Barni Qaasim’s workshop on online video for social justice

I’m already pyched to be here since I loved the clips of Barni’s films last night—especially her extraordinary footage of Somali women singing for a new baby.

So far there are only 7 people here but everyone is here for real, focused reasons–everyone works on social justice, or film, or both. Barni started out by saying that she thinks artists tell stories that can make a real difference.

Hah–fellow blogger Tiffany Ana Lopez just came in, laptop at the ready. Let’s see how our accounts create a dialogue!

We’re gathering around her laptop to see a YouTube video about immigration in AZ. It’s amazing—full of veyr immediate stories and testimonio. She asks what a video about social justice can or should look like. An older White man in the circle (a self-described anarchist) says he likes the way it isn’t snide in the ways that mainstream news is. Several others said they like its realness—letting the material tell the story. This strikes me as idealistic—as an ethnographer, I know that ‘the material’ can tell a range of possible stories, depending on who’s shaping it! The filmmaker Scott said, as he did last night at the film festival, that he like “authenticity,” making me wonder who gets to determine what’s authentic and what isn’t.

Barni notes tht its essential to make such grassroots films with the involvement of community members. She says that maintaining a sense of the conversational can make a big difference. This particular film was emailed far and wide in an email blast by the Tucson community members affected by HB 1070, resulting in a very effective fundraising drive. She says she goes, hangs out, helps out, and shoots in between all the other activities.

She ecourages simple filmmaking—a Flip cam, a cell phone. She says you can create very moving media with simple means, including simple editing directly on YouTube. I’m more and more inspired by all this—I want to run right out and interview women at this unconference!

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