previous video project reports:
2000, 2003

       During September 2004 Dan Higgins and Jane Kramer joined Ikel Robateau to offer a video production workshop for nine students who were part of URACCAN's Preparatorio Program. This is a special program in which young people from remote Miskito communities have been invited to live on URACCAN's Kamla campus and work toward both their high school education and university degree. The program will require seven years and this was the first year of the students' residency. The students were bright, enthusiastic, and worked beautifully together as a group.
       Besides covering the basics of video production the focus of the workshop was on having the students think of ways they could use the technology to express what was important to them, recognizing the character of their cultures and acknowledging the uniqueness of their situation. 
       For an early project they produced a visual collage of their lives in the dormitory, and in interviews they discussed what having the opportunity of being at URACCAN meant to them.
       Their final project involved the filming of "Sisimiki", a legend known to all of them from the Miskito communites. It is the story of an odd creature of a man who lives alone in the bush, yearns for a wife, captures a young girl, and takes her back to live with him. The film is filled with drama, as first the girl's mother dies from the shock of hearing what has happened to her daughter, and later the father dies from a broken heart. Meanwhile, the girl gives birth to a child for Sisimiki who later in the video grows into a young man, attempts to help his mother go back to look for her family, is attacked by his father Sisimiki, kills his father in the struggle, helps the mother cross a river, and in order to escape his uncle leaps across the river himself and finds freedom with his mother.
       This story touches on many the unversal themes of mythology. The students each had a role to play, figured out how to act it, set up the shots, and with very limited props and a great deal of imagination produced the video sequences in just one morning.
       We have a DVD available that shows both the documentary making of Sisimiki and a version of Sisimiki itself with english subtitles. The work this group produced is a terrific example of a group of people using video to explore issues important to them. It an ideal realization of the goals of the Video Project the Sister City Program established at URACCAN in 2000 and continues to support with technology and training.


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