The WFC story in the words of our Film Makers
The WFC Story in the words of our Founder
The vast majority of young people participating in WFC’s workshops have little or no access to education, are unemployed and have few economic, social or creative opportunities. The recent economic crisis has resulted in 81 million young people worldwide being out of work1. In the UK this year alone, it was recorded that 20.8% of young people are NEET (not in Education, Employment or Training) and that 48.8% of all unemployed are 15 – 24 years-olds2.
WFC works with young people from some of the most disadvantaged and excluded communities in the world. This includes the Townships of South Africa, the Rio Favelas in Brazil, the occupied Palestinian Territories and in the UK inner city areas of Leeds and London. Although each community is different, they all share common features in terms of the consequences of marginalization and exclusion. These manifest as early disengagement from education, unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, involvement in crime, gang membership and high levels of teen pregnancy.
At the same time, Mobile phones are taking an increasingly central role in young people’s lives across the world3. From video and texting through to social networking, on-going advancements in mobile technology serve to keep young people continuously engaged with their peer communities. Mobiles are easy to access, low cost, and can be used by anyone in any setting, enabling WFC to work with some of the hardest to reach young people in the world.
As these young people are also commonly misrepresented in mainstream media, compounding their low self-esteem4, a channel through which they can communicate their voice gives them international visibility, spreading a culture of tolerance through understanding. By empowering young people to use mobile technologies, WFC is strengthening their ability to exercise their rights and support action in their communities. Particularly in the area of single issues campaigns, mobile technologies have the power to galvinise youth communities. Combined with a potential global audience of millions, this content can have a significant influence on their future and ours.
- Findings from the UNICEF report (2011) “Adolescence: An Age of Opportunity” ↑
- (Office for National Statistics. (2011b). Labour market statistics: September 2011). ↑
- Findings from the report “Mobile Youth Around the World” published by Neilson 2010 ↑
- Measured through semi formal interviews with workshop attendees ↑
Impact so far
Over the past four years, WFC has achieved a remarkable degree of success, piloting and developing a model for training hard to reach young people and operating simultaneously in four continents. With a very limited budget, and relying on the goodwill of WFC’s team and its supporters, WFC has run 23 training programmes worldwide, offering 364 training opportunities and over 25,000 training hours to young people in Brazilian favelas, South African townships, Palestinian refugee camps and to NEETs1 in London and Leeds, UK. To date in the UK, 25% of young people have been given media related work placements, internships and jobs as a direct result of WFC’s workshops. 60% of young people have gone on to access further training. The average retention rate for students attending the training is 80% and in the UK it is 87%.
WFC has explored new distribution channels on the web and on mobile, reaching audiences of thousands worldwide through platforms such as South Africa’s most popular mobile social network, Mxit, (150,000 unique subscribers to WFC’s platform, Mopix), Nokia’s N-series blog, Smartmobs.com, Cape Town Community TV (WFC’s series ‘Elements’ aired prime time to a potential 1.4 million viewers), World Film Collecitve’s own mobile site, worldfimcollective.mobi, attracting audiences of over 25,000 in India, Malaysia and the USA, as well as strategic (albeit sporadic) use of YouTube and Facebook to build a community of interest within the youth and independent film sector. WFC films have been screened in seven International Film Festivals including the prestigious Pocket Film Festival in Paris and MobileFest in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
WFC has piloted bespoke training programmes as a service provider of cell phone film making training, established a full-time production team in the notorious Khayelitsha township, Cape Town, and overseen the production of broadcast quality content that has been screened on South African TV. In the UK it has shown that it can re-engage teenagers at risk of exclusion from school with 90% of an East London group now in college (80% studying Media), pioneered the use of mobile phones as a platform for youth engagement, and proved that making films on cell phones is a viable medium, thereby contributing to the democratisation of media that is fast revolutionsing our world.
Alongside film making skills, the young students develop a range of communication, leadership and work-oriented skills that are applicable across a variety of industries.
- Not in Education, Employment or Training ↑
WFC was created by an international group media, film and education professionals inspired by a common vision: empowering young people and their communities through film making and the production of media.
WFC was founded in 2007 by Alice Bragg, a professional script-writer and youth educator with four years experience in the film industry working for British Director, Anthony Minghella.
