Adam Spencer Photography
Stories of people, place, and life
Firstly congratulations on the documentary work. I’m also a filmmaker and would really like to do some work in Bolivia. Can you advise me a little on how it was working with Sustainable Bolivia? At this point I have no Spanish whatsoever.
Any advice would be appreciated.
All the best,
Sustainable Bolivia is an incredible organization. Volunteers live either with a host family or live together in one of four houses, and there are group dinners nearly every night. The social aspect of volunteering extends into trips together as well. As a filmmaker-in-residence, you will have the freedom to choose to work with whichever of their partner organizations that you would find the best fit. You are expected to have your own camera/lights/audio devices/editing capability. The experience is an incredible responsibility, and your skills will develop facing language barriers, rushed production, being thrown into a situation and having to put something together out of it, working with a different concept of a schedule, and being flexible and adaptable while maintaining a positive and helpful attitude.
There are many volunteers who go without much Spanish-language capability. As a filmmaker I think that would be particularly challenging. But depending on the organization you choose to work with and the other volunteers around you will be able to get by, learn the language quickly, and produce beneficial work. Many of the interviews I conducted were in Spanish with native Quechua and Aymara speakers and after I asked the question the people I was working with from Energetica would repeat it slower and louder so the interviewees could understand. I would research the organizations, come up with some plans as to how you would put together a short film about an issue like climate refugees or micro-credit to introduce aspects of the issues the organizations are up against, and then bring those organizations’ names and specifics in towards the end to emphasize how they have learned about the problems and are working to fix them. There are also some organizations who could really use short videos to just introduce themselves, like Movimiento Sonrisa. This volunteer position really is quite amazing as it gives you unlimited access to emotive issues and passionate people and time to work to help them.
Check this out for more of an idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7JC2nx8be8&feature=youtu.be
Really cool website and great videos, thanks!
Hopefully you’re still active around here. I’m wondering if you can help me with a question about Energetica. I’m an engineering grad looking to volunteer/intern with community level energy projects in latin america. I’d like to find a few NGOs that are a combination of well meaning, and well enough staffed and funded to provide a good learning experience.
How was your time with Energetica? Do you feel like they fit this bill? They look great from afar but I’d like another opinion. (Happy to talk through email if you’d prefer.) I appreciate it,
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