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Challenges: Getting the fishermen involved
By Amelia Hapsari

It was the intention of the participatory project to involve various interest groups in Balobaloang to be part of the video production process. Each village had its power structure and political dynamics that encourage only certain people to involve in the video project.

Because of their lower social status in the village, the fishermen would not speak much when people with higher social status were present.To generate ideas and involvement from the fishermen, the participatory process had to be adapted to the life in Balobaloang.

The filmmaker conducted smaller informal meetings at fishermen houses at times when they would come home from fishing. Windy days and Fridays after prayer were usual times for fishermen to relax. By adjusting time and place for the fishermen, they felt that their ideas and involvement were valued.

Most of the fishermen were more familiar with an interview process. In the beginning, the filmmaker asked questions and they would answer the questions. She spent some time following fishing activities on the sea and fishing preparation on the island. She asked a lot of questions on their life. After two weeks, the fishermen started to be more comfortable and began to express themselves more freely.

The fishermen were more involved in the project after a dynamite fishing incident was successfully captured on tape. A fisherman who did not want to reveal his identity informed the filmmaker that a dynamite boat was coming to the island. He wanted the blast to be recorded on tape.

After this incident was videtoaped, the fishermen could see the potential of the video. At an informal gathering in Dadong's house, dynamite fishing was for the first time discussed openly in front of the camera. Dadong (a fisherman), Dullah (a fisherman), and Supriyadi (an elementary school teacher) were there to talk about the police corruption and another incident when a cyanide ship was burnt by the people of Balobaloang and Subaru (a neighboring island). This lively conversation has encouraged more participation and enthusiasm when the villagers saw it on their TV set.

It took a while to break the ice, but the process was necessary. It was important to take time to make the participants comfortable with a camera and understand the potential of the project.  

In this chapter :
Sharing Paradise: Living in a tangled web of relationships

Also in this section:

The making of Sharing Paradise
The making of Sharing Paradise: An anthropologistís footnote

What is a participatory video?

Ethnic and religious dimensions:
America, the evil empire
Chinese, the emperor of the market

Patron-client relationships and the participatory process

Language dimension

Reflections by the filmmaker




Sharing Paradise
Sharing Paradise Study Guide