YES! I am the CHANGE, initiated by YES FOUNDATION, the social development arm of YES BANK, has emerged as the largest filmmaking challenge in India and one of the biggest short-filmmaking movements in the world, with 1750+ films made by over 50,000 citizen film makers from 1,000 cities and towns across all states of India. The films were made on current issues of national importance including women’s safety, child rights and education, livelihood, environmental sustainability, women’s empowerment and elderly care.
Prerana Langa, CEO of YES Foundation, shares her views and how the initiative is creating inner transformation of youth through exposure to social causes.
What is the mission of ‘YES! i am the CHANGE’ initiative?
YES! I am the CHANGE (YIAC) is a nationwide movement to inspire, engage and empower youth to participate in India’s social transformation through the impactful medium of films. Media has emerged as an amplifier and an increasingly critical means for driving social transformation, as it enables one to voice concerns, engage with society, and generate participation and action solutions.
The initiative focuses on creating inner transformation of youth through exposure to social causes, inspiring them to make films for social change, and facilitating creation of high quality, informative short films on social issues, which form an open repository enabling Not for-Profits to use them for the purpose of spreading awareness and mobilizing resources.
This year, YES! i am the CHANGE has emerged has the largest filmmaking challenge in India and one of the biggest film movements in the world, with over 1750+ completed film submissions and participation of over 50,000 youth, across all Indian states.
Why such kind of initiative is needed?
We have a large youth population and these young people have been proactively voicing their concerns about social issues, contrary to the popular belief that they are apathetic about the country’s development. The youth have ideas, passion, and most important of all, determination to bring about change and there is a need to harness this enormous untapped energy towards the growth and development of the nation. On the other hand, Not-for-Profits have been playing a pivotal role in addressing social issues but their efforts require a multiplier effect, addressing scale and impact within India. Access to good audio visual content and committed volunteers increases manifold the awareness generation and resource mobilization capacity of Not-for-Profits.
How are you addressing social challenges through this initiative?
Through the 101-Hour National Filmmaking Challenge, we encourageyouth to make short films (5 minutes or less duration) on social causes, random acts of kindness and everyday heroes. We create opportunities for youth to engage with social issues through a fun and experiential medium, and build sensitivity towards causes so that they may become life-long agents of change. Many participants have started engaging with social causes and harnessing the power of media for social change.
For example, Kuljeet Chaudhary, a participant who made a film on animal rights has become a passionate and active volunteer with Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
Samir Karnik, a first time filmmaker who participated in YIAC 2013, made a film on St. Catherine’s Home for girls born with HIV. After making the film, Samir and his team have stayed involved with the home, and held music and arts and crafts events for the girls. Other participants have gone on to make more films on social issues, including a team from Ladakh who are now making a film on inspiring Ladakhi women.
Moreover, the project creates a repository of films that can be used free of cost by Not-for-Profits to raise awareness and mobilize resources for their work.
What are the achievements of the of ‘YES! iam the CHANGE?
YES! i am the CHANGE has emerged as the largest filmmaking program in India and one of the biggest in the world.
Over 50,000 youth pan-India, from 1,000 cities and towns across all Indian States, participated in the 101-Hour National SocialFilmmaking Challenge 2014.
We received 1750+ completed films, which are being evaluated by an esteemed jury of filmmakers and educationists, including Vikramaditya Motwane (Director of Udaan and Lootera and Producer of Queen), Guneet Monga (Producer of The Lunch Box and Gangs of Wasseypur), Shoojit Sarkar (Director of Vicky Donor and Madras Cafe), Pritish Nandy (veteran journalist, poet and film producer), Nina Lath (Managing Director, National Film Development Corporation), Kailash Surendranath (veteran Ad filmmaker), Dr. Indu Shahani (ex-Sheriff, Mumbai and Dean, H.R. College, Mumbai) and Dr. Nagesh Rao (President and Director, MICA).
We have developed pro bono partnerships with 12 organizations including Media Trust, the UK’s largest Communications Not-for-Profit, CNN-IBN Citizen Journalist, Film and Television Producers Guild, International Advertising Association (India Chapter), Care India, GiveIndia, Helpage India, MICA, Press Club, Mumbai amongst others.
What are the most common issues addressed by citizen filmmakers?
We randomly assign participants two topics which are aligned with Millennium Development goals. Filmmakers then choose one on which to make a film. We have 10 topics as part of this year’s challenge, including Women Empowerment, Children’s Rights and Education, Environmental Sustainability, Elderly Care, Everyday Heroes, Random Acts of Kindness and Responsible Citizenship.
On Oct 31 & Nov 1 at the YES! i am the CHANGE Mumbai Film Festival we shall be celebrating the spirit of CHANGE by screening films, listening to eminent speakers and interacting with all participants! Check out the full screening schedule here. You may also visit the YES, I am the CHANGE Facebook page for more information.
Original text from yesfoundation.in and YES! i am the CHANGE Mumbai Film Festival Facebook page