Capitaine Abdelmajid and the Power of Sport Through Film

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Capitaine Abdelmajid and the Power of Sport Through Film

Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Use the minimal-budget motion picture Capitaine Abdelmajid and similar films to deliver essential character-building messages that otherwise do not reach Chadian youth.

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Positioning of your initiative on the mosaic diagram:
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Few effective tools for personal improvement

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Use sport to build character

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

This field has not been completed

What is your signature innovation, your new idea, in one sentence?

Use the minimal-budget motion picture Capitaine Abdelmajid and similar films to deliver essential character-building messages that otherwise do not reach Chadian youth.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

The AATAA is a group of talented individuals in the Ati, Chad community that produces films with strong social messages for minimal production costs. Capitaine Abdelmajid, filmed in 2007 by a film crew and cast of around 100 volunteers, is a feature film that pays homage to the captivating power of football (soccer) in Africa and critically delves into the issue of personal responsibilities of an athlete. The film is expected to have an even wider impact than its predecessor, Addabache Djay Wara, which was aired multiple times on Chadian national television.

What are the existing barriers, the biggest problem, your innovation is hoping to address/change?

Many aspiring youth in Africa engage heavily in sport but do not benefit from the areas of character development and personal responsibility that sport has the potential to develop. The film's strongest message is against substance abuse, particularly in light of one's personal health, relationship with family, athletic career, and role in the community.

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing?

Writer/Director Abakar Chene Massar analyzes social issues that are largely under-addressed in Chadian society and writes screenplays to address such issues. Such was the case with Capitaine Abdelmajid, which was filmed in the summer of 2007 and is currently in the editing process. The film presents the enthralling story of a promising young soccer captain who destroys many aspects of his life through substance abuse. The film is meant to be powerful in its relevance to the audience, and we hope the audience will take the film's examples to heart and learn from the successes and failures of the characters.

How do you plan to grow your innovation?

The effect of the film only increases as the film is more widely distributed. We desire for Capitaine Abdelmajid and its messages to not just gain popularity in Chad but to reach a global audience as well. After Capitaine Majid is released, the AATAA intends to continue producing films in Chad with strong societal messages.

Provide one sentence describing your impact/intended impact.

We want the film Capitaine Abdelmajid to convince youth from a global audience that substance abuse destroys one's athletic career, family, and friendships.

What impact has your innovation had to date/or what is your intended impact? Exactly who are the beneficiaries?

We can estimate the impact of Capitaine Abdelmajid through the impact of the AATAA's 2005 film, Addabache Djay Wara. The previous film, although filmed and produced with extremely amateur equipment and with virtually no budget, was placed several times on TeleTchad throughout 2006 and 2007 and was (fortunately and unfortunately) pirated in Nigeria and distributed across the region. Although the pirating of Capitaine Abdelmajid is not a desired means of distribution, we anticipate that the film will reach a much larger and more international audience than its predecessor, as the topics of football and substance abuse are pertinent to the whole world. Additionally, the production of Capitaine Abdelmajid benefitted from a grant of $500 from Emory University, a new camera set-up that shot in 3CCD and 16x9 Widescreen, and the participation of around 100 volunteer actors and film crew, up from 30 volunteers for Addabache Djay Wara.

How many people have you served directly?

Our group of volunteer actors and film crew can be estimated at 150 throughout the three years of experience we have making films in Ati. It is safe to say that each of these people has had at the very least a glimpse into the art of film-making and its power to affect others. We hope that each one has also been inspired to develop his or her artistic and technical talents beyond the production of our films. In all seriousness, how awesome is it, as a citizen of a small, rural community in Chad, to be able to say for the rest of your life that you were in a mass-distributed movie that brought about positive change in society! Lastly, our first film, in 2004, was a drama dealing with a Chadian's reluctance to acknowledge the existence of HIV/AIDS. Although it was only aired in Ati, I honestly think this film educated many about the pandemic and also made HIV/AIDS testing more culturally accepted.

How many people have you served indirectly?

