SandBox

Sandbox #5 - The Trailer

FilmAid’s Sandbox blog series is proud to present the official Sandbox trailer.  This unique six-part drama series is based in the world’s largest refugee camp - Dadaab in North-Eastern Kenya and explores the lives of the refugees who live there. Sandbox sets out to illustrate the hardships and events that take place in refugee camps whilst addressing health and social issues as well as entertaining the masses.

The trailer offers hints to the drama that unfolds throughout the six episodes. As our previous blog posts examined, FilmAid's research and learning team researched and pre-tested the story lines and the scripts to ensure that important issues were portrayed accurately, such as conflict resolutions, early marriage and gender-based violence (GBV). As the entire series was filmed in Dadaab, with a significant portion of cast and crew living there as refugees, there were high expectations to produce content that was culturally appropriate and relevant.

We hope you are as excited about the trailer as we are and have enjoyed following our blog series. We look forward to announcing the launch of The Sandbox series that will take place in Nairobi, Kenya and Dadaab refugee camp in the coming months.

 If you missed our previous blog posts on the SandBox then you can revisit them on the Stories page on our website. Stay tuned for more updates on the SandBox series and the launch on our TwitterFacebook, and Instagram pages.

If you’re interested in learning about more refugee stories straight from Dadaab, check out our Dadaab Stories interactive website, bringing the power of refugees’ voices directly to your computer.

And as always, if you’d like to support FilmAid’s training and empowerment of local filmmakers, producers, writers, and actors, you can donate here.  

 

 

 

SandBox #4 – Pre-Testing Stories & Characters

In FilmAid's new drama series, SandBox - developed, produced and filmed in the world's largest refugee camp, Dadaab - we go behind the scenes into the community-based scripting process...

In the series, the character Uhuoma aspires to take a leadership role in a male-dominated football (for Americans, soccer) team. When the FilmAid production team asks a group of youth whether this is okay, the answer might shock you.

A woman’s role is just to serve tea and not to take up leadership, especially in a male dominated sport...”
— said a young man among them.

Here, it is sometimes difficult to change long-held attitudes and behaviors regarding women’s rights and social expectations without education and access to alternate beliefs. As an NGO focused on communications, FilmAid strives to provide refugees access to information and education, including on issues related to gender-based rights and relations.

FilmAid endeavors to deliver social change both individually and in the community, through creativity, collaboration and participation. An individual has the opportunity to increase their knowledge, and change their attitudes, while the community can also rise to the occasion by responding to social issues and addressing harmful social norms, making change possible.

This is why a story, a camera, and a script did not cut it for SandBox. FilmAid's Research and Learning Department stepped in and took it a notch higher, answering the following questions in close consultation with the refugee community in Dadaab: i.e., "pre-testing" the stories and characters for SandBox.

1. Does the material that FilmAid produce have the ability to deliver on its goal? 

2. Is the material relatable? Is it believable?

3. Does it adhere to the "Do No Harm" policy?

4. Are the aesthetics and the creative elements of the story up to local and high standards?

As said by Mordecai Robins Odera, FilmAid's Research and Learning Manager for Kenya, and also the lead on the pre-testing for SandBox, “The scriptwriters should try as much as they can to make the audiences have a uniform understanding”.

The scripting process took place over six weeks, resulting in the final SandBox Script.

Stay tuned for more updates on the SandBox series over the next few months and check us out on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram to stay in touch for #SandBox updates.

If you’re interested in hearing more refugee stories straight from the camp, check out our Dadaab Stories interactive website, which brings the power of refugees’ voices from across the world directly to your computer.

And as always, if you’d like to support FilmAid’s training and empowerment of local filmmakers, producers, writers, and actors, click here to find out how you can help.


Yvon Ngabo

SandBox #3: One-on-One with Ledama Sampele, First Assistant Direct

We sat down with Ledama Sampele, a Kenyan filmmaker and the Assistant Director (AD) of FilmAid’s SandBox series, a drama series that explores the lives of refugees in the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab. 

The Role of a First Assistant Director

 The First Assistant Director is the Director's right hand person, taking responsibility for a number of important practicalities so that the Director is free to concentrate on the creative process.  During pre-production, the First AD breaks down the script into a shot-by-shot storyboard, they also work with the Director to determine the shoot order, and how long each scene will take to film. They draw up the overall shooting schedule for the filming period.  Once the film is in production, they are in charge of making sure that every aspect of the shoot keeps to this schedule.

What was it like working as the First AD for FilmAid’s SandBox series?

In SandBox, which was shot in Dadaab in early 2014, Ledama Sampele was the First Assistant Director and it seems like he was extremely happy to get this opportunity; “I have always wanted to be an AD for as long as I can remember. This has always been my dream job.” 

Having worked on productions like Makutano JunctionHigher Learning, Changes and Nairobi Half-Life, Ledama brings experience and expertise to the SandBox production. The students in Dadaab’s Filmmaker Training Program were given a real opportunity to learn from his throughout this experience.  

“Every job has its own fair share of challenges and perks.”