Alice brought on a team on Founder Members from around the world, that included Brazilian theatre practitioner, Vanessa Goes , Palestinian Editor and Cameraman Nidal Atrash, South African Fixer and Performing Arts Graduate, Simcelile Kalimashe, American Web Manager and programmer, Mark Ellison and British Fair Trade Coffee Expert for Latin America, Rebecca Morahan.
This team has worked intensely over four years with the help of volunteers, freelancers and partners, to prove that WFC has a vision that is worth backing. Our tutors are local film and drama professionals who are trained by us to deliver the highest possible quality of workshops. [click here to read more about our Founder Members]
The WFC team benefits from the guidance and support of a board of Trustees that help steer the organisation on key levels. With expertise in technical innovation, online content sales and distribution, freedom of expression, cell phone hardware and software, feature film, television production, human rights and media for development, the Board has provided a foundation support that has enabled WFC to achieve its goals thus far. With their guidance, WFC is able to offer first-class training, production and service delivery, making an impact on these young lives and using media for real social change. [click here to read more about our Board of Trustees]
WFC’s Patrons have played a number of roles at crucial stages of the organisation’s evolution. Award-winning Director, Mike Figgis, galvanised support for the legitimate use of cell phone film making during a speech to WFC donors at a fundraising event held at the Tabernacle, Notting Hill. Baroness Kennedy steered WFC in the direction of Partner, Rosamund McCarthy, at Bates Wells and Braithwaite law firm who has since assisted the organisation on a pro bono basis. Lord Puttnam generously provided contacts and advice that shaped WFC’s funding approaches and opened up avenues for collaboration. Jane Plastow gave invaluable input on the design and delivery of the training programmes in her capacity as Professor of African Theatre and Director of the Leeds University Centre for African Studies. Film maker and Visual Artist, Gerald Fox played a significant role in establishing WFC in South Africa, facilitating and funding their inaugural training programme in Cape Town, and supporting WFC through his family foundation. Gerald has created opportunities for WFC without which the organisation would not be where it is today. [click here to read more about our Board of Patrons]
Arguably WFC greatest achievement has been in the area of sourcing credible and dynamic partners to work work on the ground. WFC currently has 25 delivery partners across its four programme countries. These include established youth outreach organisations such as Ape Media (East London, UK), The Prince’s Trust (UK), Yafa Cultural Centre (Nablus, Palestine), Amy Biehl Trust Foundation (Cape Town, South Africa); Digital inclusion organisations such as The Committee for the Democratisation of Information (Brazil, Latin America, India), Silulo Ulutho Technologies (Western & Eastern Cape, South Africa); Churches (St Raphael’s Church, Khayelitsha, Cape Town) and International organisations for the advancement of culture UNESCO (Brazil) and The British Council (Palestinan Territories). WFC’s success in engaging these partners can be ascribed to a combination of offering an original and exciting programme, and doing so through local agents supported by the networks and influence of the Founder CEO and the UK Board. Having worked with a range of partners, some more effectively than others, WFC has now identified the organisations with whome they wish to continue working. With these organisations, WFC has run projects more than once, strengthening and deepening these important relationships. [click here to read more about Our Partners]
WFC has benefitted enormously from the endorsement and input of individuals and institutions within the film and media industries, particulalry during its recent proejct in London using cell phone film making and digital media to explore the causes of the recent riots. Tendeka Matatu, acclaimed South African film producer (Jerusalema, 2006) gave weekly mentoring sessions to the young people, through which they gained a greater understanding of the film industry and developed key skills such as pitching ideas and developing narratives. BAFTA-nominated director, Gavin Rowe, co-founder of Big Balls Films, a company specialising in the online media and digital distribution, shared his insights in the production of online films that audiences can interact with. Noel Clarke, director of youth cult classic Kidulthood (2006) endorsed WFC’s work, believing the project helps young people to ‘move forward from the anger and frustration they felt over the summer’. Acclaimed film director, Rupert Murray (Unknown White Male, 2005), produced a short film profiling the students. (Click here to watch Rupert’s Film)
Internationally, WFC have worked with individuals and institutions that include Cinema Nosso, the film school for young favlea residents established by acclaimed director Fernando Meirelles (City of God, 2002), The University of Cape Town Film Department, Cape Town-based commericals production company Ground Glass and the acclaimed Palestinian film education foundation, Qattan Foundation.