'Foreign Lives' inspire new story ideas
“The training on documentary filmmaking inspired me to dig into the many stories of people in my country, Cameroon,” said journalist Irene Zih Fon, one of five students completing TMP's 2011 Africa Film Project.
Based in Douala, Cameroon's capital, Irene has experience in radio reporting and presenting, online news and magazine writing, as well as video reports. She also imanages media projects for audio programs, video documentaries and communication services for clients. Irene enjoys writing non-fiction books, screenplays & songs as well as short stories & poetry.
Previously, Irene was head of the English News Desk and Bureau Chief at Radio Veritas and Presse de la Nation in Douala, Cameroon, as well as Entrepreneur News respectively. Her reporting focuses on women and development, health and wellness, humanitarian efforts and religion, arts and entertainment, plus business and Information & communication technologies.
TMP: Why did you become a journalist?
IRENE: Journalism has been my career choice from a very tender age, and has evolved to become the most fulfilling means of expression. I see journalism as an avenue through which I can tell peoples' stories, while striving to make a positive contribution to the lives of others. It is that field which exposes one to explore the major disciplines of our everyday life, and it is best enjoyed as a calling which is practiced out of passion and dedication.
The week long workshop on short documentaries was quite a fulfilling experience for me. It did indeed meet my expectations of being able to skillfully and confidently produce a documentary. In just a week, I acquired excellent coaching on the basic steps and techniques of documentary filmmaking, thanks to the competent and devoted trainers provided by The Media Project.
The intensive boot camp took me from the initial stages of the power of documentaries in story-telling, the different types of documentaries, choosing characters and planning, to shooting, editing and video production. The rich resources provided equipped us to "shut up and shoot", enabling us to move from theories and wishes to going out there and actually telling powerful stories through documentaries -- stories that would appeal to an international audience, even beyond our geographic regions.
TMP: During the workshop you recorded and edited a short documentary. Honestly, how was the experience?
IRENE: My experience of recording and editing a short documentary during the workshop was quite exciting, really! I just enjoy going out there, meeting people and listening to their stories, and then telling those stories through the media.
My short documentary on "Foreign Lives" gave me an opportunity to do this in Guguletu township situated in Cape Town.