Phiren Amenca

FOCUS Training Course – Lyon, June 2017



Last week, I was fortunate to attend a focus film training in Lyon, France. The training brought 15 participants from the countries of France, Kosovo and Hungary, to Lyon for a week long training course. It was geared towards learning how use films with non-formal education activities as a means of bringing social awareness to the challenges which the Roma community faces.

focus film seminar 3

The Focus film project is comprised of many different components. The first component is an extensive film catalogue and database which spans throughout many genres of film. The films within the catalogue are related to the everyday lives and challenges of the Roma community. The second component, of the project is the development of a non formal education toolkit, which can be used in direct connection with the screening of the films. An idealist and desired result would to be to openly engage and encourage youth participation through the use of film.

Throughout the week, we participated in a number of activities and sessions, which were geared towards teaching us about the many components of screening films and how to run non-formal educational workshops based on the films which we choose to screen. It also allowed for participants to collaborate upon future ideas and the implementation of future projects.

One of my favorite activities that we did was called dream world. During this activity we went through different rooms of the building, and were instructed to think about what our dreams are. In the first room, we were instructed to close our eyes, and think about our dreams. In the second room, we were instructed to think about all of the obstacles which we think get in the way of our dreams. In the final location, we were able to talk about our dreams with the other participants, and receive advice from on another.

focus film seminar

It was a great activity, which allowed us all to really think about how we can achieve our next goals in life. Discussions we had with other participants really allowed us to understand why our dreams are important to each one of us. It allowed me to understand what factors in my life are the most challenging in achieving dreams, and how to overcome them.

Another great activity was when we were asked to create and facilitate activities based upon the screening of two films, Searching for the Fourth Nail, and Me, My Gypsy Family, and Woody Allen. After we had time to design the workshops within our groups, we were able to facilitate the activities within a bigger group.

It was a great activity, because it allowed for us to see the components relating to being a facilitator. It allowed us to see what kind of activities we excel at running, and where our comfort levels are in relation to facilitating workshops. We learned a lot about our individual teaching styles; while also learning about the different needs of participants within an activity. By understanding what its like to be a participant; as well as being a facilitator, we were given a full picture of what the learning process can look like. In order for non-formal education to have an impact, we must be able to understand the needs of all who are involved.

As the training came to a close, we left Lyon with more tools and motivation to continue working towards the establishment of a better world. In many ways, this training was the merely a starting point on an ongoing journey. It provided me with a much better understanding of how important cinema can be. Film is a unique tool, which can be used to express creativity and art. It can also be used as a medium for individuals to express a need for change within the confines of society. Perhaps, by bridging the gap between film and its ability to educate, we might be able to slowly challenge stereotypes, human rights violations, and discrimination against all those who are affected by it.

More info about the project:

Dennis Brink


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