Film School For Social Good

At Osh Video Quest, students and young NGO volunteers from regional towns in Central Asia learned to make videos for social media that will draw attention to their causes.

Osh Video Quest participants learned to shoot, edit and promote short, captioned videos made to share on social media.

Students and young, local NGO volunteers hit the busy streets of Osh, Kyrgyzstan earlier this month with their camera phones in hand for Osh Video Quest, a five-day training course in shooting and editing high-impact videos for social media.

The 23 participants, who came to Kyrgyzstan’s second largest city August 6-10 from the Fergana Valley region spanning Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and southern Kyrgyzstan, learned to create compelling videos that will amplify their messages. Most of the participants are volunteers with local NGOs who will use their newly honed video production skills to strengthen their organisation’s communications on topics ranging from eco-friendly urban planning to gender equality.

As video is the fastest-growing and most popular form of social media content, NGOs and civil society activists are learning to harness the power of the medium. Short, captioned videos tailored specifically for sharing on social media can generate tens of thousands of views. The Osh Video Quest training included a crash course in video shooting, editing in Adobe Premiere and caption writing. With the guidance of professional journalists and video editors from the region, participants learned how to tell stories with social videos that will engage their audiences.

Participants in Osh Video Quest split into eight teams of two or three and used their smartphones to film a completed video project. Instructors then helped them polish their video into a finished product ready to post. One team profiled the city’s only female taxi driver, while another told the story of a group of traditional Uzbek musicians keeping a rich heritage alive.

The Prague Civil Society Centre has previously hosted Video Quest social video production courses in major cities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, but the organisers realised a simpler version of the course offered in a smaller regional city would cater to younger activists and students from provincial towns and villages who would have difficulty attending larger events so far from home.