13/14 June 2015

Youth Media Festival with presentation of the PRIX JEUNESSE Suitcase in Windhuk/Namibia

Films, Popcorn and Soft-Drinks – a package that goes down well on a weekend in Windhoek, Namibia. Not only media producers and media students followed the invitation by Goethe Centre Windhoek and DW Akademie to be part of the Youth-Media-Festival 2015 but also a colourful crowd of teenagers and the Namibian Youth Jury that took part in the PRIX JEUNESSE INTERNATIONAL Festival 2014.

After setting up a one day PRIX JEUNESSE Suitcase Screening in 2013 and a Namibian Youth Jury workshop for the PRIX JEUNESSE Festival 2014 the Goethe Centre and DW Akademie Office in Windhoek decided to increase their cooperation yet again and fund a program for not only media professionals but youngsters as well.

On 13th and 14th of June 2015 46 media professionals signed in at the auditorium of the Goethe Centre. A fully fledged festival package was awaiting them: Short info-sessions, screening of prize winners in the ‘best for teens’ category, discussions, voting…. and time to mix and mingle - enjoying the sunny Namibian winter weather in the Goethe Café courtyard during fruitful breaks.

The Youth-Media-Festival was offering three sessions for media professionals on Saturday and Sunday; each focussing on different topics and relating the screened programs to Namibian broadcasting reality and the needs of a Namibian teenage audience.

In the first session the mostly young producers discussed “Content vs. technical perfection”: How do we define production value, how important is it in order to attract our target audience and how can we compete with international productions on Satellite channels? The Namibian producers agreed that local productions, local topics and content that really take teenagers seriously can glue the audience to the screen even if the technical quality would leave room for improvement.

The second session dealt with the question how we select the topics for our youth productions. The discussion went quite controversial when it reached the point of how to close the gap between “what youngsters want to see” and what “parents, teachers and producers want them to see”. How do we bring our adult educational agenda in line with offering access to information to young people and allowing them to make informed choices? A lot of questions were raised, a lot of opinions shared – only one agreement could be reached: There is no right or wrong. There needs be an on going discussion and the willingness to constantly question the line that we as adults are drawing when it comes to dealing with controversial topics and controversial programs for teenagers.

In the third session the producers discussed the use of user generated content, sent in content via social-networks or via smartphone apps. With everyone agreeing from the first minute that young people would love any kind of audio-visual content that was created by the audience themselves and presented in a you-tube style (or worse) the moderator read some comments of the Namibian Youth Jury about the program ‘Life’s like this’. The program consists solemnly of user-generated-content – which was not very much to the liking of the Namibian Youth Jury 2014. They mainly said that if they want to see badly shot and edited videos they would log into the Internet and not switch on a TV set. So now the discussion was really getting started….

The fourth and last session of the Youth-Media-Festival was open to the public and held on Sunday afternoon. Media producers got the chance to watch the three favourites of the Namibian Youth Jury 2014 together with teenagers, parents and teachers. The free popcorn and offered soft drinks added to the great atmosphere. All films were very well received and especially the young audience enjoyed ‘going to the movies’ –which is very special in a city in which a cinema only very recently reopened and tickets are only affordable for very few.

And at the end everyone got the chance to vote! Of course – after all it was a PRIX JEUNESSE Suitcase Screening FESTIVAL. And the winner was…. NOWHERE BOYS and all people present at a lovely June weekend at the Goethe Centre Windhoek.

A big thanks goes to PRIX JEUNESSE INTERNATIONAL for sending the SUITCASE to Namibia and allowing the people here to become part of the PRIX JEUNESSE Festival Family.