Camara Chica Mentor collects materials from creators during pandemic
This is how audiovisuals are collected. ©

Photo courtesy of the person interviewed.

Cámara Chica Rodando Fantasías: recipe for living in a creative quarantine

The expansion of Covid-19 has brought a change on daily life. Cuba, like any other nation in the Americas region, faces the challenges of learning how to live in conditions of isolation. However, our children and young people from Cámara Chica project have found the recipe to turn their time at home into a creative quarantine full of love and hope.

The National Festival Camara Chica Rodando Fantasías was supposed to take place at the end of May 2020. Every year the event is organized by the community centre in Villa Clara city, but the pandemic changed plans for the event and the audio-visual impetus had to stay at home along the kids. Despite this, children, parents and mentors decided to look for an alternative to continue working on films:

“Before school and cultural activities were cancelled, we met to define the future of the project --says Cesar Irigollen, mentor for the group. I was concerned about the effects that distancing could have on children who potentially could lose enthusiasm for rehearsals, filming processes and creation. So, I suggested they could film their own digital diaries using mobile devices and the resources they have learned in our workshops. I wanted them to stay home, but to be active as well".

So far, Villa Clara is one of the provinces in Cuba with the higher number of children infected with Covid-19, therefore, the mentor's initiative became a perfect solution for parents who needed to keep their kids and youngsters at home:

“It is incredible, the result of the work we have done over 7 years is now being shown. Parents already know a lot about the audio-visual language. They get in touch with me through social media and by phone to share their children's ideas. Together we define the script and collate the production using the resources that each one has at home.

“When the material is ready, I take mi bike to pick up the films. I have to wear the necessary protective means to do so (face mask, a cap and glasses). Back home, I add the logos and the presentation screen and then I take them to the local television channel, that has also become our home since a long time ago. As a result, the materials have been broadcasted in special tv programmes covering the Covid-19 issue and in nationwide children's programmes”.

At the moment we are unable to predict when we would be able to go back to our normal life, but for these children, their family and their mentors, the most important thing is “Never stop dreaming. Whenever there is an idea, a story to tell, no matter which technology is available, with less, with almost nothing and in challenging circumstances, the important thing to do is to create”.

Cesar Irigollen Milian: director and screenwriter for local television and radio in the province of Villa Clara.

Cámara Chica Project runs as part of British Council-Cuba collaboration program with the Ministry of Culture of Cuba aimed at developing audio-visual and creative skills on younger generations along 11 community centres in the Island.

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