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Freetown Film Labs with the British Council

Social empowerment through filmmaking in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Throughout 2020 and 2021 we were thrilled to work alongside Nova Studios in Hull, Freetown Media Centre and the British Council to teach a series of documentary workshops with creatives in Freetown. Originally this project would see us visiting Freetown regularely through 2020, but as Coronavirus took hold things changed dramatically and the workshops moved online. Dom was actually in Freetown with the team ready to start teaching the first workshop when lockdowns were enforced across Europe. So with great dissapointment, but by the skin of their teeth Matt and Dom managed to board one of the last flights out of West Africa and return home, ready to plan for remote working.

The Freetown Film Labs have been a huge success, and were seen as a pioneering resource for filmmakers in Sierra Leone, where opportunities can be few and far between. Participants applied for Labs focussing on directing, editing and audio, or could opt for an all-female or climate change focussed lab.

Teaching and mentoring has always been part of Land & Sky's focus, and this was an incredible opportunity to experience a new cultural dynamic and help to empower emerging filmmakers. Sierra Leone has seen troubled times in recent decades and it was a privelage to share our skills and knowledge, so the community there can tell their own stories and document life in Sierra Leone as they see it. Huge thanks to British Council for pioneering these workshops, and the facilitation team - Matt at Nova Studios and Barmmy and Arthur at Freetown Media Centre for their work on the project.


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