Folk Filmmaking - At Films


What is Folk Filmmaking?

Unfamiliar cinema. Collaborating with communities to share their stories & knowledge as cinema. Making films with & for the sorts of folks not used to seeing themselves or their stories on screens.

Our academic explanation is available in Conservation & Society:

2019. Folk Filmmaking: A Participatory Method for Engaging Indigenous Ethics and Improving Understanding. Conservation & Society 17: 123-34. Available from:

Why make Folk Films?

To amplify unheard voices. To grant marginalized, overlooked, & overshadowed communities the respect & glory of cinema. To disrupt the usual narratives & representations that ignore these folks. To offer alternative accounts & ideas in their place. To celebrate, share, & learn from the knowledge of other folks' stories, histories, and perspectives.

How To Make Folk Films

We co-produce films with the communities we make them for. How we do so varies with context, obstacles, & opportunity. With some communities, we collaborate on a script & then they act out the story while we film their performance. In other instances, we invite a locally-popular film or acting troupe to make a film with us. We only assist with the production process, they lead it. We are midwives, helping catch narratives and pass them back.

In Cameroon, we were able to leave filmmaking equipment behind--a DSLR, lenses, audio equipment, a laptop and external hard drives--allowing folks to continue to make their own films after we left. This situation was ideal & it's how we'd like to go forward.

Here are Facebook pages we ran while conducting our Folk Filmmaking efforts in 2014 & 2015:

Nigeria & Cameroon

Kyrgyzstan & Tajikistan

Sharing the Folk Films

The main audience for Folk Films are the communities we make them with. Delivery and distribution is often a challenge. Most communities do not have access to the Internet or to video players. Some do even lack electricity. We work with local NGOs to return the films however possible, through community screenings, cheap portable DVD players, a  colleagues' laptop... even WhatsApp messages.

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In