ChangeChitra is a year-long programme mentoring 60 young people in documentary filmmaking for social activism.
Participants in this immersive programme will learn filmmaking and editing techniques at three residential workshops of six days each. They’ll get additional online mentorship while making their films between workshops.
ChangeChitra will provide professional equipment including cameras and edit suites to work with. The programme is free, and ChangeChitra will cover all travel and stay costs during the training and filming. Participants will not receive a stipend.
Participants will work in teams of four or five to research, ideate and produce compelling short documentaries on issues that are of interest to American and Indian audiences alike. This could range from sustainable development, education and skill building, to women’s empowerment, diversity and pluralism, freedom of expression, among others.
The documentary films will explore India’s myriad challenges and successes from new angles and reveal untold stories. At the end of the year every participant will be able to see their documentary debut at a film festival organised by ChangeChitra. All participants will be awarded a certificate of participation by VV and the U.S. embassy on completing the program.
ChangeChitra is supported by the US Embassy New Delhi, and the training will be conducted by award-winning filmmakers from India and the US. The programme is being implemented by Video Volunteers, an international media and human rights organization. Video Volunteers promotes community media to enable citizens to take action on critical issues, and has trained hundreds of students, community members and activists in video-making over the years. Its IndiaUnheard Community Correspondents Network, which covers 180 mostly rural districts in India, is one of the world’s largest alternative media platforms.
Each participant is required to attend 3 workshops of maximum 6 days each, and will be matched to one of five cohorts. Each participant will be assigned to a cohort based on their geographic proximity and choice of subject to the five cities where the workshops are taking place. All participants will work with their cohort for the entire duration of the program. This means that each participant will attend all workshops in the same city, with the same 12-13 participants. All participants are also required to work on their film after each workshop, and attend a film festival organised by ChangeChitra.
Pre Production Workshop (6 days each)
Goa – 11th – 16th February
Kochi – 14th – 19th February
Bhubaneshwar – 17th – 22nd February
Patna – 20th – 25th February
Lucknow – 23rd – 28th February
Production Workshop (6 days each)
Goa – 15th – 20th April
Kochi – 18th – 23rd April
Bhubaneshwar – 21th – 26th April
Patna – 24th – 29th April
Lucknow – 27th – 2nd May
Post Production Workshop (6 days each)
Goa – 24th – 29th June
Kochi – 1st July – 06th July
Bhubaneshwar – 08th – 13th July
Patna – 15th July – 20th July
Lucknow – 22nd July – 27th July
1. What is the application process for the programme?
To apply to the ChangeChitra programme, simply fill out and submit the application Form HERE. There is no application fee. You may also call or WhatApp (+91) 8299554981 or (+91) 7355667227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
2. What are the selection criteria?
We are looking for candidates who are eager to explore the country’s social issues through filmmaking, and have been engaged in social change initiatives in the past. Aspiring filmmakers can apply including recent graduates from mass communication/journalism/film or video production courses who want to start their filmmaking career. At least 50% of the chosen candidates will be women. We will ensure that participants from diverse geographical and economic backgrounds are chosen. Candidates should understand English.
3. Are there age limits/requirements for enrollment?
Yes. ChangeChitra is open to participants between the ages of 18 to 35.
4. Is the Programme open to only Indian nationalities?
The programme is open to Indian nationalities however people from other nationalities living in India can also apply.
5. How much filmmaking experience do I need?
Prior filmmaking experience is not a requirement, however, the program will also be beneficial for those who do have prior experience. Participant’s keen desire to make documentary film for activism and interest in social issues will be considered for the selection process. ChangeChitra is not just for filmmakers but anybody who wants to bring a change. You can be an artist, social worker, journalist, student or anybody with a desire to work for the betterment of society through documentary films.
6. Do I need to pay anything for the workshop?
No. ChangeChitra is a fully sponsored workshop. All travel and living expenses during the workshops will be borne by ChangeChitra.. Each participant filmmaker will be reimbursed for their travel and food while they are on the field during the production of their documentaries.
7. Do I get a stipend or any kind of financial support?
No. The project does not offer any stipend to participants.
8. Do I need to buy equipment/software?
No. ChangeChitra will provide participants with everything that is needed for the production of their films, including camera, sound recording gear, editing software and editing systems to work on. You must return the equipment at the end of the project. If you have your own filming/editing gear, please bring it along.
9. Where all are the ChangeChitra workshops happening and what is the time frame?
The workshops will be conducted in different tier II cities such as Goa, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Kochi and Lucknow. Closer to the time, each successful applicant will be informed which cities he or she must travel to for the workshops. There will be one film festival in each of the following US consular cities: Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi.
10. What is the total time commitment required for the programme?
The total time commitment for each participant is about 65 days over 12 months. This includes:
18 days for workshops (3 workshops, 6 days each); 2 days for the film festival; travel time to the workshop/festival locations; and approximately 40 days between workshops when participants are expected to spend time on research, scripting, filming, editing etc.
11. How flexible is the scheduling? What if the dates don’t work for me?
Participants must attend all three workshops for their full duration.
12. Can I do other jobs/study during the program?
Yes, you can continue other courses or jobs/assignments. You must attend all workshops and finish all assignments for ChangeChitra
13. What is the number of participants?
There will be 60 participants in total who will be divided into 15 groups. Each group will work as a team and produce one documentary film creating a total of 15 films.
14. Will I get a certificate?
All participants will be awarded with a certificate of participation by VV and the U.S.Embassy on completion of the programme.
15. Who has the final rights over the films produced?
U.S. Embassy reserves rights to all films produced as part of this project including rights over all unedited footage, original music, original animations created that forms part of the final films created.
16. Who has final approval for the films?
All films must be approved by VV and the US Embassy before they are uploaded, distributed or screened
Filmmaking as a tool for activism
“A film alone cannot change the world, it has to be seen, heard, and felt.” – Susan Sarandon
The same can be said for activism, where efforts to bring about social change need to be seen, heard, and felt in order to change the world. Documentary film is a great medium for doing this.
VV is a pioneer in the use of video for social activism. Participants will learn the best practices VV has developed on this topic over 12 years. One in five of the videos VV produces actually solves the problem it reports. Our success range from bringing communities water, sanitation and schools to ending gender discrimination, among others. The 1500 cases of social change have brought concrete change to the lives of more than four million people.
Reaching large audiences with your film, and keeping the film strongly linked to the community where it was filmed, is also a crucial component to achieve social change with your film. VV is one of the largest community video networks anywhere in the world; in many of India’s most disenfranchised districts VV is the only organisation which focuses on reporting development issues regularly. Our YouTube channel gets over four million views a month making it the largest nonprofit YouTube channel in India and one of the largest in the world.
Our work has been carried by many news organizations, and in recent years we have partnered with both India’s national broadcaster, Doordarshan and private channels like NDTV to provide them with a steady stream of content on development issues.
How to Apply