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Entries in Documentaries (19)

Saturday
Apr072012

Guest Documentaries on Future Generations #saturday #atozchallenge

“Picket lines and picket signs, don’t punish me with brutality...you know we’ve got to find a way to bring some lovin’ here today...”

Poverty, despair, war, sadness, you name it -- “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye is one of those somber tunes that express reasons why people sometimes want to throw their hands up in the air and scream in madness. If another singer did a remake of this song today, it would probably be titled “WTF?” but the feelings about most subjects covered in it are all the same.

Fortunately, there is good in the world, yet, I often have to remind myself of this after wondering if the good will ever outweigh all of the terrible acts that people carry out on their fellow man. It almost makes me not want to have children -- I mean, who wants to raise kids in a society that is filled with violence, injustice and other cruelty between human beings? I would not want any child of mine to have to be surrounded by it.


Many times, all I think about when listening to this song ranges from plight to depression to sorrow to hopelessness and the ghetto. However, I'm not going to go the route of depressing movies such as "Blue Valentine" nor will I travel down ghetto road today with movies like "Lottery Ticket." Instead, the documentary "Born into Brothels" is a good movie to highlight for today's post because it reminds me of people in an unfortunate situation and worse -- children who believe that their circumstances cannot improve, which is sad.

The sadness comes from the fact that no matter where you go in the world, children are generally fearless, trusting and see infinite possibilities, even in the most simple things. They are at an age where lack of access to Guitar Hero or Rock Band won’t stop them from playing music, because pots and pans can be turned into instruments.

Limitations only arise when we become adults and begin to question ourselves, probably as a result of fear. Maybe fear of the unknown, fear of judgement, fear of inequality, fear of feeling worthless, fear of failure, whatever. One little point-and-shoot camera, however, changed the perspectives of a group of underserved children in “Born into Brothels” -- these kids started to see their world in a new light and learned how to express themselves while taking pride in the photos that they took, like viewing a new piece of artwork.

Luckily, the adults who worked with these children were also able to learn new things about the environment that they were in and the world at large -- all through the eyes of people 10 or more years younger than them. That is the beauty of photography, documentaries and any other form of visual or fine arts -- the stories behind them can be inspiring while the creation of these pieces of work have the possibility to change lives.

Here is a photo documentary project for a dinner party that challenges you and your guests to exchange some wisdom about life, dreams, love, fears or any topics that tickle your fancy -- with children:

Require guests to take and submit one photo of a child who is 13 years of age or under, using a digital or disposable point-and-shoot camera and then conduct an 8-question interview with him or her. Afterward, allow the child to ask them 8 questions and also take photos of their choosing using the same camera. These activities should be completed in advance prior to the day of your social gathering.

Setup the dinner party as a photo exhibit and instruct guests to present their photo along with their interview answers BUT only after everyone has voted on their favorite photos among the bunch. Do not allow guests to know who took what until after the votes are counted and the top 3 winners are selected.

The winners should either get two gift cards --- one for the guest and one for the kid who is in the photo -- or -- a donation from you to the children's charity of his or her choice. You will all probably be amazed or more curious about the results that come from this.

For the purpose of this particular post, I conducted an interview with my six year-old niece but was unable to finish it in time for the A to Z Challenge. Here are three random questions and answers, however, that I do recall us discussing.

Me: How can we make the world a better place?

Her: Call 9-1-1.

Me: Who is your favorite actor?

Her: Jaden Smith's mom in "The Karate Kid." (She was referring to actress Taraji P. Henson)

Me: What is true love?

Her: *laughs* I don't know. Why are you asking me this stupid question, crazy old lady?

Although we didn't finish our interview, I still wonder what my niece's perspective on the world would look like in pictures. If I put a camera in her hand, would she return with photos that represent happiness or despair? Fairness or corruption? Sunshine or clouds? Goodness or evil? That's the thing about documentaries --- they capture exactly what's in front of you without any filters. What you see is what you get but the way you interpret what you're viewing makes all the difference.

How can we best protect our children from and prepare our children for the cold, unjust and/or violent aspects of the world?

Are there any questions that YOU would not be able to answer if it was asked by an eight year-old? If so, what are they?

What is the most important question that YOU would ask a random eight year-old who you don’t know?

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