Ms Ivy Labradores, warned how in today’s world there was so much negativity causing chaos and destruction and called for young people to rise up, take charge and be the change they want to see. “We need more positive changes and we need you to be that influencer. You may be outnumbered because you are young but your words, talents, and the skills learnt from this seminar have been ingrained in you and that is something nobody can take away from you. Use it to influence and inspire others so that our society may thrive together,” she urged.
La Salle Technical College Animator, Mr Murray Misha, described the seminar as an empowerment program for young minds in preparation for them to later take on more responsible and senior roles in their schools. “It surely has proven to be positively beneficial for our students’ integral development as they have developed the social speaking skills of communicating with others. The addition of filming and acting on camera has broken down barriers that once hindered growth in their confidence,” he added.
The video products created by the students were later previewed during the seminar’s closing ceremony on Sunday 18th July, before an audience of students, parents and siblings, Priests and Religious, Teachers and Animators.
Speaking as a special guest at the ceremony, Provincial Superior of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr. Gregory Bicomong sdb, encouraged the youngsters to use the new means of communication to share good news particularly during such times when there was a surge in fake news and misinformation. “The media is being used to distort information and truth in favour of those who control it. This is Digital Dictatorship. You are young and you are Christians and our God is the word of life and truth, and so I implore you to share credible and positive information that society can rely on and build from,” he stressed.
Martin Keyaling, the father of Emmanuel Martin, a media participant from La Salle College expressed his uttermost gratitude and apperception for an exceptional program to harness the talent, creativity and skill of the participants. “I am grateful for an amazing program that has evoked immense talent in the students”, he said.
Students represented schools, colleges and institutes that included: De La Salle Secondary School, Don Bosco Technical Secondary School (DBTS), Don Bosco Technological Institute (DBTI), Jubilee Catholic Secondary School, La Salle Technical College (LSTC), Limana Vocational Training Centre, Marianville Secondary School, and St Charles Lwanga Secondary School.
The program has been put together by the CBC SOCOM team with the assistance and support of SIGNIS, CARITAS Australia, Media outlets, principals of the different schools and the many who are concerned about the use of the media.
The next highlight is the International Short Film Festival 2021. Young people are invited to create short films on the theme: ‘Hope amidst COVID-19.’ The last day for submission is the 28th July 2021. For criteria and participation details kindly contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.