After speaking with the guys at WeOwnTV and putting them in touch with Barmmy Boy, they met up in Freetown and decided to enrol Barmmy on the film making course to be ran later in the year in Freetown.
WeOwnTV debuted in Sierra Leone in January 2009 as a continuation of seven years of collaboration between the founders with artists and humanitarian organizations in the region.
In 2002, the founders of WeOwnTV began their work in Sierra Leone as the filmmaking team behind the documentary filmSierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars (2006) which won more than a dozen international film festival awards and has been viewed by millions via broadcast television in North America, Latin America, Europe, Japan, Korea, South Africa and Uganda.Experiencing the inspiration this story has brought to the people of Sierra Leone and war-torn communities around the world has been life-changing for the filmmakers and fueled the fire for launching WeOwnTV.
The intention of the organization is to continually reinforce the idea that no one is more qualified to help Sierra Leone than Sierra Leoneans themselves. WeOwnTV aims to build on this spirit of self-reliance as community members, specifically young men and women affected by more than a decade of war, are given the opportunity to create their own stories in their own words. Project participants will be encouraged to look within to find their voice. In Sierra Leone there are incredible oral traditions that exist within the culture and it is this tradition that will inform the storytelling enabled by newly acquired skills of film and video production.
WeOwnTV launched in Sierra Leone by facilitating a month-long filmmaking workshop for 18 young men and women just outside the capital city Freetown. Leveraging a community-engaged curriculum in which project participants collaboratively create and produce their own independent media, WeOwnTV aims to engage a wide-range of participants-from young media professionals and students, to ex-combatant, street kids and child prostitutes.
The inaugural class of WeOwnTV participants was selected not based on technical skills or prior experience, but on the enthusiasm, eloquence and sense of purpose each of them exhibited during the interview process. Many participants had never held a camera or touched a computer and many have not finished school, but they each demonstrated an incredible strength and resolve in overcoming tragic circumstances. The aspiring filmmakers came from all areas of the country: the diamond mining district of Kono, the dusty small town of Makeni (a rebel stronghold during the war) and from the hardscrabble slums of the country’s capital city, Freetown. The group includes ex-combatants, former child prostitutes, street children and physically disabled individuals, all of whom showed they have a remarkable gift to give in their creativity.