Making Media with Teens from Talamanca

Students from the University of Costa Rica (UCR TCU 127) joined the Rich Coast Project in Puerto Viejo for a week of participatory video and photography aimed at documenting local Puerto Viejo history and culture.

UCR students partnered with local students to train them in audiovisual storytelling techniques and together produced the short documentary, Nuestro Puerto Viejo Ayer y Hoy

Photos by Nathalie Vigini

Day 1

10 local students from Puerto Viejo began a week of participatory video guided by 8 communications, philosophy and informatics students from UCR through a community service program called "Communication for Development and Social Change. On their first day, they were introduced to one another and to the week's activities before analyzing as a group the current state of communication by and about the south Caribbean. Together they drew maps of Puerto Viejo and identified the locations and people they felt were important to their community's story. Michele Ferris, the coordinating professor, shared documentaries produced in other communities through similar projects, and the students began to visualize the form and content of the stories they will spend the week producing.

Day 2

UCR students shared interviewing, photography and filming techniques and showed examples from different films and documentaries. Our local students then had the chance to practice interviewing one another and filming on cameras. They shared the practice interviews with one another and analyzed different aspects of color, light, audio, and interacting with their subjects. 

Day 3

Day 3 of "Nuestro Puerto Viejo Ayer y Hoy was spent collecting interviews and other footage in the community. Local students were responsible for identifying and communicating with interview subjects, and were guided by UCR students in conducting and filming the interviews. Focusing on four different locations in Puerto Viejo, their stories will highlight themes of Caribbean gastronomy, the migration history of Puerto Viejo, the importance of fisherpeople and the past generations of people who build and sustained the community. 

Day 4

On their fourth day, students reviewed the footage gathered the day before, identified important story components, and constructed a storyboard for their final documentary. They analyzed their interviews, camera angles and sound, and selected music to accompany their stories. UCR students demonstrated the basics of the editing process to the local students and, for time considerations, took over the editing of the final documentary.

Day 5

The final day was spent finalizing the students' film and preparing it for presentation to the community. The group met one last time to debrief their experience, sharing the highs and lows of their week spent as local documentarians and providing feedback for the continued improvement of the program. In the evening, the entire community of Puerto Viejo was invited to a public screening of the documentary at Hotel Puerto Viejo. 


Estudiantes de la Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR TCU 127) apoyaron el Rich Coast Project en una semana de video y fotografía participativo con el fin de documentar la historia y cultura local de Puerto Viejo.


Thank you to the 10 local students and 8 UCR students who made this project possible. We are also grateful to the students' parents, Michele Ferris, Nathalie Vigini, David Dávila, Katie Beck, Annabelle Gardner, Casa de Rolando, Hotel Puerto Viejo and the Casa de la Cultura (Asociación de Desarrollo Integral de Puerto Viejo). 

Local student participants are below (not pictured: Irina Colphon Farmer).