During the production of SandBox, the hot and dry climate of sandy Dadaab was perhaps the biggest challenge, which took Ledama some adjusting to. On top of this, our First AD, had to be patient because of the number of rehearsals. Additionally, since this was a single-camera shoot, scenes had to be repeated again and again and shot from different angles which obviously made the production process even more complicated. Despite the challenges of working in Dadaab, Ledama clearly found her work rewarding, “FilmAid is doing a great job. Engaging the youth in the Film Training Program here in Dadaab and this experience on the set is a great opportunity to build…the education of the young people. I hope that many other productions arise from this one”.

Stay tuned for more updates on the SandBox series over the next few months and check us out on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram to stay in touch for #SandBox updates. 

If you’re interested in learning about more refugee stories straight from Dadaab, check out our Dadaab Stories interactive website, bringing the power of refugees’ voices directly to your computer.

And as always, if you’d like to support FilmAid’s training and empowerment of local filmmakers, producers, writers, and actors, you can donate here.  

SandBox #2: My name is Njoki Mbuthia…I am a Filmmaker

ProducerNjoki.jpg

This week, as part of our SandBox blog series, we are going to be talking to one of the producers of the show.

Njoki Mbuthia, a Kenyan filmmaker and Senior Producer at FilmAid, sat down to talk with us about her role as a producer for FilmAid’s SandBox, our unique drama series that explores the lives of refugees in the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab. SandBox addresses a number of issues affecting the communities living in the Dadaab, like early marriage, gender violence and conflict resolution, among other issues.

Generally, producers have overall control on every aspect of a film's production, bringing together and approving the selection of the whole production team. Their primary responsibility is to foster an environment in which the creative talents of the cast and crew can flourish - producers are therefore ultimately accountable for the success of the finished film.

“I have been a writer for as long as I can remember,” says Njoki when asked. She used to write stories when she was young; her classmates would read them and always ask for her to write more. Njoki has been in the film industry from as far back as college, where she was a news editor and producer. She has also worked as a floor manager and a production intern at the Kenya Broadcast Cooperation (KBC). Throughout her stay at KCB, she shadowed directors. She later joined Good News Production where she caught a break as a director when they needed a director for a feature film, “Unseen Unsung Unforgotten”, and she rose to the challenge.

What is it like to work as a producer?

“Producing is very challenging, and that is what I enjoy about it. In the film industry, the producer usually writes a proposal and chooses which script should go into play when the script is not predetermined. He/she also looks for funds by pitching the story or script to potential donors/investors. He /she also ensures that the production goes according to schedule. A producer ensures that the script is properly aligned with the theme of the production. Pre-Production is preparation of the venue, the actors, the location and the days of shooting, among other details. Production is the filming process or shooting of the film. Post-Production includes video editing and sound editing.

 

How was it working as a Producer for SandBox?

“I chose to produce for SandBox because it was an opportunity to challenge myself and share my experience with the professional team on board as well as the Filmmaker Training Program students, whom I believe are upcoming professionals.”

“What is most exciting about the series is that it is authentically from Dadaab, the actors are from Dadaab, most of the crew is from Dadaab. Some parts are even shot in local dialect, like Somali and Gambela. The students and our staff on the ground have had a great opportunity to learn from the industry professionals we contracted.“

Stay tuned for SandBox #3 episode of our blog and check us out on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram to stay in touch for #SandBox updates.

If you’re also interested in learning about more refugee stories straight from Dadaab, check out our Dadaab Stories interactive website, bringing the power of refugees’ voices directly to your computer.

And as always, if you’d like to support FilmAid’s training and empowerment of local filmmakers, producers, writers, and actors, click here to find out how you can help. 

Sandbox #1: An Introduction to the Drama Series

We’re introducing you today to our new blog post series, focused on our recent production of SandBox, a unique six-part drama series that explores the lives of refugees in the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, in Northeastern Kenya. As part of FilmAid’s long-standing work in Dadaab, SandBox was made in conjunction with the refugee community members, to address health and social issues, as well as entertain the masses.

As we go through these series of blog posts over the next few months, we’ll introduce you to some of the people who worked on this production and take you behind the scenes to understand the challenges and opportunities that existed while filming in Dadaab. To start off the blog post series, let us tell you a little about the story of SandBox, and how its story addresses a number of issues affecting those who live in the camp, such as early marriage, gender-based violence (GBV), conflict resolution, and much more. 

SandBox is a drama series, which examines the daily lives of those people who live in Dadaab. The production weaves the stories of many refugees into a single, cohesive narrative. One of our main characters is Abdi, a young man whose quest for resettlement ends abruptly. His best chance of making a life now is by getting married to his sweetheart, Farhia, and becoming a family man. However, Abdi becomes an outcast in his community after he saves his little sister from early marriage. Meanwhile, Sarai is a new entrant into Dadaab. She has come to work for an NGO addressing child protection. Sarai arrives on a white horse, believing she has what it takes to ‘save’ these people from themselves and their ‘backward beliefs’. But Sarai is about to come face to face with reality. Can she truly adjust and be of use in Dadaab? Or does she discover this isn’t for her, after all?

Stay tuned for more updates on the SandBox series over the next few months and check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay in touch for #SandBox updates.

 If you’re interested in learning about more refugee stories straight from the camp, check out our Dadaab Stories interactive website, which brings the power of refugees’ voices directly to your computer. 

And as always, if you’d like to support FilmAid’s training and empowerment of local filmmakers, producers, writers, and actors, click here to find out how you can help.

Yvon Ngabo