Below is an excerpt from the letter that I received from Theja Meru, President of the Rattle and Hum Music Society, an organization that supports Naga youth in developing their artistic abilities and personal growth.
Dear Dr. Bailey,
I am writing to invite you to Nagaland, India, to participate in an exchange of ideas regarding our common interests in developing public programs that foster and promote the creative potential of our youth through popular culture, music, filmmaking and the entertainment industry. For this opportunity, you will fly into the Dimapur airport on November 22, 2010, and continue to Kohima, the state capital. It is here that you would visit Dream Café, a venue designed to specifically showcase original music and videos of young people in our community.
That letter that Theja sent was the start of my involvement in what began as a trip to Nagaland for Heather to show her art. Originally, I was going to support Heather and discover a new part of the world. As the trip developed, and we learned more about Theja's work with Naga youth, new ideas emerged which connected my work to our adventure.
My research is on the combination of adolescents, popular culture, literacy and education. Mainly, I study youth media production as a valuable form of literacy and one that should be encouraged and facilitated on a larger scale as a literacy practice in schools. One of the things that has grown out of my research is the Rochester Teen Film Festival which has led to a partnership between Nazareth College and the 360/365 George Eastman House Film Festival. Each year we collect student-produced films from youth in the Greater Rochester Area, judge the entries and then show the finalists at The Little Theatre in downtown Rochester. Working with a number of organizations in Nagaland through our collaborator, Theja Meru, we held the first ever Youth Film Festival in Nagaland called GLOCAL (where global meets local) Film Festival. Films were screened by finalists from the 2010 Rochester Teen Film Festival along with films that were created by a group of young filmmakers who call themselves the Naga Head Hunters Entertainment Group. I was blown away by the quality of the Head Hunters productions, especially the stereoscopic 3D music video for an original song called Save Me by the Kohima-based band OFF. As with the Rochester youth filmmakers, I was blown away by the talent and stories that come through in video productions. Both the music and the video were creative, thought-provoking and enjoyable - you can see the pictures below where we are wearing 3D glasses for the screening at the film festival. The plan is to find funding and plan a trip to New York this summer for the Naga Head Hunters so that they can participate in the 2011 Rochester Teen Film Festival - more news on this to come!!!!
You can see Heather in the picture above holding a video camera during the film festival. Below is the after party where we talked about bands that we like and listened to Ray Lamontagne on my i-pad.