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'Refugee' turns Liberian journalist's dreams to reality

Africa Film Project 2011

This intensive workshop was a life-changing experience, said Cedrick Kpadeh, a Liberian broadcast journalist with eight years of experience who currently helps run a Christian radio station.

Kpadeh (pictured in foreground above) was one of five journalists from across the African continent participating in the 2011 Africa Film Project (AFP) workshop, sponsored by a grant from The Media Project. The program expands the skill sets of African news professionals so that they can transition into visual media, improve their marketability and find new avenues of distribution for their work.

This first AFP seminar of 2011 took place in Cape Town and focused on the basics of documentary films. The students must return to their home countries and put what they learn into practice. We took a moment to speak with Cedrick about his background and impressions of the seminar where he produced the short documentary "Refugee".

TMP: What drew you into journalism, Cedrick?

CEDRICK: It was a God-sent gift to be a journalist. Since my childhood, I had always wanted to be a journalist even though my parents wanted me to become a medical doctor. In 2001 when I was about to complete secondary school, I used my savings to pay my own tuition to a journalism school and got a diploma at the end.

TMP: You have just finished a week-long workshop in short documentaries sponsored by The Media Project. Did it meet your expectations?

CEDRICK: The week-long workshop on film making was very intense but beneficial. All the facilitators were remarkable and patient, and it was a really wonderful experience. It actually went beyond my expectations, I didn’t expect to learn film making in a month - much less a week. But our facilitators were magnificent and I think we the participants will always remember this life-changing experience. It was wonderful!

Besides learning new ways to do video editing, which I had never done, it also gave us a new meaning to our profession, especially on how we report.

TMP: What stories will you begin working on when you return home to Liberia?

CEDRICK: There have always been stories in my country to tell, but I was only dreaming about this due to the high cost of producing a story. But thanks to The Media Project and this opportunity to learn and experience story telling through documentaries, I can stop dreaming and start working.

The next story I will do will be about a deaf and mute soccer player who wants to change the life situation of thousands of his colleagues by advocating for their enrollment in the various universities in Liberia. Deaf and mute people are considered outcasts in my country, but this 23-year-old young man thinks he can change that.

Go to 2011 Africa Film Project.

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