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In 2011, Reel Youth spent five weeks teaching at the United Nations International School in Hanoi, Vietnam. Exploring the UN’s 2011 theme, Rapprochement of Cultures, Reel Youth facilitated the creation of 13 mini documentaries and 400 short films with students from grades four through nine. In addition, teachers participated in professional development programs on Digital Storytelling, Filmmaking and Social Media.

In addressing the International Year of Rapprochement of Cultures, Reel Youth focused on the UN-identified themes of:

Community and Service (CAS) was a core group of 16 dedicated highschool students who learned the basic elements of documentary filmmaking from idea to completion. In groups of three, the CAS group created films that celebrated individuals from Thuy An Village in Bavi and small hill tribe villages just outside of Sapa (Northern Vietnam).

Group dynamics, the responsibilities that come along with 'power' and 'privilege', and exploring the ideas of ‘aid’ versus ‘solidarity’ were some of the foundations Reel Youth laid before venturing into the field.

The CAS students learned how to:

The CAS students screened their films to fellow students, faculty, family and the young people from Sapa. Watch more of the CAS Films.

Video Production (grades six, seven and eight): Over the course of three classes, these international students created their own short films exploring how culture manifests in their own lives. By sharing their own particularization of their culture, students could appreciate the commonality and diversity in the stories of their classmates.

Students were mentored in writing and recording a personal poem to form the narration for their film. They learned to work with the rule of thirds, perspective, natural light and distance; as well as importing footage, editing and exporting their films.

Digital Storytelling (grades four and five): These young students learned photography fundamentals, from rule of thirds to perspective, then captured their own series of photos to create digital stories. The photos were arranged to introduce themselves, draw the audience into the story, emphasize variety and individuality, and bring closure to the piece.

Reel Youth at United Nations International School Hanoi  
See more photos from Reel Youth's project in Vietnam

Professional Development (for teachers of all grades): An integral part of many of RY programs is developing capacity for video production in adult mentors. Adult allies support not only the culture of inclusivity we foster, but the many skills students have learned.

Reel Youth facilitated three engaging and hands on Professional Development programs for teachers at UNIS: Creative Video Engagement, Digital Storytelling & Social Media. They included games, effective social norm agreements that support positive environments, creative risk taking and practice. Detailed instruction and hand-outs guided teachers through the creation of their own media.

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Artwork by Jordan Bent