„To be continue…”

Reflections on an Example of the Contemporary Participatory Video-projects in Hungary

In the present article I introduce the phenomena of participatory film/video through historical and recent examples. PV is a method for researching society and it aims at emancipating marginalized communities in the first place, with the active collaboration of the communities themselves. The paradigmatic example of the technique applied in the developmental field and participatory action research was the one and a half decade long Challenge for Change program launched by the National Film Board of Canada, and especially its film series on the Fogo Islands in 1967. The definitions of the participatory film 
I am to introduce are rooted in developmental and other similar researches that have been made since the Fogo-process. I show some possibilities and pitfalls hidden in the method of the PV, and I also present some debates which defined the history of the PV and its applications. Regarding its origin and its relation to reality, the genre has strong connection to the documentary film, but brings about a paradigmatic change in the practice of documentary production, in how it distributes the conventional roles in filmmaking, how it involves filmic subjects as equal partners, and intervenes and changes power relations. This paradigmatic turn means that non-professional participants have technicall skills in order to have access to controll their own representation, to reflect on their own social problems in dialogic contexts of filmmaking, and to act to change their status. I attempt to illustrate the above mentioned paradigmatic turn with re-functioning the metaphor of displacement. Since the filmexperts of the research team I lead collaborate mostly with youngsters, in this article I focus mostly (but not exclusively) interventions made together with adolescent people. That is why the role of the contemporary media environment and popular genres are essential parts of the projects mentioned here. In the last part of my article I analyze the films we made, and I finally try to consider the future chances of the project with showing its strengths and weaknesses.

Released: Replika 124, 73–102.
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