Addabache Djay Wara has been shown in movie "cinemas" (often consisting of a privately owned projector or TV/DVD player set-up) in cities across Chad and has been aired multiple times on Chad's national television network, TeleTchad. People across Chad have seen copies of the film--we have also received calls from people in places like Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Angola from Chadian expatriates who have watched the film in their homes. Thus, there is no way to estimate exactly how many people have been served indirectly, and we intend Capitaine Abdelmajid to serve an even larger, global audience, in light of its globally pertinent theme as well as subtitles in multiple foreign languages (the original audio is in Chadian Arabic).

Please list any other measures reflective of the impact of your innovation?

Several of the actors in Addabache Djay Wara have been called by their film character names by complete strangers in various cities across Chad. The phrase in the film's title (employed as a lie tactic by Chadians returning from abroad to hide the fact that they did not make money) is less used today as a result of the film. The effects of the 2004 HIV/AIDS drama Denial (French: Le SIDA Se Nourrie Derriere la Reticence) are detailed in the question above.

What are the main barriers to creating or achieving your impact?

Once a film is edited and distributed, its impact rests solely on its attractiveness and availability to the public. The actual filming process, however, is often hindered by variables like inconsistent overall funding, lack of decent filming equipment, and a rainy season that blocks roads essential for transportation of actors, film crew, and supplies. One huge barrier is the lack of any means of formal education in acting or film for those who wish to get involved with little or no previous experience.

How is your initiative financed (or how do you expect your initiative will be financed)?

At the moment, the AATAA has no budget. For the production of Capitaine Abdelmajid, we used a $500 grant from Emory University's Center for Health and Culture Studies. Camera equipment and other production and advertising costs came out of my pocket and are currently totalling around $900. We MUST find an outside organization to sponsor the distribution of the film, as the AATAA is not financially capable of meeting domestic and international demands for the film before it is pirated and distributed by another party. If Capitaine Abdelmajid makes profit, the AATAA will invest those funds in future films.

If known, provide information on your finances and organization.

The AATAA does not have a budget outside of projected revenue from Capitaine Abdelmajid.

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

The country of Chad, parts of Central Africa, West Africa, East Africa, and the West are anticipated markets for the film. Again, our previous film was pirated and mass-distributed, and it dealt with a Chad-specific topic and did not feature subtitles in any foreign language.

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

Filming itself is relatively efficient and inexpensive in Chad (the $500 from Emory covered virtually every production cost from props and costumes to hiring referees to simulate a soccer championship). Distribution of the film, however, is a nightmare, as a Chadian film with no international rights protection or commercial plan is almost sure to be pirated and prevented of returning any revenue to its producers. This is especially unfortunate as profit from previous films is the AATAA's only financial resource for future films.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

My good friend Abakar, with whom I had played soccer as a 13-yr-old during my first year in Ati in 2000, approached me in 2004 with the idea of filming a play of his in the style of a movie. He was the leader of a local theatre troupe at the time, and we called upon some of his fellow actors and actresses to produce what became a 55-min feature film pertaining to HIV/AIDS in Chad. The film was very amateur--edited in real-time on a VCR--and was presented to an audience of a couple hundred. The following year, however, we decided to produce Addabache Djay Wara, a straight-up movie of 75-min that followed the story of three Chadian friends who each choose a different path of life as they approach the end of their secondary studies. This film contained strong messages encouraging honesty and hard work and also dealt with the issues of arranged marriage and responsibility to one's family. The film's success throughout 2006 inspired us in 2007 to approach our most introspective and globally pertinent topic yet in Capitaine Majid.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Bentley Brown moved with his family to the Republic of Chad in 1999 for his father to work as a medical doctor with in an NGO in the rural town of Ati. Bentley is currently pursuing a degree in International Studies at Emory University with a focus on Economic Development and Public Health.

How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate? (this is confidential)

I heard about the contest from a former Emory student and current CARE employee. Capitaine Abdelmajid needs a degree of outside support to succeed at a global level, and I thought the film's references to FC Barcelona might be of particular interest (Ronaldhino and FC Barcelona are role models for characters in the film; a Barcelona UNICEF jersey appears very briefly in one scene of the film; the main character wears a locally-produced Barca jersey in a few scenes of the film--all of these point to the influence of European football [even Spanish football] in various forms in even the most remote areas of Africa).

Affiliation (please list all that apply)

Emory University