Panyin Conduah is a recent college graduate of DePauw University and has been a student of Downtown Community Television Center, (DCTV), youth media program PRO-TV since 2009. She will be joining the upcoming Peace Boat voyage to Cozumel, Belize and Panama as part of the MAPA (Music & Art Peace Academy ) program. She is planning to become a journalist in the near future, and during the voyage she will be focused on filming a documentary about her experience and how sustainable development can help local communities improve their living conditions.
I found out about Peace Boat through Johnny Ramos, my film instructor for the Pro- TV youth program at Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV). He told me how every year a student from Pro-TV collaborates with Peace Boat to work on a video project while having the opportunity to experience an adventure abroad. I decided to take part of this voyage because I wanted another chance to travel and learn about the stories from various people of different walks of life. After hearing that Peace Boat does hands on work in communities and teach about grassroot initiatives to strengthen them, I wanted to be a part of this. I am happy to have the opportunity to use the medium of film to capture the stories of indigenous people in Latin America while learning more about their culture.
Will this be your first solo documentary / the first documentary you will do by yourself?
No, this will my second solo documentary. I am currently finishing up a short documentary on College Costs which tells the narratives of recent college graduates and the struggles that come with paying back their loans. The piece also touches on the institution of college itself, the rising cost of tuition and how this is affecting our society.
What’s your intention behind this documentary? What would you most like to focus on?
I would like to focus on the various stories of the indigenous people in Panama and also in Mexico. I learned that last year Peace Boat was in the process of helping an indigenous community find funding for latrines. I’m really looking forward in following up with this story and also learning about other ways where we could help provide these communities with alternative resources to have a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.
What are your expectations by participating in the MAPA (Music & Art Peace Academy ) program?
I am really looking forward in learning how other students and volunteers are using the arts to bring awareness to social issues and also just learning how to be a stronger film maker through this experience.
What would you most like to achieve with the documentary once it’s finished?
Overall I want to make a piece that captures the stories of Latin America. Possibly bring to light the differences and similarities of Latin America to the United States, how we as artists could learn and share our experiences, and lastly the ways we could make change with others in order to build communities. I’m really excited to learn and see where this piece goes. Maybe others will see Latin America in a different perspective and how the arts could inspire people to bring change.
How has learning skills to make documentaries at DCTV helped change your life?
Honestly if I never heard about Downtown Community Television and the Pro-TV youth program I think the way I would tell my stories would be completely different. As a writer, I always just relied on the pictures in my imagination and words to shape my stories when they were written on paper. Now as a filmmaker, having the skills to capture real life stories that happen all around me using a camera and just my curiosity has expanded the scape of narratives I could tell. I have the ability to capture, edit using Final Cut Pro, and have people to see my perspective through my movies in addition to the perspective of others through their stories.
What does “Sustainability” mean to you ?
When I hear the word Sustainability I think about keeping something alive — afloat so someone else could utilize it. I think of sharing and passing something on in a healthy manner to others in order keep a cycle going.