Racines organizes a Guerilla Filmmaking workshop – Theory and techniques of mobile-phone documentaries


In some countries, the process of getting shooting permits through standard circuits has become extremely difficult, particularly when it comes to films denouncing matters that are controversial for governments. One of these issues is migration. It is within this context that Racines aisbl organized a workshop on “Theory and techniques of mobile-phone documentaries” destined to activists operating in the field of migration and forced displacement across the Maghreb region. Its primary objective is to enable them to direct short films (professionally and with limited resources) capable of being globally disseminated and to become powerful instruments of advocacy. 

Documentary cinema means not only the “filmed reality” but above all “a reality filtered by the author’s visual sensibility”, it is a way of story-telling and expressing ourselves, and a mobile phone is the most direct, intimate and urgent tool we can use.

The workshop aims through theoretical, linguistic and practical meetings to illustrate the steps necessary to produce a documentary that can offer an insight to a story, a situation, a moment, or a personal diary, with the use of cell phones and apps, with particular attention to the production, conceptual and writing phases but also to the shooting and editing moment. 

The training session consists of two full days, it is presented as follows: 

Script: introduction to the Guerrilla Filmmaking concept, from the conceiving of a subject, a treatment, to film’s narratives, with a big focus on ethics, sources checking, already existing footage and the “video language” to choose. 

Shoot:  participants got an overview of various shooting techniques, including lighting, framing, ratio, sound, …  using a smartphone. 

Edit: the second module covered the essentials of editing, bringing the participants to easy to use softwares and applications (adding titles / texts / figures, tricks, color correction, audio effects if necessary, ..). Practical exercises were also part of the agenda.

The workshop was facilitated by Francesco Clerici (Italy) and Manuele Sangalli (Italy)

The workshop was organized as part of the MADAR Network. MADAR (Maghreb Action on Displacement and Rights) is a research – action project that aims to improve the humanitarian protection of vulnerable, displaced people in contexts of conflict in the Maghreb region of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.

Racines News MADAR 2023/06/08

Share this article: